Antique Indian bronze figure of Ganesha. Seated on a lotus throne, he holds his prayer beads and ax in two of his four hands. He holds up one hand in abhaya mudra while he feeds himself sweets with the other. His mouse vahana (vehicle) looks up at him from the right side of his throne. According to legend, Ganesha was created from mud by the goddess Parvati in order to guard her while she bathed. Upon returning home from meditation, Parvati's husband, Shiva was furious to find his path blocked by Parvati's mud guardian. Ganesha took his job very seriously and a fight began during which Ganesha somehow lost his head (cut off by Shiva or one of his demons). Parvati, emerging from her bath, was distraught at what Shiva had done. Quickly, Shiva attempted to reverse his mistake by substituting the mud head with that of the nearest animal, in this case, an elephant. Filled with remorse and impressed by his dedication, Shiva and Parvati declared Ganesha their son. Ganesha is popular in both Buddhism and Hinduism.