The royal is appareled in a chiffon white jama that is emblazoned with aqua white drop shaped stones, fastened around his body with a vibrant motif waistband tinted in an amber and watermelon orange tint, coupled with his bright yellow churidar pajamas which are embellished with yellow and green checkered lines. His feet are gracefully decorated with an olive painted khussa with golden imprints along with a fire yellow stripe of vibrant floral pattern envelops it.
The prince's ears are ornamented with pearl hoops and a tri-layered white pearl opera with lovely gemstones drapes over his chest. A thin brown belt goes diagonally from his left shoulder down his waist. An old fashioned dagger with a gold plated handle is sheathed in a leather covering embossed with intricate black-gold designs. The geezer's wrists are graced with sparkling silver bracelets and expensive stone embedded rings. His unkempt hair is cleverly covered in a cotton turban that is illustrated in vivacious colors and beady strands that droop over every pleat, luring the spectators. A strong blackish silver shield peaks across his thighs as the Highness takes on a grim expression with his eyes fixed in an infinite direction while a gloomy backdrop lingers over the spectators quite mysteriously making it your first and best shopping item.
The lady is adorned with fire gold bangles and exquisite armbands. Her hair is ornamented with a crystal maang tikka, along with a matha patti that skillfully drapes down her hair. Her sleek Greek nose is pierced with a beautiful nose ring and her protruding ears are blessed with splendid moonstone drop earrings. The long neck is amazingly portrayed as a hub of jewels with alluring pearl choker necklace and an entrancing layered crystal beaded opera. Her fingertips are illustrated with henna and her graceful feet are embellished with glittery anklets which are a pleasure to watch.
Bright red apples and lime colored bananas sit on a gold painted plate that is accompanied with a bulgy golden water vessel and a saucer. Her backdrop is carved with great handiwork, to show a thunderous night, with lotus blooming in the river as the lush drees are engulfed in darkness. Lightning bolts are beautifully captured, alongside the high brown mountains, yet depicting all the birds and ducks to be bewitched in the lady's music.
An aura of peace prevails, depicting a strong connection with nature. The onlookers are even lost in the mystique music of the elegant sitar, making it a secretive yet entrancing moment between them and the divine art.
This gentle watercolour depicts the two deities as one, seated in bhadrasana on a mat of tiger-skin. They are the primordial yogis, Lord Shiva having imparted the knowledge of yoga to His Parvat; in fact, Yogadarshana is the applied aspect of the more theoretical Sankhyadarshana. He wields a trishool; She, a noose. A sliver of the moon graces His matted locks, while Her gorgeous curls are held in place by a bejewelled crown. He is bare-bodied but for the loincloth, in stark contrast to which She is drawing the pallu of Her saree over Her torso with Her anterior hand.
Their mat is spread on the transverse section of a gigantic tree, set amidst the pale landscape of the lower Himalayan reaches. The painter has chosen a particularly verdant spot to depict his Ardhanarishvara in. In the foreground is the devoted Nandi on His haunches, looking ahead with a gaze as gathered and serene as the Ardhanarishvara’s.
The beautiful Devi is seated in Her altar on a pale pink lotus. In Her four hands She holds a rosary, a pothi (spiritual manuscript), and of course the veena. She is the deity of intellectual pursuits - learning and music and the arts - which explains the elements of Her iconography. Despite the fact that the work put into the mandir dominates the composition and the pratima is relatively tiny, She has been carved in beauteous detail: the composure of Her countenance, the shringar of Her neck cascading over the stem of Her instrument, and the one-of-a-kind blue-winged crown on Her head.
Natural, traditional motifs grace Her mandir. She is flanked by blue-lotus pillars, sandwiched between platforms engraved with coloured lotus petals. An unconventional templetop characterises the composition. A pair of large, young peacocks are seemingly holding the entire arrangement up on their heads.
Every time Her husband has been incarnated as Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, and Krishna, She has accompanied Him as Kamala, Dharani, Sita, and Rukmini. Hence, She has come to embody the especially feminine virtues of beauty and devotion. She is as inseparable from Him as knowledge from intellect, coherence from words, and dharma from righteousness. A divine sense of calm is writ across Her supremely beautiful brow, the rest of Her form as rubescent as the lotuses She holds up in Her tender (posterior) hands. The right anterior hand is the ashirvaad mudra, what with Her chosen devotees amongst the most fortunate of our realm of existence. Her four arms stand for dharma (ethics), artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), and moksha (deliverance).
