Antique 19th Century silver from a Royal Palace in Rajasthan. This superb plaque depicts the god Shiva in his most powerful form, the four-armed wrathful Virabhadra. Shiva, barefoot, stands in front of an elaborate torana (archway). He has the third eye on his forehead. He carries a sword in his right hand and his left leans on his shield. He carries a bow (left) and arrow (right) in his two other hands. The god wears a diaphanous dhoti, heavy ear rings, elaborate jewellery round his neck, ankle amulets and a headdress topped with a Shiva linga. A cobra is wrapped around his thighs. At the top, running from left to right as we look at the plaque, there are symbols for Nandi, the bull calf, the crescent moon, a kirtimukha mask (above the god’s head), the sun and a shiva lingam (shivalinga). Daksha, with his restored ram’s head, is the small figure on Virabhadra’s right. His consort Bhadrakali is on his left. Their hands are in anjali mudra, the prayer position.
These plaques are used in Shaivite worship. It would have been the centerpiece of a private shrine and would have been carried on parade during festivals. The quality of the repoussé high-relief design in silver reflects the wealth and status of its owner. Lesser worshippers would have brass or bronze plaques. The silver plaque is backed with copper. It originates from Maharashtra or Karnataka in Southern India.
Weight (total) 780gm. Size 20cm x 14.5cm
The plaque is now carefully mounted in a glassless contemporary frame.