Shiva, Ardhanarishvara, Shiva Shakti, Hindu God Half Man Woman
Ardhanari or Ardhanarishvara is an androgynous Hindu God composed
of Shiva and his consort Shakti, representing the synthesis of
masculine and feminine energies. In on the form of Ardhanari the
female concept of the goddess is inseparable from the masculine
form of the god in Shiva. Ardhanari in sculpture is depicted as
half-male and half-female, split down the middle.
Shakti is always on the left side with Shiva on the right side
of the figure. Shakti¹s wears no garments on her upper half
exposing a ripe breast. Her unabashed revelation of her breast
personifies her woman hood and makes a huge contrast to the masculine
side of Shiva. Shakti also wears a hoop earring typically worn
by woman and wears long leggings. She is sometimes accompanied
by her vahana or vehicle a lion. Her face has half the vertical
mark of a bindi on it. The right side of the form of Ardhanari
is Shiva. He wears a tiger skin for a loincloth. He usually has
a cobra on some portion of his body. He can hold an axe, or trident.
In his head dress there can be a skull and cobra. His earring
is one worn by a man in Chola times in India. There are three
horizontal lines across his forehead, which are the markings of
a follower of Shiva.