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Paintings > Tantra > Panchanana or Five-Headed Shiva
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Panchanana or Five-Headed Shiva

Panchanana or Five-Headed Shiva

Panchanana or Five-Headed Shiva

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Stone Color on Paper

7.0" X 9.0"
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Panchanana or Five-Headed Shiva

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Viewed 3817 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
Here Shiva is depicted with ten hands and five heads, four facing each of the four directions and one embedded in his matted locks, facing upwards. A fifth head at the back of his head lies invisible. Each of the faces has three eyes. His ten hands hold various implements:

The right hands hold the following : Trident (trishul), damaru ( tabor-drum); a skull-cup with a lock of hair; sword, and finally a live serpent.

The left hands hold: a staff tipped with a skull; conch; a red banner; a flamed torch, and lastly a shield.

The upper part of Shiva's body is nearly bare, being only partially draped in an elephant skin, the head of which can be seen on his left shoulder. The lower torso is clothed in a tiger skin, the paws of which slain animal are visible just under the crossed legs of Shiva. The tail of this animal acts like a belt and holds tightly in place this lower 'garment.'

From his awesome ensemble of heads flows the Ganges, and also hang down locks flowing across his chest like venomous snakes. The hair on his chest too seems vibrant like an army of ants. A black serpent placed on the neck compliments the necklace containing a serpentine amulet, in addition he wears a garland of ketaki flowers and another one composed of severed human heads.

The painting is itself achieved in dark tones, with only the luminosity from the comparatively light hued bulky frame of Shiva radiating a softening glow. The darker tones of course, coupled with the bizarre, unconventional representation as a whole, are deliberately done, to bring notice to the darker, Tantric side of Lord Shiva.

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