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Vishnu, The Tejasvi
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Vishnu, The Tejasvi
Hinduism is a very complex dharma, and Vishnu its most complex deity. Part of the holy trinity comprising of Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver), and Shiva (destroyer), to Vaishnavas He is the overlord while Brahma and Shiva merely do His bidding. His form is boundless, character non-specific, influence wide-ranging. His slender crown looms atop His head, at the back of which glows an engaved angular halo. His posterior hands bear the dharmachakra and the conch, one of His anterior hands the goad which He is holding down. The remaining hand is raised divine in blessing. Clad in sumptuous dhoti and jewellery, from lobes through torso and arms down to the ankles slightly above which the dhoti ends, the masculine splendour of His figure has been captured with superb skill by the brass artisans of India.

From time to time, His omnipresent force manifests Itself into an earthly form or avatara. The avatara is almost exclusively the modus operandi of this particular deity. A lovely male sleeps peacefully upon a celestial serpent as He dreams the universe into being. A ferocious leonine creature bursts forth from a seemingly lifeless pillar and ravages the entrails of a demon. A superbly collected prince enlists an army of monkeys to rescue His wife held captive. An adorable baby sneaks into the churns of milkmaids. Vishnu's many avataras reveal His superlative compassion and concern for the universe He projects; His intellectual, physical, and ethical powers. This despite the fact that some of His avataras are downright formidable and frenzied.

This murti of Vishnu comes in two different finishes to suit your space. The full features of His countenance are radiant (tejasvi) with divinity. The composition is placed on a characteristic pedestal: inverted golden lotus atop a dual-layered base with the lower level engraved with petals. Note how the head of the humungous goad touches the surface of the pedestal between the deity's feet.

Divinity Of Nataraja's Tandava
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Divinity Of Nataraja's Tandava
The first impression gleaned from a cursory glance at the Nataraja is one of dynamic energy. In stark contrast to the Mahayogin image of Shiva wherein His divine energies are seemingly drawn inward, Nataraja exudes His force in all eight directions. His presence pervades all spaces, across all quanta of time. His limbs are in natyasthana: the right foot crushes the pulverises the apasmara that is the very picture of tamas, while the left foot is raised mid-air to the right of His torso. This pose has been described in great detail in the classical Indian natyashastras. While the right foot symbolically overpowers the devotee's ignorance, the left foot signifies one's ascension to the higher realms of consciousness. The damru in His right posterior arm beats to the rythm of time itself; the fire He holds in His left posterior arm stands for His destructive prowess; and together with the highly characteristic abhaya mudra of His anterior hands, His stance captures with perfection the wondrous flow of the detiy's energies.

The classic Nataraja iconography has an interesting story behind it. It is said that Shiva decided one day to grace the kanakasabha (golden assembly) at Chidambram. The deities and sages gathered there told Him of the heresies of the Mimansaka sages inhabiting the surrounding woods. In keeping with His dharmic greatness, Shiva confronted them in the clearing where burnt their sacrificial fire. A blazing tiger emerged from the flames and attacked Shiva, but He overpowered it in a flash and made its skin His loincloth. Then a superlatively venomous snake rose from the firepit, but Shiva overpowered it and made its kind His adornment such that they sit with great docility on His limbs and tresses. Finally, the apasmara was born from the fire of the heretics, whose back was snapped against the weight of His powerful physique motioning in tandava.

The most unusual aspect of Shiva-Nataraja are His madly flowing locks that flank His handsome countenance. It indicates that the deity's power is five-fold. He projects the entirety of existence as we know it (srishti), preserves it (sthiti), causes its cyclical destruction (samhara), withdraws His energies inward (tirobhava), and reveals Himself to His devotees in all His grace (anugraha). It is this panchakritya (five functions) that the Nataraja embodies. The inverted-lotus pedestal He is placed on in all His shringar, in complementary colours in case of each finish, is typical of the murtis of Indian deities.

The Ethereal Majesty Of Shiva-parivar
Bangalore bronzes are unparalleled in terms of finished beauty. No wonder the artistic appeal of bronze as a medium, as opposed to brass, is greater. It has a whiff of the superlative and the elite about it. Bronze metal-sculpting is an ancient skill that developed in the Southern tip of the subcontinent under the patronage of the Chola monarchs, and as such is superior to brass-working or even wax modelling. In other words it is the perfect mixed media to cast the divine concept of Shiva-parivar in.

