Skip to Content

The museum is reopening February 11. Learn more.

Double-Sided Painted Banner (Paubha) with God Shiva and Goddess Durga

A work made of pigment and gold on cotton.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of pigment and gold on cotton.


16th/17th century



About this artwork

In this dynamic, double-sided painted banner from Nepal, designed to be carried high over the heads of the crowd during a religious festival, the Hindu God Shiva dances on his bull, Nandi, who turns his head upward to look lovingly at his Lord. This may represent Shiva as Nataraja, Lord of Dance, who is often depicted dancing atop his bull in Nepal. The other side depicts Durga, Shiva’s shakti (energy), dancing on a white snow lion.

The remarkably well-preserved painting is enlivened by the bold colors and vibrant textile patterns, the sashes flying out in all directions, and the swag at the top framed by flaring tassels. Large, striking flowers are scattered against the background. In his upper arms Shiva holds his traditional attributes the trident and the rosary (rudrakshamala). He holds a Buddhist stupa (burial mound) in one lower hand—an unusual attribute—while his other forms the vitarka mudra (teaching gesture). That a Hindu deity should hold a Buddhist stupa illustrates the non-sectarian, all-encompassing nature of religious devotion in Nepal.

Currently Off View

Arts of Asia


Double-Sided Painted Banner (Paubha) with God Shiva and Goddess Durga






Pigment and gold on cotton


95 × 71 cm (37 3/8 × 28 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions