A standing Ganesha, 13th century
Orissa (Odisha), India
Height: 41.5 cm
Width: 21 cm
This sculpture of Ganesha stands on a lotus pedestal with his leg bent in contrapossto with his rat vehicle (vahana) adoringly by his side. Wrapped around Ganesha's corpulent belly is a sacred thread in the form of a snake (nagapovita) and in each of his four arms holds a tusk, a rosary, an axe, and a bowl of sweets (modaka). These combined attributes symbolise the Elephant-headed God's association as the Lord of the Beginnings as well as the Remover of Obstacles. In other words, if a worshipper wishes for their endeavours to be met with success, they must propitiate Ganesha with food and offering before all other Gods to receive his blessing. Carved in an inky-black, chloritic schist and depicted with a crown of matted hair (jatamukuta), this Ganesha is stylistic of sculptures found in Orissa (present-day Odisha) in East India, dated to the 13th century.