A sandstone chaturmukhi lingham
Central Indian, Post-Gupta, circa 8th century
The cylindrical central column with a flattened top surrounded by the four aspects of Shiva, each pointing in a different cardinal direction, alluding to Shiva's most prominent aspects. These comprise Bhairava, a manifestation of Shiva in his terrifying form, two faces which show his different attitudes as a withdrawn and serene ascetic, Nandivaktra and Mahadeva, Umavaktra, representing his consort, the embodiment of feminine power.
9 1/2 in. (23.5 cm.) high