Shiva Linga with Snake Crowning in Brass / 2.7 x 2.6 x 1.8 cm / 0.29kg
Cast in brass this represents Lord Shiva as ‘Ling’ – his an-iconic form. Shiva’s both forms, the an-iconic ‘ling’ and his iconic image, one symbolising his unmanifest form, and other, anthropomorphic, have been in prevalence since Indus days. There figure among the excavated material from various Indus sites terracotta icons of votive ‘ling’ and ‘yoni’ as well as terracotta seals with a ‘Yogi’ figure with soiled coiffure engaged in penance cast on them. Such figures, with a number of animals, especially a bull, around, are almost unanimously identified as Pashupati, patron of animals – Shiva’s other most prominent name. Shiva’s personalised form portrays an act or an aspect of his being, as Mahayogi form in Indus seals, but ‘ling’ is symbolic of his formless timeless existence out of which all forms evolve, and hence, ‘ling’ is essentially Shiva’s votive form.