Chola bronze sculpture is acknowledged to be among the greatest of all Indian sculpture. The present examples are striking for their large scale, the subtle and fluid modeling, the graceful postures and the supremely refined expression.
When standing or seated together, Shiva and Parvati represent the very image of conjugal happiness. These two separately cast figures would have been inset on a rectangular bronze base, likely with their son Skanda standing between them. As such, they represent the embodiment of Universal parenthood, the mother and father of the world. For another example, with both figures on separate plinths, but of smaller size, formerly in the George P. Bickford and Klaus G. Perls Collections, see S. Czuma, Indian Art from the George P. Bickford Collection, 1975, cat. no. 19; and another example with the figures combined on a single plinth, from the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, see D. Leidy, Treasures of Asian Art, The Asia Society's Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1994, fig. 33, p. 51.