India, Chola Period

Ganesha The Elephant-headed God

Mid 9th Century–1310


Gift of Morton B. May


One of the more popular Hindu gods is Ganesha, the Lord of Wealth, Good Fortune, and Wisdom. Child of the great gods Shiva and Parvati, he was beheaded by an irate Shiva when he prevented the god from entering Parvati’s bathing pavilion. Filled with remorse, Shiva brought the child back to life by placing the head of the first living creature he met, an elephant, on the child. Ganesha’s multiple arms represent his power; in his lower right hand he holds a broken elephant tusk and in his lower left, a sweet cake delicacy he especially loved. 

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