This is your occasional reminder that Hindu religious iconography also occasionally ‘moves with the times’ – as befits a Living Religion. [Which does not mean that the modern nor the novel ‘displaces’ the Past – only that there can be co-occurrence. And, as applies Ganesha specifically – remarkable ways for Him to continue to Get In Everywhere]
And, as applies this image in particular … to quote from GHOST DIVISION :
“You see, the role little Ganesha was carrying out when the decapitation occurred, was that of a sentinel – a guardian, a watchman standing in warding of His Lord (or, in this case, Lady). This is an absolutely prime function for a warrior in the retinue of a King; and therefore, I am of the opinion that this pre-eminent upholding of Duty, even in the face of what must have been the absolutely terrifying nature of an encounter with a lethally enraged Lord Shiva, must have been what induced the application of the GanaPati appellation. That is to say – Ganesha is Named as the Chief of the Ganas, as He is shown and seen to be of the highest resilience and resoluteness in the carrying out of one of the prime Duties of the Gana of Mahadev. That of Guarding, of Standing Watch over the Divine Couple (whether singly, or in partnership of Each Other’s blessed company), and of holding the entrance.
You can see how this leads directly into Ganesha’s portfolio responsibility as God of Entrances/Gateways/Doors/Openings. Hence why at Hindu Temples, you will customarily see a small (or, in some cases, (very) large) Ganesha positioned strategically at the entryway. Thus simultaneously showing that the Mandir is under the Protection of the Gods; and also, interestingly enough, carrying out a ‘filtration’ process of keeping out the “unworthy” (and therefore, from the direct Presence (in the Murtis, and radiating out, inter alia) of the Gods in Their Dwelling Therein). I say “interestingly enough”, because you may recall the earlier citation for exactly this, as a prime purpose of the Ganas in Their accompaniment of Lord Shiva into the Cremation Ground.
The selection of the motif of the Elephant’s Head, contra to some of the mythological accounts in this direction, can also have been no accident. After all, if we consider the traditional associations of the Elephant within the context of Hindu Iconography – that of mental faculty, of serious capability of force, and also of regality and royal power – it would make absolute sense for these to be visualized in connection with the retinue, the Royal Guard, of the God-Emperor. This becomes exceptionally the case in light of the other associations of the elephant – strong faculty of memory (a pretty important skill for the supernal sentinel, especially given the elephant’s ability for facial recognition and other such identifiers), and being very, very protective of their Graveyards.”