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Double-Sided Painted Banner (Paubha) with God Shiva

A work made of pigment and gold on cotton.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of pigment and gold on cotton.


16th-17th century



About this artwork

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.


On View, Gallery 140


Arts of Asia


Double-Sided Painted Banner (Paubha) with God Shiva


Nepal (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Pigment and gold on cotton


95 × 71 cm (37 3/8 × 28 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Fund

Reference Number


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