The much-revered Shiva parivar comprises of His wife, Parvati, and Their 2 sons, Ganesha and Kartika. Shiva Himself takes centrestage. His two posterior arms are holding divine weapons to battle adharma; He raises one anterior hand in blessing, while with the other He secures the lovely Parvati on His lap. She is also seated in lalitasana, and holds in Her hand a weapon. The harmonious, self-sufficient unit of life that They form together is superbly expressed in the way Their respective silhouettes have been made to align with each other by the artisans. Their intricately crafted, perfectly symmetrical crowns tower above Their heads, Their silk dhoties and ample shringar fit for the celestial realm They belong to. Seated in union on a layered lotus pedestal, with the graceful much-devoted Nandi sitting at the base, They form a complete picture of blissful togetherness.

They are flanked by Ganesha and Kartika, each of Whom has been sculpted with Their iconographies intact. From Ganesha's adorable elephant head, the baby fat on His form, and the humungous laddoo in His hand; to Kartika's radiant handsomeness and the sublime proportions of His form. Like Their parents, Their shringar is flawless and Their stance that of great benevolence and blessing. They are each on a much smaller layered lotus pedestal, which together with Shiva-Parvati's seat are placed on an elaborate stand decorated with petal engravings. The aureole equals it in maginificence. The sheer detailing on each layer - the outermost wave-like curves, followed by the twisted lotus petals, the smooth rim as if of a halo, more twisted petals, and two rings engraved with rangoli-esque motifs - sets this ensemble apart from run-of-the-mill enshrined Shiva-parivar statues.

The Very Picture Of Asceticism
This striking Shiva sculpture is indeed the very picture of asceticism. This portrayal depicts Him walking across the Himalayas, a section of the jagged folded rocks beneath His kharam-clad feet. The same are in a dynamic stance, the veins and the musculature of the limbs so lifelike it feels like the lord Himself has emerged within one's view. A leopard skin functions as His loincloth, one that He had encountered and killed in the mountains (its lifeless head dangles against His thigh). Against it hangs a roughly fashioned bugle, which together with the damru is used by the deity to summon the Shivagana, His band of devotees. His austere shringar comprises of ample rudrakshas that clasp His wrists and arms and cascade against His torso, together with the janeu tucked loosely into the loincloth.

A stateliness characterises this composition of Shiva. His gaze is powerful, directed straight ahead, which is matched by the dignified stance of the wide-hooded cobra that sits on His shoulder. From within the layers of His voluminous tresses that reach well below the shoulders emerge a couple of gigantic kundalas that dangle from His large lobes. The skill that has gone into sculpting this part of the statue is considerable. Each strand of the lord's hair has been defined. A sliver of the moon is balanced at the hairline, behind which towers His signature jatamukuta that is seemingly held in place by another snake. Amidst His tresses resides Ganga, who is said to have passed through there prior to descending onto the North Indian plains. A hand raised in blessing, on the open palm of which is tattooed an image of the sacred syllable, and the kamandalu He holds in the other complete the picture.

Ardhanarishvara (Shiva-Shakti), With The Towering Jatamukuta
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Ardhanarishvara (Shiva-Shakti), With The Towering Jatamukuta
The Ardhanarishvara is the most telling deity of Hindu philosophy. It is a confluence of purush and prakriti, of the male and the female, of energy and matter - an idea expressed exclusively in Indian philosophy. It is a powerful symbol of existence as a process. Two halves each of Shiva and His wife, Parvati, meet to strike a figure that has all the grace of the feminine and the wrath of the masculine (lasya and tandava, respectively, as in the dancing Ardhanarishvara). This Ardhanarishvara, that comes in a motley of variations to suit your space, has a towering jatamukuta to set off the dangling karnaphool of Parvati. The androgynous countenance bears a composure of transcendental bliss.

