Lord Skanda-Murugan


Kārttikeya, the god of war and the general of the armies of the gods, is the younger son of Shiva and Parvati according to most Puranic legends. In the Gayatri hymns, he is called by various names, Kumāra, Kārttikeya and Skanda. In the South he is popularly known as Lord Murugan or Subrahmanya.

Varying iconographical representations show him either like the image here or with six heads and a normal body and limbs. Standing besides his vehicle, the peacock, he stands naked with the sky as his clothing. He wears the kind of jewellery popular in the south. Necklaces of varying length adorn his body. A garland of wild flowers hang down to his knees. Resting against his body is a long, pointed sula. A bright halo behind his head, makes the painting aglow.

The brilliant hues of the peacock are presented in natural colours. The royal blue and the rich green make most of the bird. In its claw, the peacock holds a snake, its enemy. Yet, the serpent is also the symbol of Kārttikeya's descendence from Shiva, as snakes are associated with Shiva.

The background is painted pale yellow for the effect of brightening up the painting. The foreground hosts a lot of features e.g. architecture, hills and mountains and foliage. It also gave the artist scope for various colours and imagination.

Courtesy: ExoticIndianArt.com

Skanda-Murugan, opaque watercolor on cotton
South Indian Murugan, watercolor on cotton

Other articles about Kaumara Iconography and Art History:

  • "Iconography of Skanda-Murukan"
  • "'Iconography of Murugan' by Raju Kalidos"
  • "Trimurti in Medieval South India"
  • "Iconography of Somaskanda"
  • "Palani Andavar idol: a scientific study"
  • "Rare Image of Brahmasasta"
  • "Kinetic Iconography of Murukan"
  • The Iconography of Goddess Kaumārī
  • "Painting of Murugan, Subrahmanya or Karthikeyan"
  • Soma Skanda: Royal and Divine
  • "Significance of Kaumara Icons"
  • "Mailam Murukan temple"
  • "7th cent. Murukan image discovered"
  • "Vallakkottai Murukan Temple"
  • "Karttikeya images of ancient Java"
  • "Skanda images in ancient Cambodia"
  • "17 Iconographical aspects of Subrahmanya"
  • 19th Century Bengali watercolor of Karttikeya
  • Skanda upon Peacock, 11th-12th Cent Chola granite
  • Kārttikeya-Murugan water color painting
  • Galleries of Kaumara Iconography

  • Gallery One: Tiruvavaduthurai Adheenam
  • Gallery Two: 1920's - 40's collection
  • Gallery Three: early to late 20th century
  • Gallery Four: 1930-50 lithographs
  • Aru Padai Veedu paintings
  • Paintings of famous temple moolavars