Posted on: 17 February 2015

Umapati (Shiva, the Primeval Father God, and Uma, the Great Mother Goddess)
India, Uttar Pradesh, Deogarh region, circa 750-800
Gray sandstone

Source: LACMA

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Oldest known Shiva image (non Shiva-linga ) is again ( akin to Krishna & Ganesha) not in sculpture but in numismatics of the Indo-Greek & Kushan period. In Kushan coins, the legend always reads OESHO , not Shiva though( )

Thanks Ratnesh!

For linguistic evidence ( including the Rg veda Rudra description), in " The presence of Siva", the Indologist & sanksrit scholar Stella Kramrisch , presents excellent detail.

But is this earlier than the Lingam at Gudimallam?

Gudimallam is likely earlier than the Kushan coins but its contemporary with Indo-Greek coins. Gudimallam is a Shiva-linga though ( thats why I stressed on the coins being the earliest non Shiva-linga, in my comment above). Also, the Gudimallam carving on the Shiva-linga doesn't completely fit into the Shiva iconography as we know it today ( and as shown in Kushan coins). This blog comment from Vijay has a good explanation ( )


Very beautiful !!!