Ardhanarishwara which means "the Lord who is half woman" is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvati.
Ardhanarishwara represents the synthesis of masculine and feminine energies of the universe .The union of these principles are exalted as the root and womb of all creation.
While the Shiva half includes a half third eye, His one arm holds a trishula (trident) and another palm is turned outward to a varada mudra (gesture of blessing). The saffron hued Parvati is depicted with a fuller figure to emphasize the anatomical differences between them.
The male half of Ardhanarishwara stands for Purusha and female half Prakriti. Purusha is the male principle and passive force of the universe, while Prakriti is the female active force; both are "constantly drawn to embrace and fuse with each other, though separated by the intervening axis".
This artwork symbolizes that the male and female principles, the yin and the yang are inseparable. The composite form conveys the unity of opposites (coniunctio oppositorum) in the universe.