While the silhouette juts out in the shape of a broad shoulder on Shiva's side, it descends into a soft curve on Parvati's. Note the finesse of Her fingers, giving it away that She plays some divine melody on Her veena. One of Shiva's hands rests on the back of His trusty Nandi, a popular stance of the deity, while the other holds up the goad of dharma. Luxuriant adornments, starting from the neck to the navel, wind around the undulations of the torso that is skilfully carved in accordance with the essence of each deity that makes up the composite. While the hem of Shiva's dhoti lies mid-thigh, leaving the glorious musculature of His limb exposed to the devotee's view, Parvati's supple shape is draped over till the distinctly narrower ankle. Each of Ardhanarishvara's wrists and ankles is clad in bangles.

The one-of-a-kind pedestal of this sculpture makes this a must-buy. With the usual lotus petal motif etched on to the surface, it is like a circlet of freshly plucked lotuses placed atop a gigantic inverted one.

Shiva Linga Worship
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Shiva Linga Worship
Shiva is The Destroyer, assuming his place in the holiest Trimurti along with Brahma (the Creator) and Vishnu (the Maintainer). But even with the title of the Destroyer, Shiva’s role in the cosmic is hailed of great importance—the destruction being more beneficial and constructive rather than arbitrary, the end that makes way to new beginnings.

Shiva’s traditional prominent forms are the anthropomorphic and the aniconic form, the Shiva Linga is the most known of the latter. A Shiva Linga, also called a lingam, literally means the “sign”, and is worshipped by followers of Shiva as an object representation of the God. This Shiva Linga Worship painting depicts the lingam in its most recognizable form phallic shape usually standing at the center of the yoni (a disk-shaped platform with a lip at one side). A visit at shrines for Shiva will show various installations of the lingam, usually at a lower level, made accessible for all worshippers who wish to offer. Offerings and tools for worship are depicted in this watercolor-on-paper painting. Usually, offerings include flowers, rice, fruits, water and a milk bath which worshippers put directly in the lingam. There is also a snake on the yoni, one of the many attributes of Shiva. The warm colorway and sun can symbolize that the act worshipping Shiva is enticing and can easily be part of your regular spiritual routine.

Shiva is the main deity in the tradition of Shivaism and as one of the principal deities in all of Hinduism, he is also amongst the greatest represented in Indian art as well. Exotic India has a curated list of artworks and items inspired by Shiva. Discover the God of Destruction in his many attributes including the third eye, the crescent moon, distinctive hair, blue threat, the sacred Ganga, tiger skin, and the trident, among others.

Lord Shiva as Pashupatinath, The Cosmic Patriarch
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Lord Shiva as Pashupatinath, The Cosmic Patriarch
The majestic roopa (form) of Lord Pashupatinath, sculpted from fine-quality wood. He is seated on His devoted Nandi, His bull-roopi vahana (mount), as stately and handsome as the Lord Himself. The lifelike musculature of the Lord - the torso, the arms, and the legs - is superimposed with the traditional gold and pearl adornments of South Indian iconography. The same goes for His wife, the lovely Devi Parvati, who is seated on the thigh of the folded leg.

Lord Pashupatinath is seated in lalitasana on a piece of silken fabric on the back of Nandi. The animal is richly adorned, all the way from the horns through the neck to the hooves, which befits its status as Shiva-vahana. A sharply sculpted, taurine face is turned to the viewer with a gaze full of unshakeable bhakti (unconditional love, for Lord Shiva in any of His roopas). On its head rests one of the chaturbhujadhari (four-armed) Lord’s posterior arms and in the other is the image of a pashu (animal) subject.

The most striking aspects of this composition are the ones that establish it in the style of South Indian temple architecture. A wide pedestal embossed with elongated lotus petals, with a floral chakra at the centre. A characteristically layered aureole. The imposing kirtiumkham at its zenith, signifying the predominance of kala or cyclical time. Note the miniscule lingam emerging from the surface of the pedestal into the belly of Nandi.

Nayika Shringar
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Nayika Shringar
The pure and fine brush strokes take this masterpiece to the next level of sanctity, depicting the eye-catching self love of Nayika. The warm ivory complexioned countenance is adorned with a stunning Greek nose and thin and rounded high-arch eyebrows that compliment the mesmerizing and prominent deep set eyes, accompanied with a thin lock of hair that rests on the lady's plump face, as her cantaloupe-colored lips, twitch into a suppressed smile.

