In this idyllic scene, the goddess Parvati offers her husband Shiva a drink, as they enjoy a quiet moment together. Their children, the elephant-headed Ganesha and Skanda, play inside a tent made from the hide of an elephant demon that Shiva had slain. Both parents are clothed in animal skins, the garb of mountain-dwelling ascetics, while Shiva is further adorned with a long necklace of skulls and a snake.
The narrative and iconographical elements of this scene alludes to multiple aspects of Shiva’s character—as lover, family man, destroyer of evil, and supreme practitioner of austerities—but, as is typical of Kangra painting, the overall mood is one of tranquility and domestic harmony.
Kangra was a small Rajput state in the Punjab Hills, which lie at the foot of the Himalaya in the far north of India. From the mid-eighteenth century, artists in this region began to adapt certain features of European painting, as filtered through Mughal painting. That impact is seen here in the naturalistic palette and treatment of forms, especially the animals and tree.