Dancing Ganesha

Indian


Dancing Ganesha, 10th - 11th century

  • On View

Sandstone

Dimensions: 25 × 17 1/2 × 4 1/2 in. (63.5 × 44.5 × 11.4 cm)

Gift of Genevieve and Richard Shaw, by exchange, 2011.316

Ganesha is one of the most popular Hindu deities. As the remover of obstacles, he is invoked at the beginning of every undertaking, whether it be a journey, the building of a house, the writing of a book-or even a letter. He is also the god of good luck and wisdom, a good scribe and learned in the scriptures. It was he, who, at the dictation of the sage Vyasa, wrote the Mahabharata. It is said that the reason why the epic is such a harmonious work is that before agreeing to write it down Ganesha insisted that the dictation never falter and that he should at all times be able to understand its meaning.Standing atop a lotus pedestal, Ganesha is depicted dancing. Several attributes make Ganesha easy to identify. He is always depicted with the head of an elephant, a large belly, and with a broken tusk. One legend that explains his broken tusk is, that Ganesha was asked to scribe down the epic Mahabharata, dictated to him by its author, sage Vyasa. Taking into note the enormity and significance of the task, Ganesha realized the inadequacy of any ordinary 'pen' to undertake the task. He thus broke one of his own tusks and made a pen out of it.

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