The Moon has been looming overtop of humans since before recorded history. The silent counterpart to the mighty sun, the moon is ever present in our eyes, our minds, and in our imagination. The way the moon has been weaved into different mythologies, religions, traditions, and cultures from all around the world is astounding but also not surprising, as the moon is something we all experience. This introspective look at artworks featuring the Moon strives to make comparisons between works that span centuries and many different style and mediums, all of whom share the same goal of depicting something we see every night, the Moon. 

33 Items in this Learning Collection
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Virabhadra plaque

Accession Number

Virabhadra plaque


Artist Nationality
Indian (South Asian)

Object Creation Date
17th century - 18th century

Medium & Support
brass (?)

8 9/16 in x 6 5/16 in x 1 9/16 in (21.8 cm x 16 cm x 4 cm);8 9/16 in x 6 5/16 in x 1 9/16 in (21.8 cm x 16 cm x 4 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel.

Label copy
Virabhadra was an emissary created by Shiva to wreak punishment on his father-in-law, Daksha, who had refused to render him offerings when performing a great ceremony of sacrifice. Virabhadra carries Shiva’s standard attributes of the drum and trident in his back hands. His wrathful nature is indicated by his sword and necklace of human heads. The sun and the moon are above his head, and he is crowned with a high topknot and a snake hood. He stands before a flaming aureole, surmounted by a kirtimukha, or “face of glory.” With his left hand he gestures toward the goddess Parvati, while at his lower right stands the ram-headed Daksha, now submissive. Virabhadra was widely worshipped in the villages of south India, and inexpensive hammered metal plaques such as these were readily available from local smiths.
Exhibited in "Divine Encounters, Earthly Pleasures: Twenty Centuries of Indian Art," 12/12/03-2/22/04.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)
Ritual Object

Collection Area

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2 Related Resources

Devotional Objects Across Religions
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
PAST- Moon & Lunar Study Cases    
(Part of: FFW Lower Level Study Cases     )

& Author Notes

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