The charming Belle is painted to be bejeweled with a lovely nose ring that is studded with silver, red and green beads that perfectly goes with the vibrant bangles combined with the remarkably carved thick bangles. Her long, moderately frizzy, charcoal-black hair is commended with a sparkling forehead band, bespangled with green and purple gems as well as a beguiling silver head pass, that soothes the eyes. Her ear droops under the weight of the charismatic gold and amethyst-painted drop earrings that enhance her mien. With the perfect jawline, her neck is beautified with a bewitching white pearl collar necklace that extends to become an artistically embellished, heavy and a luxurious ivory-stoned choker necklace that chaperone the dangling laced opera that lengthens to her navel.

The painting encapsulates the lass in a pleated, mauve lehenga with a chest-length red choli stitched with a gold colored lace, that deepens over her cleavage. Her diaphanous, Maya blue-dyed, floral dupatta drapes gracefully, failing to cover her light-complexioned skin.

Her henna painted fingers curl around the mirror as the art shows her as she does her shringara. However, an overwhelming feeling of melancholy grips the spectators heart, as the stripped blemishes color her arm brown. Her broken smile is a key to the clandestine that is dug under her maquillage, bringing into light her sadness that she tries to conceal with love, turning out to be the ultimate jackpot of a wonderfully depicted scenario.

Shri Ganesha Puja
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Shri Ganesha Puja

The painting takes us to an enlightening festival where this young and beautiful damsel, dressed in a three piece red silk decorated elegantly with golden zari all over and adorned in the best of her gold jewels, sits graciously on this platform to perform the puja rituals of worshipping Lord Ganesha. She holds the puja thali that contains the bright flowers, a pot of water and Ganesha’s all time favourite motichoor laddoos.

Painter has very neatly and beautifully depicted the devotional expressions of this young lady with the sparkling eyes and that sweet red smile symbolizing her religious love for her lord. Vibrant and colourful flowers sprinkled in front of Ganesha’s small temple make us realize that, already many such ladies have performed their pujas before the sun sets. The deep yellow background pictures the time of the setting sun, as all the puja has to be performed before that and enjoy the bright lightening of diyas and candles at night.

This painting depicts the scene of a village as can be identified by the structure of the wall and large water pots that lay around the girl; trees painted in the background accentuate the greenery in the village with the applauding use of brush strokes in the striking attires as well as in framing the overall essence of the painter’s thoughts.

The Royal Couple on Swing
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The Royal Couple on Swing
The porcelain toned lady with exquisite facial features, looks away, in the lovely piece of art, as she is appareled in a fire yellow, cotton lehenga that is emblazoned with scarlet red and emerald green floral motifs, which goes along with her glittery ballet slipper crop top choli. Despite the revealing element of her outfit, she conceals her bare skin with a gleaming white full sleeve inner which skillfully camouflages in the brush strokes, with her golden bangles that adorn her thin hands. A lapis blue, waist flare that is embellished with sequins drapes down her thighs as her translucent, carolina blue dupatta with a thick golden lace sways in the air with each swing. Her beauty is enhanced with a lovely quartz crystal set, that comprises of a breathtaking opera and a choker necklace, combining with valuable drop earrings which beautify her beady brooch.

The painting even captures her better half, who protectively swings the entrancing lady. The handsome man is encapsulated as a possessor of a fawn colored countenance adorned with a thin imperial moustache. The Royal geezer is appareled in a light lava silver jama that drops down his ankles, swaddled in a tawny brown and golden stripped choga, revealing the silver cloth below his arms. A cinnamon brown, tuscany thread-embroidered turban sets down over his frizzy, unkempt hair, as a lavender shaded and orange tinted dupatta entangles in his manly wrists. He is emblazoned with ravishing white pearl ear tops and an elegantly layered opera that droops down his neck.

Although, this scene of giving one's lover a splendid ride should show cheerfulness, the illustrator has portrayed both the characters to look away, instead of smiling, a grim expression drenches their face, complimented with the pale and dusty fern green trees, depicting their despising lives, making it a painting with an intriguing secret, worth working out.