, Marriage pavilion [mandapa] Enlarge 1 /1
Tamil Nadu, India

Marriage pavilion [mandapa] mid 20th century Description: Indian Mandapam - 20th Century - Carved Wooden Marriage Temple - South Indian
Materials & Technique: sculptures, wood, pigments
Dimensions: 277.0 h x 190.0 w x 142.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of John Wood, 2012
Accession No: NGA 2012.976.A-W
  • The supplied chain of ownership for this object is being reviewed and further research is underway. The provenance information listed has been substantiated by documentation. Details may be refined and updated as research progresses.
  • The work is under 100 years old, therefore not subject to Indian legislation.
  • bought by John Wood in Trivandrum, Kerala, 1989
  • with John Wood, Melbourne, from 1989
  • who donated it to the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2012

This pavilion served as an outdoor shrine [mandapa] in a rural Hindu temple complex. Its roof is decorated with images of the god Shiva, his consort Parvati (Uma) and their infant son Skanda—a representation known as Somaskanda. Flanking the main deities are winged celestial beings, praying devotees and sacred bulls.

Shiva, his hair piled high in a crown-like headdress, sits with one leg folded beneath him and the other resting on a lotus flower. Two of his hands make gestures of blessing and grace while another holds an antelope. There was once a battleaxe in his missing fourth hand. The green-skinned goddess Parvati (Uma) holds a lotus bud. A tiny image of Skanda appears at her knee. Symbolic of divine union and family, Somaskanda imagery is particularly suited to marriage ceremonies.

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