Shiva as Victor of Three Cities (Tripuravijaya)
c. 875
Asia: India, Tamil Nadu
On View

In his iconic form as Shiva the Destroyer of the Three Cities (Tripurantaka), the god is depicted in a heroic stance, with his legs bent in a pose called dvibhanga. Originally, Shiva’s outstretched hands would have held a bow and arrow. According to legend, demons created havoc in three celestial cities. The demons could only be destroyed with a single arrow when the cities converged, which happened rarely. Gods and humans pleaded with Shiva to restore order by destroying the demons. When the cities converged, Shiva shot his arrow, setting all three cities—and the demons—on fire.


  • Title: Shiva as Victor of Three Cities (Tripuravijaya)
  • Date: c. 875
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Dimensions: overall: 30-1/2 x 14-1/2 x - 5/8 in. (77.5 x 36.8 x 14.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1972.45.07.S
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

  • Knoke, Christine, Arts of Asia, p. 67
  • Dehejia, Vidya, Asian Art: Selections from the Norton Simon Museum, fig. 6 p. 41
  • Nagaswami, R., Lalit Kala, p. 36
  • Khandalawala, K., Lalit Kala, p. 37
  • Srinivasan, P. R., Bronzes of South India, 1963, pp. 147-150
  • Lerner, Martin, Chhavi-2, 1981,
  • Dehejia, Vidya, Art of the Imperial Cholas, 1990, ill. 26 p. 34
  • Norton Simon Museum Newsletter, 1996,
  • Barret, Douglas, Marg, 1998, 84-86
  • Dehejia, Vidya, The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from the South of India, 2002, fig. 1 p. 110
  • Pal, Pratapaditya, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Volume 1: Art from the Indian Subcontinent, 2003, no. 167 pp. 220-221
  • Guy, John, Vidya Dehejia, et al, Chola: Sacred Bronzes of Southern India, 2006, fig. 15 pp. 27-28
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 874 p. 347
  • Deepak Kannal and Kanika Gupta, Lupadakhe: 'Unknown Master Sculptors of Ancient India', 2019, Fig. 128 pp. 89-90
  • Dehejia, Vidya, The Thief Who Stole My Heart: The Material Life of Chola Bronzes from South India, c. 855-1280, 2021, fig. 1.16 pp. 34-35, p. 35 (ill.)
  • Dehejia, Vidya, The Thief Who Stole My Heart: The Material Life of Chola Bronzes from South India, c. 855-1280, 2021, Fig. 2.6 pp. 54-57, p. 58 (ill.)
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