The image at the top is a symbol of Zoroastrian Religion, one of the oldest in the world that dates from about 3,500 years ago originating in Persia (Iran). I saw it in a doorway on Fillmore Street near Union recently and because of my studies at the Asian Art Museum, I immediately recognized it. It has the same Zoroastrian symbol. The silver bowl below is a recent acquisition by the museum and dates from the 19th century and was commissioned in India and made by Burmese artisans.
I wondered if there was a Zorastrian organization here on Fillmore, but there wasn't any identification other than the symbol.
As part of my studies to become a docent at the Asian Art Museum, I'm studying Indian art. The Hindu God Ganesha is an auspicious symbol and believed to be the remover of obstacles and often found at the entrances to temples.
According to the Hindu stories, Ganesha is the son of the Hindu God Shiva and his wife Parvati. Shiva cut off his head by accident, but restored him to life by giving him the head of an elephant -- elephants being symbols of fertility and plenty. This lively sculpture is particularly nice with the curve of his trunk echoed by the curve of his dancing body followed by the curve of his hands. His holds an upraised weapon to cut away obstacles, a bowl to sweets to feast upon, and his broken tusk - broken in a battle with a demon.
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