Kalighat style Bengal, India, Calcutta
Shiva as the great yogi [Mahayogi] [Shiva as an ascetic] 1870-80 Place made: Kalighat, Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India
Materials & Technique: paintings, watercolour, silver paint, pencil watercolour and silver paint. hand-applied colour (brush & small ball of fine cloth). Support: paper
Dimensions: support 44.0 h x 27.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: The Gayer-Anderson Gift 1954
Accession No: NGA 91.1318
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.
  • Through the successful practice of extreme austerity and meditation, the Hindu god Shiva became Mahayogi, the Great yogi. He is represented here with his powerful trident, painted in silver. Brandished in conflict, Shiva also uses the trident to free souls from burden. The god’s third eye symbolises his wisdom and supremacy. He wears a tiger-skin loincloth and has the matted hair of an ascetic. Serpents form Shiva’s headdress and coil around his body which is draped in jewellery.

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