Gift of Arthur M. Sackler S1987.960
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Elephant-headed Ganesha, the god of new beginnings and the remover of obstacles, is perhaps the most popular god in India. Hindus regard him with affection and invoke him at the start of every new project, whether it be cooking a feast or writing an exam paper; he is also placed at the entrance to temples so that worship may commence with him.
This sculpture displays the ornate carving and exuberant decoration characteristic of art created under the Hoysala dynasty (10421346). The decorated floral arch surrounding the sculpture suggests that it once occupied a cell or niche in a temple.