Parvati, bronze image, early Cola period, 10th century AD; in the Freer Gallery of Art, …—Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Wife of the Hindu god Shiva. Parvati is the benevolent aspect of Shakti, the Hindu supreme goddess (see Shaktism). According to the traditional account of her marriage, she won Shiva's notice only after severe ascetic discipline. The couple had two children, the elephant-headed Ganesha and the six-headed Skanda. In sculpture Parvati is always depicted as a mature and beautiful woman. The sacred Tantras are framed as a discussion between Parvati and Shiva.

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