Datura in Saiva iconography

mrabe at artic.edu mrabe at artic.edu
Fri Sep 29 19:41:05 UTC 1995

The recent thread about jasmine/mallikkaa prompts me to inquire whether
there are textual references that can confirm the claim that the datura
flower sometimes appears in the hair of Cola period nataraja bronzes.  The
query is further prompted by doubts that the identity of the flower that
Siva extends towards his consort in an Orissan "Umaa-Mahesvara" panel in
the British Museum.  It's published in Zimmer's Myths and Symbols of Indian
Art and Civilization, fig. 34, and more recently in Blurton's Hindu
Art--the former calling it a linga(!, p. 138) and the latter a lotus.
Neither identification seems to conform to the petal-crowned stalk-like
object's actual appearance--hence the curiosity about whether it too might
be the datura.  But if so, why is it being proffered--
"mazaa keliye bus?"


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