Shiva the Destroyer

Life-size cast gypsum sculpture of the Hindu God, utilized 2 separate models
Shiva literally means "auspiciousness, welfare". He is the third god of the Hindu Triad and is the destroyer of all evil. He represents darkness (tamas), and is said to be the 'angry god'. However, according to Hinduism, creation follows destruction. Therefore Shiva is also regarded as a reproductive power, which restores what has been dissolved. As one who restores, represented as the linga or phallus (shivalinga), a symbol of regeneration.
Shiva is believed to exist in many forms. His most common depiction is as a dark-skinned acetic with a blue throat. Usually seated cross-legged on a tiger skin, Shiva's hair is matted and coiled on his head, adorned with a snake and a crescent moon. The Ganges river is always depicted flowing out of his topknot. Shiva has four arms and three eyes. The third eye, in the middle of his forehead, is always closed and only opens to annihilate an evil doer, or is said to be the eye which looks inward. A garland of skulls, rudraksha beads, or a snake hang from his neck. Shiva also wears snakes as armlets and bracelets. In one hand, Shiva holds his trishul (trident), the Pinaka. The trishul usually has a damaru or waisted drum tied to it. In another hand, he holds a conch shell , and in the third, a rudraksha rosary, a club, or a bow. One hand is usually empty, raised in a gesture of blessing and protection. The other points to his feet, where the devotee is assured of salvation. He wears a tiger or leopard skin around his waist, and his upper body is usually bare, but smeared with ashes, as befits an acetic. His third eye is believed to have appeared when Parvati, in a playful mood, covered his eyes with her hands. Immediately, the universe was plunged into darkness and there was chaos. To restore order, Shiva formed another eye on his forehead, from which emerged fire to restore light. The light from this eye is believed to be very powerful, and therefore destructive. Shiva opens his third eye only in anger, and the offender is burnt to cinders.

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