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Showing 541 to 550 of 550 results
The Introspecting Shakyamuni
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The Introspecting Shakyamuni
We all know the Buddha as the Enlightened Shakyamuni, seated in the perfect padmasana. Upon hearing His name, an image of His gracious form steeped in meditation or involved in vitarka or even cradling the characteristic alms-bowl. He is the ascetic supreme, and such an image befits Him. However, there is more to the Buddha than asceticism and enlightenment. Before those came years of introspection and intense reflection. It is one such episode - nay, a moment - that has been captured in this sculpture of the Buddha. An unusual portrayal of the Shakyamuni prior to His Enlightenment. He is seated with His legs folded, a knee raised to support His heaving head, which He cushions with His soft, gracious hands as He begins to lose Himself on an inward voyage.

Note how lifelike is the stance of the figure in the composition. This is despite the stillness - from the angle of the neck and the shoulders, to the superbly carved folds of His robe gathered about Him. Even though it is an unconventional visualisation, His personality is replete. Lengthened lobes, which are verily the sign of wisdom in this part of the world; a brow as thick and graceful as the outstretched wings of the albatross; and delicately sculpted fingers and toes, which are best zoomed in on. His composure, as especially conveyed by the mouth, is restful like a true yogi's. His eyes are half-shut, hair gathered in coils and piled atop His shapely head. Should you deide to seat this form of the Buddha somewhere in your interiors, it would fill the surroundings with an aura of divine calm and stability.

The Glorious Hanuman, The Jewel Of The Ramayana
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The Glorious Hanuman, The Jewel Of The Ramayana
The more that is said about Lord Hanuman, the more that remains left out. Of superlative strength and great personal beauty, this vanar-roopa deity is best known for His devotion to Rama in the itihasa. Vanar-roopa, because He used to be very mischievous as a child (son of Anjanadevi and Vayudeva) and had subsequently been punished with a blow to the face Indra Himself. He was tutored by Sooryadeva, and is the most perfect of yogis across space and time. In the necklace of Ramayana characters, He is the brightest jewel. Of elegant speech and extraordinary intelligence, it is His active devotion to Rama that enables the latter to finally rescue His wife from the clutches of Ravana. From consoling Vali's queen Tara upon His death in the hands of Rama to being entrusted to lead the Southern-bound troops (because the likelihood of Her being found there was the highest) and discovering Her thus, He was indispensable to His master.

This brass sculpture captures the divinity of the Lord with considerable skill. Its smooth glistening surface exudes power. The musculature of His form, the lifelike silks that clothe Him, and the aspects of His shringar have been sculpted with great detail. His tail, glorious as it is, flourishes behind His head like a halo. A minimalistic crown sits on His brow, set off by a determined composure of countenance. In one hand is the signature goad, while the other is raised in blessing. A simple, statement double-lotus pedestal completes the composition. Zoom in on the embroidery on His sashes and His loincloth to admire the skill of the artisan who made this.

A Powerful Vision Of The Ferocious Bhadrakali (Tantric Devi Series)
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A Powerful Vision Of The Ferocious Bhadrakali (Tantric Devi Series)
The image of the solo Bhadrakali is as powerful as it gets. The paintings in this series have been reproduced from the famous Basholi watercolours, all the hallmarks of which are to be found in this one. A naked, barely adorned corpse for a pedestal; portrayals of Shakti-roopa devis from India's tantric tradition against a solid-coloured background with minimal hints of landscape; and a singular shringar and style of crown for the deties in question. The Devi Bhadrakali is dusky, the ashen blue of Her silks blending with Her complexion. Chunks of gold in Her pearls-dominated shringar match the gold on the border of Her garment. She rules over not just the universe as we know it, but also whom we consider the rulers of the universe.

Her head is set with a crown that befits Her heavenly status - it is ornate and made from gold, studded with emeralds and trimmed with three pink lotuses that are just about to bloom. The halo that surrounds Her head is in the form of the sun itself, albeit a solid grey colour that gives off rays of pristine light. From the colour of the moors behind Her, it seems that the sun may have set and the twilight is making way for the dusk. Zoom in on the Devi's face, wherein lies the beauty of the whole composition. A ferocious composure of countenance characterises that beauteous face, with the large bloodshot eyes and the awe-inspiring fangs that emerge from betwixt Her luscious lips. A third eye is to be found on Her vibhuti-smeared brow, on which sits a sliver of the silver moon.

The Splendour Of The Chariot-borne Soorya
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The Splendour Of The Chariot-borne Soorya
Lord Soorya is revered as the prime source of life and nourishment by the peoples of the subcontinent. His many names include Vivasvat (Sanskrit word for 'brilliant'), Savitra ('nourisher'), and Lokachakshu ('eye of the realm'). Lore has it that He rides a chariot as brilliant as He is, drawn by no less than seven horses, across the skies each day in His bid to overpower the demons of darkness. He is one of the highest-order deities of Hinduism, and a lesser-known deity in Buddhism. This sculpture of the highly venerated Deva depicts Him with His usual two hands, seated in padmasana in His chariot. In each of His hands is a lotus, an image of the sun itself constituting the halo behind His towering crown. Seated before the ornately engraved compartment of the chariot, with the reins of all the seven horses in His hands, is Aruna, the charioteer of Soorya.

