India, Tamil Nandu
Late twelfth–early thirteenth century
H. 16 x 9 1/2 in. (40.6 x 24.1 cm)
Elephants embody strength and wisdom, and in Indian culture they are typically associated with the life-giving waters of the monsoon. In Hindu mythology, Ganesha is the son of the god Shiva and his wife Parvati and the Lord of Beginnings and Remover of Obstacles. He is one of the most beloved deities among Hindus; prayers to him are performed at the beginnings of new journeys, weddings, and at the start of each new day.
Just as Ganesha protected his loved ones—even at the cost of losing his head and gaining an elephant’s—so do you enjoy helping and caring for other people around you. You are highly admired among your friends and family as well for your strong will and wise ways.