18th century sculpture of Lord Ayyanar
Lord Ayyanar is considered a powerful village God in Tamil Nadu. It is believed that the Ayyanar cult goes back to an ancient clan based Dravidian cult of ancestor worship that is linked to nature and fertility. Shrines to this deity are usually located at the peripheries of villages. The temples of Ayyanar are flanked by gigantic and colorful statues of him and his companions riding horses or elephants.The officiating priests are usually non-Brahmins.
Pictured here is the sculpture of this deity, with his spouse, seated on an elephant, adorned by a traditional and exuberant ‘prabhavali’, which is usually placed at the back of the God’s idol to create the effect of an aura. It is an 18th century sculpture, in wood, colored in black and sculpted in the South Indian style. The Great Eastern Home has gathered quite some unique masterpieces such as this in its collection. You can also visit www.thegreateasternhome.com to know about pieces that seek your attention.