Bhikshatana / Bhairava

Hoysaleshvara Temple, Halebid

This image is a stunning amalgamation of gentle Bhikshatana and fierce Bhairava, both forms of Shiva. The sandals belong to Bhikshatana, the other attributes to Bhairava. In the lower right, two figures seem to represent a Brahmin trying to keep his wife away from Bhikshatana. The figures may be interpreted as emaciated aescetics (Bhikshatana), as corpses (Bhairava), or - as so often in additive cultures like India's - as both. Overall, the fierce expression and imagery of Bhairava clearly dominate this sculpture, which I would characterize as Bhikshatana assimilated into Bhairava.