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  • Place of origin:

    Cochin (made)

  • Date:

    19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Polychromed wood

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is one of series of carved teakwood ceiling panels with reliefs of various Hindu deities. They came from a temple hall demolished in 1874 in Cochin, south-west India. Such halls (‘mandapa’) were used for theatrical, dance and music performances within a temple compound.

This panel shows Shiva, flanked by two representations of Nandi, the bull-calf. Here Shiva appears as a seated figure holding the axe and antelope, attributes he assumes as the divine hunter Kiratarjunamurti. S hiva's associations with hunting are ancient and link him to Rudra, the wild hunter. He presided over the forest animals and was given the title Pasupati, Lord of the Animals, an epithet later assumed by Shiva.

Kiratarjunamurti was favoured form of Shiva in the early period and appears in a 1st-century BC anthropomorphic linga (phallic symbol of Shiva) at Gudimallam. It was especially popular in south India.

Physical description

Carved teak wood ceiling panel with reliefs of various Hindu deities. The highly sculputed frieze represents the history of the marriage of Rama. The panels came from the portico of a Pagoda in Cochin, demolished in 1874. The complete ceiling decoration consisting of individual panels measured 21ft 6in by 5 ft 6in.

Place of Origin

Cochin (made)


19th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Polychromed wood


Width: 35.5 cm, Length: 35.5 cm

Descriptive line

Ceiling panel depicting Shiva, polychromed wood, Cochin, south-west India, 19th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

p.229, Cat.183
L'escultura en el temples indis : l'art de la devoció : exposició organitzada per la Fundació "La Caixa" i el Victoria & Albert Museum, Londres. [Barcelona: Obra social, Fundació "la Caixa", c2007 Number: 9788476649466
p.187, Cat.92
Michell, George (ed.) Living Wood: Sculptural Traditions of Southern India, Bombay, 1992

Production Note

Kerala, south-west India





Subjects depicted

Hinduism; Figure; Deities


Woodwork; Sculpture; Religion; Hinduism; Architectural fittings


South & South East Asia Collection

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