About This Artwork


Double-Sided Painted Banner (Paubha) with God Shiva and Goddess Durga, 16th/17th century

Pigment and gold on cotton
95 x 71 cm (37 3/8 x 28 in.)

Kate S. Buckingham Fund, 1995.268a-b

In this dynamic, double-sided painted banner from Nepal, designed to be carried high over the heads of the crowd during a religious festival, the Hindu God Shiva dances on his bull, Nandi, who turns his head upward to look lovingly at his Lord. This may represent Shiva as Nataraja, Lord of Dance, who is often depicted dancing atop his bull in Nepal. The other side depicts Durga, Shiva’s shakti (energy), dancing on a white snow lion. The remarkably well-preserved painting is enlivened by the bold colors and vibrant textile patterns, the sashes flying out in all directions, and the swag at the top framed by flaring tassels. Large, striking flowers are scattered against the background. In his upper arms Shiva holds his traditional attributes the trident and the rosary (rudrakshamala). He holds a Buddhist stupa (burial mound) in one lower hand—an unusual attribute—while his other forms the vitarka mudra (teaching gesture). That a Hindu deity should hold a Buddhist stupa illustrates the non-sectarian, all-encompassing nature of religious devotion in Nepal.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Himalayan Paintings in the Collection of The Art Institute of Chicago, Gallery 140, December 8, 2008-August 24, 2009.

Himalayan Paintings in the Collection of The Art Institute of Chicago, Gallery 140, August 24, 2009-April 14, 2010.

Publication History

Pal, Pratapaditya, 1999. "Himalayan Art: Selected New Acquisitions." Arts of Asia 29, 3 (May-June), p. 77, figs. 7-8.

Ownership History

Sold to the Art Institute by James Singer, London, October 16, 1995.

Interpretive Resources

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