, Ganesha Enlarge 1 /1
Kalighat style Bengal, India, Calcutta
Ganesha [The elephant headed god Ganesha] c. 1880 Place made: Kalighat, Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India
Materials & Technique: paintings, watercolour, silver paint watercolour and silver paint Support: paper
Dimensions: support 42.7 h x 27.4 w cm mount 45.4 h x 29.4 w cm
Acknowledgement: The Gayer-Anderson Gift 1954
Accession No: NGA 91.1317
Subject: Hindu Kalighat School Deities
  • Acquired in Dundee, Scotland, by Colonel Thomas Gayer Gayer-Anderson, 1953
  • held in the collection of Colonel Thomas Gayer Gayer-Anderson and the late Major Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson, Pasha, both of The Little Hall, Lavenham, Suffolk, England, 1953
  • who gave it to the Commonwealth of Australia, 1953
  • held by National Library of Australia, Canberra, after transfer from London, 1954-1991
  • transferred to the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 1991.
  • The collecting history of this painting is partial. The earliest known transaction is its acquisition by the donor in Scotland in 1953. The National Gallery of Australia welcomes further information regarding its history of ownership prior to 1953.

Ganesha is the son of Parvati (Uma) and Shiva. Various stories explain his appearance. In one, Shiva cut off the child’s head in a rage before remorsefully replacing it with that of the next creature he met—an elephant. The remover of obstacles, Ganesha also represents wisdom and prosperity. Here he wears a crown of peacock feathers and holds a shell, a discus, a club and a lotus blossom. Ganesha’s vehicle, the rat, is clearly illustrated beneath his throne.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label