Images of a Ganesha-like figure have been excavated in the pre-Vedic city of Harappan, located in present-day Pakistan, and date from around 1100 BCE. From then onwards he was shown seated, with two arms and one head, up until the late Gupta period (400 to 700 CE) when several heads and up to sixteen arms were depicted.
As for his physical characteristics, the size of Ganesha‘s head is said to represent wisdom and learning. His large ears symbolize the ability to hear every prayer he’s offered, while small eyes signify the ability to concentrate as he meditates. His trunk’s symbology is extensive as well. For instance, it is auspicious for a Ganesha image in the home for his trunk be bent to his left, indicating a more cooling feminine energy, and ideally touching a bowl of laddu (sweet rice balls) representing material prosperity. On the other hand, images of Ganesha in a temple ought to have his trunk bent to his right, a more fiery and dynamic energy, helpful for expediting gratification of one’s prayers. At home, images of Ganesha should be seated, so he doesn’t wander away.
This sculpture was carved by the same artist as our grey Ganesha (GNSI20) and displays similar exuberant attention to detail and decoration. Here Ganesha has 25 smaller figures surrounding him; other deities, dancers, musicians, celestials (apsara) in the sky above and, if you look closely, a second Ganesha in a niche at the base.
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