18th-19th century AD. A group of five stone Shiva Lingas, conical egg shape in a buff coloured fine grained stone with natural red markings to the top; three mounted on custom-made stands. 4.12 kg total, 3-19cm (1 1/4 - 7 1/2"). Property of a Sussex, UK collector; acquired UK 1990s. Narmada Shiva Lingas come from the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh, India, one of the seven sacred holy places of pilgrimage in India. The collection of these stones is passed down from generation to generation.They are gathered on one sacred day of the year from an area near the source of the Narmada about three hundred miles north of Mumbai. They are polished into the traditional egg shape by the action of the river. The Linga, meaning 'sign', is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu deity, Shiva, used for worship in temples and smaller shrines, and derives from ancient phallic worship, possibly as far back as the Indus civilisation. In traditional Indian society, the Linga is seen as a symbol of the energy and potential of Shiva himself. The Linga is often represented alongside the yoni (Sanskrit word meaning origin and representing the womb), a symbol of the goddess or of Shakti, the female creative energy. The union of Lingam and Yoni represents the indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates.