Virabhadra Shield

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Virabhadra Shield

Virabhadra (Veerabhadra) Shields are generally found in the form which requires attachment to a wall. This extraordinary Virabhadra Shield is free-standing on a base. The Shield drops into a base which receives the width and it stands perfectly upright.

The metal contents are a copper alloy and a silver alloy. These are separately cast and work together to create a fabulous icon.

Virabhadra is a form of Lord Shiva. He manifested during Shiva’s uncontrollable rage at the proceedings of a Yajna celebration organized by Prajapati Daksha. Sati, the daughter of Daksh, married Shiva despite the objections by Daksha concerning Shiva’s characteristics of wildness. Sati went to visit the Yajna celebration alone against Shiva’s warnings. She was insulted and ignored by her father. In an extreme agitated state, Sati self-immolated. Shiva heard the news and called on his fierce manifestation Virabhadra. Virabhadra cut the head off Daksha and after the vast destruction was completed he returned to Mt. Kailash.

Shiva eventually returned to the site of devastation, was persuaded to forgive Daksha and revived him in his headless state. A nearby goat was sacrificed and the head of the goat was installed on Daksha. On the bottom left of the shield one can see the shape of a man with a goat head, while on the right, is a figure of Sati. Daksha became one of Shiva’s greatest devotees following this terrible incident.

The image of Virabhadra is one of strong protection. Shields are often placed outside Shiva temples and in the homes of Shiva devotees to ward off evil and bad influences.


South India


Copper alloy and silver alloy


18th-19th c. There is a fair amount of rubbing through ritual worship on the silver alloy metal image of Virabhadra. In fact, there are places on each thigh where the ritual rubbing has worn through the metal. The base and prabhavali surrounding the placque may have been replaced as it is not as worn.


8" x 5.25" x 2"