c. 15th Century
Height 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm.)
The elephant-headed Lord of Plenty in four-armed form is seated on a lotus pedestal above a square plinth. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds an ankush, and a piece of sugar cane in his upper left; in his lower left hand he holds a sweet, his lower right is raised in abhayamudra. Ganesha is ornamented with necklaces, an elaborate girdle and a multi-tiered crown.
Despite his popularity, the exact origins of Ganesha are unclear, but during the Gupta period a consistent iconography emerges and has become prevalent by the 6th century. In the South, Ganesha appears in the Chola period in the form of a lively dancing figure cast in bronze or sometimes in a more sedate standing or seated posture. His four-armed form is popular and appears in the south as early as the 12th century.
Ganesha is one of the best-loved and most widely worshipped deities of the Hindu pantheon whose image is found in paintings and sculpture throughout India, Nepal and many other regions of Southeast Asia. He is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and more generally known as the Lord of Beginnings. He is also patron of the arts, and the deva of intellect and wisdom.