Ancient Daśapura was the site of an internally complex Śaiva religious community. The Aulikara rulers used Śaivism as a political idiom to celebrate military might and royal power. Their ministers, the Naigamas, promoted an irenic vision that praised Śiva as a source of protection and prosperity. Attention to those expressions of Śaivism enable us to contextualize one of Daśapura's most famous, yet enigmatic, works of art: an ithyphallic male figure depicted with a double phallus (ca. sixth c. ce). To date, the sculpture has remained impossible to place within the greater artistic landscape of the region. This study proposes a resolution by showing that the icon was conceived as part of a triad of sculptures that included Śiva's wife, Pārvatī, and their son, Skanda. The images of Śiva and Skanda are displayed at the Bhopal Museum, and while their similarities have been noted in previous studies, they have not been viewed as part of a set. The reason for this is their separation from an unpublished Pārvatī that currently is displayed in the Mandasor Archaeological Museum and identified as a yakṣī. When viewed as part of a triad, the double-phallus figure is transformed from an iconographic puzzle into an innovative visual strategy to reconcile what might seem opposing facets of a divine persona—that is, the ascetic and the family man. By presenting these icons as a “family portrait,” this study recontextualizes important works of art from early India and initiates broader considerations of the political and religious ideologies that inspired their production.

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