Bronze statuette of Paravati with ivory-encrusted eyes.
India, 18th-19th Century.
Height: 8,7 cm (3-1/4 in.).
Pararvati is a Hindu goddess. She was the daughter of Himavat, lord of the Himalayan Mountains, and Meena. At her birth she was informed she was destined to marry Shiva. As she grew older, she decided to go look for him. But Shiva was then widow of the first consort of his cosmic wife Sati, and absorbed in meditation he did not pay attention to her. However, Brahma informed the gods that only the son of Shiva and Parvati would be able to help them returning in heaven from where they had been expelled by the demon Taraka. The gods then sent Kama, the god of desire, to strick Shiva with an arrow of love. The arrow rebounded off Shiva but he was furious that someone had tried to interrupt his meditation. He therefore burned Kama with the fire from his third eye and returned to his meditation. Parvati had dark skin, which attracted the taunts of Shiva. During an argument about it, furious, she decided to abandon him to his meditation since her body was not to Shiva's liking, and she leaft with her son Ganesha. Nevertheless, she gave orders to Nandi to keep guard so that no woman would approach Shiva. Parvati eventually decided to practice asceticism in order to win Shiva's heart. One day, a Brahmin passed by her and made fun of her wish to marry Shiva and of Shiva himself. She replied that he was too much an Unclean and ignorant man to talk like this about the God of Gods. She ordered him to leave because it was a sin to hear such remarks on the God. At the same time, the Brahmin returned to his real form, that of Shiva, telling her he was touched by her devotion. They eventually got married. Parvati gave birth to Ganesha and Shiva recognized him as his son.