One of the most popular of all Hindu deities, Ganesha is the elephant-headed god. He is the destroyer of obstacles and regarded as auspicious. Hindus invoke his help at the beginning of any enterprise, from weddings to the opening of a new business. They invoke the god to smooth the way, remove distractions, and protect them from evil. He also is the giver of earthly prosperity and well-being.
In this classic tenth-century Javanese depiction, from the island of Java, Ganesha sits erect on a double lotus base. Pot bellied and with his chubby feet held tightly together, he eats sweetmeats from a bowl in his lower left hand. His headdress, made of braided locks, bears a protective crescent moon and skull. His lower right hand grasps a broken tusk, while his upper right hand holds a rosary topped with a pomegranate, a symbol of abundance. In his upper left hand, he displays a battle-axe used to counter evil. Ganesha images often decorated the principal niche in the western wall of a Shiva temple.