Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is a Brahmanical (Hindu) diety known to clear a path to the gods and remove obstacles in everyday life. He is loved by his devotees (bhakti) for his many traits, including his insatiable appetite for sweet cakes and his role as a dispenser of magic, surprise, and laughter. However, Ganesha is also the lord of ganas (nature deities) and can take on a fearsome aspect in this guise.
The seventh- to twenty-first-century works in this exhibition trace his depiction across the Indian subcontinent, the Himalayas, and Southeast Asia. Featuring 24 works across sculptures, paintings, musical instruments, ritual implements, and photography, the exhibition emphasizes the vitality and exuberance of Ganesha as the bringer of new beginnings.
Image: Seated Ganesha, 14th–15th century, India (Orissa), Ivory, H. 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm) / courtesy of The Met