Born to Kashyapa (a Vedic rishee) and Aditi (who is the heavenly mother-figure), He is sung about in the Rigveda. Samja, the daughter of Vishvakarma, is His wife, and He is the father of Manu, Yama, and Yami. It is from fragments of His superb glamour that the signature weapons of the other devas (the trishool of Shiva, the discus of Vishnu, and the lance of Karttikeya) have been fashioned. Understandably, He is the chief of the lords of the respective planets in the solar system. Having been somewhat replaced by the Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva trinity in terms of importance, He is the chosen deity of worship during new-year festivities in Nepal and in the South. This sculpture of the chariot-borne Soorya is replete with the splendour expounded poetically in the oldest of the Vedas.

Mahavidya Matangi
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Mahavidya Matangi
The Goddess Matangi is a blend of the serene and the fierce from the Hindu pantheon of goddesses. She is the shyaam-rang (dark-complexioned) form of the Goddess Saraswati Herself, Who manifested herself as the daughter of the chandala, Rishi Matang. This was because of his intense aspiration to Brahminhood through the acquisition of knowledge (Saraswati is the goddess of learning). Mahavidya Matangi (of great learning) wields in her four hands the sickle indicative of her ferocity, a kapala symbolic of her association with cremation grounds (chandalas have traditionally been responsible for the rituals following death), and a slender veena that likens Her to Saraswati. In other words, Mahavidya Matangi is the Tantric form of Saraswati.

In this one-of-a-kind watercolour, She sits atop a delicate pink lotus in full bloom, Her tender foot rested on a lotuspad. Her figure is full and broad, adorned with ample golds and pearls and jewels. From beneath Her elaborate ruby- and emerald-studded gold crown emerges a sea of superbly curly, frizzy black tresses that seemingly have a life of their own. Note the glow of the third eye that suffuses the Devi's even temple.

Undulating hills, their verdant coat set off by the grace of the twilight sun, constitute the background, together with a couple of temple-like structures to the left of the painting.

Sarasvati Plays On Her Veena And Dances
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Sarasvati Plays On Her Veena And Dances
Of all the Sarasvati murties that have been made in India, this superbly elegant cocoa-finish sculpture is a rare example of Her iconography. She is widely revered as the Devi of learning and the arts, venerated especially by students, lovers of books, and performing artistes across the subcontinent. Wife to Brahma Himself who is responsible for creation of the world, the knowledge that She presides over is a prerequisite to the process He presides over. She is never idolised without the musical instrument of Her choice, the veena that She strums on to produce divine music. In this unusual sculpture of the Devi, She is portrayed in the midst of a complex dance routine - a knee is bent with the ankle raised midway through the length of the other leg, which is in turn balanced on the toes.

Made from the popular medium of brass but with features as beauteous as if they were sculpted from bronze, the rest of the Sarasvati iconography is intact. She has the lithe form of a classical dancer, Her limbs bent in the most gracious of natya motions. An ornate crown as tall and slender as She is rests on Her brow. A dhoti of super-fine silk is draped navel downwards, while Her torso as well as arms and ankles are laden with layers of shringar fit for a heavenly deity. Apart from the veena in Her anterior hands, She holds a pothi and a rosary in the posterior hands. The sashes emerging from Her lotus-petalled halo spread about Her shoulders, while the ones descending from Her waist add balance to the composition. She is placed on a pedestal that has four layers featuring lotus petal engravings (alternate layers) and pistil-shaped carving (the topmost).

Kutch Artisan At Work
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Kutch Artisan At Work
Located in the landlocked western recesses of the subcontinent, the Kutch region of Gujarat is home to lively folk fashion and vibrant aesthetics, both of which are characteristic of the local style of embroidery. It is the most notable of Indian embroideries, a Geographical Indication of the place it comes from. Note the embroidery the artisan holds in her hands. Striking foundation colour, silver sequins, and abundant florals. These are atypical, and could be observed on the artisan's ghagra as well, what with the mirrors glimmering in the pale light that surrounds her. The rest of her outfit are a good picture of what Kutch fashion is all about - brightly coloured gold-sequined choli, luscious dupatta, and lots of chunky silver jewellery.

She sits on the floor in the fullness of her own company, probably putting together the bestu varas gifts for her mother- and sisters-in-law. The just-right afternoon light illuminates her workroom. On the rustic straw mat she is sitting on are her sewing supplies spread about her. Her legs are crossed, with one knee raised to support her wrists as the fingers motion dexterously through the embroidery. Zoom in on her hands to admire the lifelike beauty of her long, artisan fingers. She eyes her work with love, pleased with the way the embroidery is turning out. Her lashes are lowered in the direction of her hands, their sublime thickness setting off the beauty of her long nose and full mouth.

