Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities in Hinduism, is depicted with unique iconography. Here are some common elements found in the iconography of Lord Shiva:
1. Third Eye (Triyambaka): Lord Shiva is often depicted with a third eye on his forehead, representing his all-seeing consciousness, knowledge, and spiritual insight.
2. Crescent Moon (Chandra): Shiva is portrayed wearing a crescent moon on his matted hair, symbolizing the cycles of time, rejuvenation, and the calming influence of moonlight.
3. Matted Hair (Jata): Shiva’s hair is shown in matted locks, which flow freely and represent his untamed nature, detachment from worldly affairs, and association with asceticism.
4. Trishula (Trident): Lord Shiva is commonly depicted holding a trident, which symbolizes his control over the three aspects of creation, preservation, and destruction.
5. Snake (Naga): Often coiled around his neck or adorning his arms, snakes signify Shiva’s power over death and transformation, as well as his association with the Kundalini energy.
6. Vibhuti (Sacred Ash): Shiva is sometimes depicted with sacred ash smeared on his body, particularly on the forehead and arms. The ash represents his transcendence over material existence and the impermanence of worldly pursuits.
7. Drum (Damaru): Lord Shiva is associated with a small drum called a damaru, which represents the primordial sound of creation and the rhythm of the universe.
8. Tiger Skin (Vyagra Charma): Shiva is often depicted sitting or wearing a tiger skin, symbolizing his mastery over primal instincts and his role as the lord of the wild.
These are some of the key elements commonly seen in the iconography of Lord Shiva. It’s worth noting that artistic representations and interpretations may vary across different regions and artistic traditions within Hinduism. The symbolism behind these icons reflects Shiva’s cosmic powers, his role as both a creator and a destroyer, and his transcendence of worldly attachments.