Virbhadra bronze panel
Bronze Panel depicting Virbhadra | 13.5 inches high x 10 inches wide x 0.25 inches deep
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Vīrabhadra (Sanskrit: वीरभद्र, lit. distinguished hero), also known as Veerabadhra , Veerabathira, Veerabathiran is an extremely fierce and fearsome form of the Hindu god Shiva. He was created by the wrath of Shiva and destroyed the Yagna (fire sacrifice) of Daksha, after Daksha's daughter and Shiva's consort Sati self-immolated in the sacrificial fire. Sati, was not invited to a great sacrifice given by her father Daksha. Sati, being greatly humiliated, went to the banquet and threw herself on the sacrificial fire. When Shiva heard of his wife’s death, he tore a hair from his head and threw it to the ground. Virabhadra, a great hero-warrior, arose from this hair. He cut off Daksha’s head in his rage and hurled it into the sacrificial fire. After the other gods calmed Shiva down, Daksha’s head was replaced by that of a goat or in this case, a ram. Daksha later became a devotee of Shiva.
Virabhadra is shown in this plaque with four hands in which he holds a bow, an arrow or a staff, a sword and a shield. Daksha, whose human head was replaced with a ram’s head, stands on Virabhadra’s right, his hands in anjali mudra. Daksha’s original head appears to be at the base of the shield that Virabhadra holds on his left.
The figure to Virabhadra’s left probably is Bhadrakali, Virabhadra’s consort. Her hands are also in anjali mudra.
A nandi and lingham adorn the upper portions of the plaque; a kurtimukha mask adorns the top. Virabhadra’s clothing and ornaments are shown in some detail. He has chest ornaments, arm ornaments, anklets, large coiled earrings and a crown, as well as a pleated waist cloth and a dhoti.
The figures all stand within a wide, raised border that is chased with floral and petal motifs. Overall, this is a fine, unusual piece with some puja (prayer) wear. Most probably it adorned a household shrine or a small shrine within a temple.