Ganga Aarati In One's Solitude At Dashashvamedh
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Ganga Aarati In One's Solitude At Dashashvamedh
Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India, home to no less than 2,000 temples of Hindu culture and tradition. The ghats and mandirs in this city provide ample opportunity to spiritually cleanse oneself, so strong is the presence in the city of all that is holy. Its patron deity is Kashi Vishvanath, whose temple is the biggest of all the ones located along the banks of the Ganga that flows through Varanasi. It attracts numerous pilgrims throughout the year, and houses one of the twelve jyotirlingas in the subcontinent. He is a manifestation of the Lord Shiva. The surrounding ghat, the Dashashvamedha Ghat, has its own legends. The name comes from the ten (das) horses sacrificed by Brahma in the Ashvamedha yajna that He performed here, having built the ghat to welcome Shiva to ihaloka (this realm). It is the largest and the liveliest of the ghat of Varanasi - with the fall of dusk, it comes alive with numberless aratis that are conducted by local priests in honour of the sacred river. This painting is aglow with one such aarati, the goblet being majestically swung by a priest at a relatively quiet spot on the Dashashvamedh Ghat.

The priest is in traditional saffron and ivory clothing. The sindoori rug he stands on is strewn with petals from the flowers of offerings he has made to the mother of all rivers. On a raised platform are arranged the stuff of traditional Hindu offering and aarati - a conch, a handheld bell, a bunch of fresh moist marigolds, and some libation contained in a jar. More lamps are placed at the side, from the earthen diyas to the traditional Indian lampstick and the crackling dhunuchi letting out the auspicious smoke. Note how naturalistic is the portrayal of the flames dancing in the winds brought forth from the Ganga. A number of rickety wooden boats are parked near where the dhoti-clad priest stands offering his arati, which one could make out against the inky blue of the Ganga by zooming in. The same is separated from the all-encompassing darkness of the nightsky by a film of black paint that constitutes the Varanasi cityline.

Haloed Standing Lakshmi Blesses You With A Steady Stream Of Plenty
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Haloed Standing Lakshmi Blesses You With A Steady Stream Of Plenty
The tall, beauteous, and stately Lakshmiji blesses the devotee with plenty. The wife of none other than the great Vishnu, She presides over wealth which is the necessary means to His function of preserving creation through destruction. She has been given the resplendent finish of pale gold, Her saree draped in modern-day urban North Indian style. On Her head sits a skillfully carved crown, from underneath the fitted rim of which emerges a sea of gorgeous tresses spread about Her shoulders. Note how superb the detailing of this cascade is at the back of the statue by zooming in on the length. Her heavenly shringar comprises of necklaces, kamarband, bangles, danglers, and anklets covered by the hem of Her saree. The necklace of coins reaches down to the pleats of the saree. It comprises of 108 coins, for the 108 names of the deity that dons them. The unusual countenance of the deity - the large eyes, the classically handsome nose, the full lips, and the lifelike composure - and the flawless sculpture of the hands are the marks of a fine artisan.

While the lotuses in Her posterior arms and the anterior palm opened outward in blessing are typical of Lakshmi iconography, what sets this portrayal apart is the amrit kalash that She supports at the waist. Myth has it that She was born of the nectar of immortality produced during the all-important samudra manthan episode of the Bhagavata Purana. From the hand that blesses emerges a steady stream of coins that gathers in the ornate, spacious patra at Her feet. To see the patra so full, all heaped up, almost overflowing with wealth is enough to inspire the onlooker with devotion to Her. She stands on a freshly bloomed lotus, the layered petals of which are as tender as Her feet.

Standing Saraswati, Music Flowing From Her Veena
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Standing Saraswati, Music Flowing From Her Veena
The celebration of all things fluid, the word 'Saraswati' in Sanskrit means '(feminine) one who flows', like a river. The Vedic concept of reality is indeed riverine: all nature is in flux, and in the ephemeral lies the essential. Hence Saraswati is the deity that presides over life itself, the very picture of its aspects that are characterised by fluidity. Language comes to mind; so do song and music and dance. In due course of time, Saraswati began to be associated with learning and the arts. She is the devi of wisdom and scientific temper, mother of the Vedas (Vedamata), mistress of music (the performing arts), and the muse of poets and painters.

In this luxuriantly inlaid brass statue, the devi's celestial form has been portrayed with considerable precision. She is standing on an inverted lotus pedestal, which is typical of iconography of the east, but the richly coloured inlay of each petal and the complex work along the rim of the base render this one-of-a-kind. The intricacies of Her raiment are indicated by variation in the inlay. Her shringar is replete with generous proportions of gold - emerging from Her lobes, across Her gracious torso, dangling on Her arms and wrists and delicate ankles. Indeed She is the wife of Brahma Himself: Her realm (knowledge) is the precursor to His creative prowess. She strums with Her lovely hands an exquisite veena.

Her silvery fair complexion is highly characteristic of Her. She exudes a halo that shines behind Her shy tresses bunched up behind Her head. A towering crown, its sumptuous inlaid beauty in keeping with the rest of the murti, is balanced on top. The handsome features of Her face, Her divine brow exude superlative wisdom and bliss.