The medium captures the Devi's gorgeousness to perfection. An elite medium to work with, bronze has flourished in the hands of Southern sculptors since the Pallava and especially the Chola ruling periods. Today, South India is the home of bronze where the best of contemporary examples of India's great sculptural tradition are put together. Not only does this take a significant degree of skill to work with bronze to produce something like this, but also this composition has been suffused with the artisan's personal devotion. Note the sthirsnigdha composure of countenance, the towering crown that sets off Her stature, and the beauteous angulature of Her limbs. From the vines that frame Her form to the layered lotus pedestal, it bears the hallmark of Southern workmanship.
Every square inch of this thangka comprises of the gorgeous colours and motifs that are to be found in these traditional paintings. Flowers of ethereal shapes and tints grace the religious flora. The leaves have a distinctive shape, so do the clouds and the canopies. The foreground features a series of hills and shrubbery in romantic pastels and a stream of thick Himalayan snowmelt making its way to us mortals down below. A fire-spewing dragon is at the Lord's side, a popular motif in art that belongs to this part of the world. It has a long serpentine body, a vicious set of teeth, and fire in place of brows and whiskers. It is a stark contrast to the calm exuded by the deva by its side.
The glassy, translucent water sapphires that have gone into finishing this pendant have been picked for their brilliance. Cut and faceted to maximise their natural aesthetic appeal, they have been smithed onto the gold with a great degree of skill. While these gems are regarded as a more reasonable substitute to sapphires, cordierites stand in a class all their own because of their durability and pleochroism. Watch heads turn towards your decolletage as you walk in anywhere with this pendant gently motioning against your skin.
The field of this saree is luxuriantly done up in woven images of the gorgeous Shakuntala in her garden. The rest of the story is in the pallu, as is the norm with Baluchari sarees, where she is shown with Raja Dushyant. More such figures have been woven onto the moderately thick border as well. The inky black of the foundation together with the glimmering gold of the zari in the foreground, makes for a colour combination that you cannot go wrong with. Teamed with your newest gold possessions, this silken number is as bridal as they get.
It is inimitable, owing to the degree of labour and skill poured into this work. India's bronze sculptural tradition remains unmatched in traditional art across the world, paintings having dominated most of the art of the western world. The South is the home of this tradition, which began with the patronage of the Pallava rulers and flourished under that of the Cholas. Note the lifelike coils of Sheshanaga, and the lotus that springs forth from His navel as expounded in the Mahabharata. Thus was the Lord Brahma born, who went on to project the subsequent cycle of time and existence of which we are a part. A quiet rishi of the South is seated in ardha-padmasana at the tail of Shesha. He is steeped in dhyana.
It is characterised by thick black outlines, filled in with solid colours with no shading. The painting you see on this page deviates from Madhubani colour conventions, featuring a black-and-white colour format. White spaces are minimised with finer and finer detailing in black, the pigment for which has been derived from carbon black. Despite the rustic mood of the work, Her iconography, as well as Her husband's, is replete. Her hands bear the implements of wrath, and She is naked but for the deathly skirt of severed human arms. Between Her large beauteous eyes is the tattoo of a trishool, indicating that it is to Shiva She belongs. Zoom in on any portion of the background to appreciate the time and labour that must have gone into the same.
The body of the ring is thick and embossed with bits of symmetrically cut wood arranged against the lacquered black to form a bold pattern. These chips range from a shining white to a golden yellow in colour. The surface of the ring that would be conspicuous to onlookers is superimposed with a curvaceous latticework of sterling silver. This is bound to make this ring your go-to accessory, your own personal signature that is at once assertive and feminine. This is indeed the kind of eclectic jewellery that turns heads and starts conversations wherever you go wearing this.
No other part of the world has the resources and the skill to work with pashmina. The fabric is made from the natural molt of the endemic changra goat, which is then delicately spun into yarn, dyed, and painstakingly embroidered using local techniques, which means that this single pashmina item has taken months to be finished. The kalamkari is dense and superbly precise, a hallmark of the high-quality craftsmanship and labour that have gone into this wearable work of art. Layered over your choicest Indian sarees and suits, this pashmina shawl would make an inimitable statement.
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.
They are dressed in their traditional attires and jewellery. Lots of colours and natural motifs on their fitted cholies that they've probably worn with ghagras of similar make, and brightly coloured dupattas that are either hand-me-downs from or made by their mother. They are wearing lots of silver jewellery, chunky and studded with semi-precious stones. They have no makeup on except the thick soot that lines their smouldering eyes beneath beauteous, unkempt brows. Having lived their lives out in the arid Northwest, their complexions have taken on an inimitable desert-like quality. The dark background, probably one of the mud walls of their temporary dwelling, adds to the solemnity of the composition.
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