Shiva’s Insignia

Shiva’s depiction is manifold.

As Mahayogi (great Yogi), he sits in front of the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas on a tiger skin*, wears an elephant skin around his body, snakes around his neck and upper arms. His body is covered with ashes, he wears a garland of skulls arount his neck, signs of transience.

In his hands he holds Trident (Trishula) and two-headed drum (Damaru), in South India deer and ax.
His matted hair is adorned with crescent moon and Ganga.
On his forehead he has a third eye.
His throat is blue.
His mount is the bull Nandi.
His abode is mount Kailash.

As Nataraja he hold flame and two-headed drum in händs, ständing on a human being.

As Linga he is formless.

The statues are made of marble in North India and black stone in South India.

The symbolism of the insignia is interpreted in countless different ways.

*For the tiger skin read the myth here