While the Puranas describe the birth of Lakshmi as the daughter of the sage Bhrigu and his wife Khyati, She is deified as having been born from the oceans during the all-important samudramanthan. Artist Kailash Raj depicts Her as such, emerging from the tempestuous waters. Complex brushstrokes in limited shades and tints of blue illustrate withh great skill the prevailing turmoil in the heavens. Note the graduated halo that surrounds Lakshmi - the gold glow of knowledge, followed by the pink ringlet of beauty, and finally the pristine layer symbolic of ethical purity.
In fact, the colour white dominates the palette of this work. Her skin is dewy, the unusual colour of crushed olives. A milk-white swan, Her vahana, is seated in perfect stillness behind Her. Her asana is a gigantic lotus in full bloom, its pristine petals featuring undertones of powdery pink and gold. The waters flowing underneath are calm and clear as crystal.
There is so much of the dynamic in this painting. If you gaze into this painting long enough, you could almost observe the displacement of the swans flying in the background and see the flora in the foreground sway in the breeze. The brushstrokes employed at the waters convey a sense of gentle motion. From the tilt of Her neck and the direction of Her gaze, it seems that She is in close communion with the miniscule swans and lotus-buds in the stream, as if She is playing to infuse them with life and nourishment.
Indeed, no other deity of the Hindu pantheon could have made a better scribe for the greatest epic known to humankind. While His appearance is not on par with the characteristic handsomeness of Indian deities, it is His adorably boyish form that devotees love. His pot belly gives away His undying love of laddoos (He is holding one at the tip of His trunk). His chubby limbs are every ready to break into dance or to be raised in blessing. The innocent elephant-head stands for all the gentleness and wisdom associated with the mortal animal. This one-of-a-kind wood-cut sculpture of the Lord depicts Him in the midst of a walk along divine pathways, with a kamandalu in one anterior hand and an ornate parasol in the other. Lotuses about to bloom are in His posterior hands. His befitting silks and shringar are matched by the glamour of the Kirtimukha aureole that frames the composition and the grandeur of the pedestal on which the same is placed.
The Devi is flanked by dharm and adharm. To Her right are Indradeva and young siddha. While Indra is a heavenly being in His vibrant red silk and pearly shringar, and the thousand eyes that grace His body; the siddha is the perfect mortal and dressed like one. To the left of Bhadrakali is an asura, whose tribe is at perpetual war with the devas. He is big and boorish; and while His adornments are no match for Indra, He is as much of the immortal realm as He is. All three stand before Bhadrakali with their palms joined in namaskaram, supplicating to Her because She is all-powerful and lords over the dharmic cycle itself. Note how the shades of Her halo blend with the moors painted in the background of the painting.
This work speaks volumes about the personal devotion of the artisan. The Lord is shown to be wearing a gorgeous silk dhoti and sashes. The rest of Him is bedecked with a world of shringar, which gather against His skin in lifelike angles. One of the unusual aspects of this tribhang murari depiction of Lord Krishna is the fact that He is chaturbhujadhari (four-armed). His smoothly carved feet rest on the typical dual-lotus arrangement found at the feet of Indian deities (two lotuses with their pistils brought together), which in turn is placed on a multi-tiered quadrilateral pedestal. The same is engraved with rangoli-esque motifs, the lateral trappings set off by leonine figurines that are miniscule but majestic. The twoering kirtimukha crown of the Lord completes the composition.
The Yali sculpture that you see on this page is a pair of handcrafted brackets, chosen for its one-of-a-kind composition. The Yalis are adorned with green and orange fabric, their long tails wound around a matching floral motif. A couple of kneeling elephants raise their trunks at the feet of the respective Yalis. Their dense black mane contrasts sharply with the white of their spine-chilling dentures. At their feet are traditionally carved lotus-petal structures, more of which are to be found at the top of the pillars behind their backs and on the roof over their manes. Zoom in on the wood-carving to appreciate the beauty and precision of the workmanship.
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