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Motioning In Dance, The Veenavadini Devi Sarasvati

Motioning In Dance, The Veenavadini Devi Sarasvati

She leaps into the air as Her veena exudes music. Her hips are jutted out, Her delicate anklet-adorned feet in mid-air. She is chaturbhujadhari (four-armed), one of which holds a pothi to indicate Her learning. Her silks and shringar flow about Her as She motions. She is gracious, Her form cast in superlative proportions of the feminine. This dynamic composition is of none other than the Devi Sarasvati, wife of Lord Brahma, presider over learning and the arts (which are a prerequisite to the process of creation, over which He presides). Her name means "one that flows", and indeed learning and art flow from Her like the pristine Northern river named after Her.

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.

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The Calm Figure Of Lord Indra, Next To The Fire-Spewing Dragon

The Calm Figure Of Lord Indra, Next To The Fire-Spewing Dragon

Lord Indra is the most popular Vedic deity, having thousands of hymns dedicated to Him in the Rigveda (a text dated 2,000 BC) and a large number of Pauranic stories narrating His valour. He is the supreme Aryan king, of a roopa the colour of marble, set off by a mass of jet black curls spreading about His pristine shoulders. He is seated in His characteristic ardha-padmasana amidst the lush Himalayan landscape on a mountaintop. Beneath Him is a lotus pedestal with multi-hued petals and a red-and-gold velvet back. A bejewelled gold crown with a delicate pink lotus on the brow holds His hair in place. The same is complemented by the rest of the shringar and silks that clothe His divine being.

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.

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Minimalist Gold Pendant Studded With Water Sapphires And Diamonds

Minimalist Gold Pendant Studded With Water Sapphires And Diamonds

This is a minimalistic gold pendant that you could wear with both traditional and contemporary outfits. It will tone down to former if you do not want a look that is too heavy, and glam up the latter. The central gold loop has five smaller diamond-studded loops spaced out evenly across the circumference. From these secondary loops jut out a series of pale purple cordierites set in polished gold. The whole thing is suspended from a stylised gold loop set with more diamonds, through which you could string a gold chain and wear this around your neck.

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.

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Caviar-Black Baluchari Sari from Bengal Showing the Story of Dushyant and Shakuntala and Love Gods Kamadeva and Rati

Caviar-Black Baluchari Sari from Bengal Showing the Story of Dushyant and Shakuntala and Love Gods Kamadeva and Rati

Drape yourself in a Baluchari silk to make a statement replete with history and art and devotion. Having been woven since the mid-eighteenth century, these figured silks are endemic to Bengal; the Baluchar region in Murshidabad district, to be precise. It is the only Bengali saree to be woven on the drawloom, and features a complicated multi-warp and multi-weft weave. These unique silks are often chosen by the more reserved of Bengali brides as their wedding saree (the Banarasi variety made nearby in eastern Uttar Pradesh being hands-down the more popular choice). The one you see on this page would be a great one to drape on one of the ritual evenings succeeding your phere.

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.

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Sheshashayi Vishnu, And The Birth Of Lord Brahma

Sheshashayi Vishnu, And The Birth Of Lord Brahma

The image of the Sheshashayi Vishnu induces great calm and stability in the mind of the devotee. Shesha is the name of the naga (snake) on whose coils the Lord lies in sleep, which is the Sanskrit word for 'end'; 'shayi' in Sanskrit stands for one who is lain down. It is the volatile moment between destruction and re-projection, the transitional state between two cycles of time and existence as we know it. It is a powerful image and as one looks upon it, one visualises the chaotic but amniotic ocean that surrounds Him as He dreams the world into being. He is a superbly handsome deity as captured in the select medium of bronze, this composition having been handpicked from South India for its high-precision finish.

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.

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Chaturbhujadhari Devi Kali, With The Beauteous Eyes

Chaturbhujadhari Devi Kali, With The Beauteous Eyes

Madhubani art is so called because it is endemic to Bihar's Madhubani district; the Mithila region, to be precise. Having been practised by local women, it is a form of bhitti chitra ('bhitti' means 'wall'; 'chitra', 'painting') used to decorate the home and the hearth. Understandably, the themes dominant in the folk art produced by a simple, reserved people are devotional and draw from the rich mythology of the culture. This contemporary Mithila painting is no exception. It is a rudimentary Mother Kali composition - the long-haired, long-tongued chaturbhujadhari Devi with the determined, almost fierce gaze. Her husband, the Lord Shiva, lies supine beneath Her divine feet. From the traditional mud-wall canvas, Mithila art has evolved to be done on portable canvas such as paper treated specially for the purpose in this case.

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.

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Statement Black Wooden Ring With Sterling Silver Latticework

Statement Black Wooden Ring With Sterling Silver Latticework

An unusual make of finger jewellery, this ring would be a quirky item to accessorise your outfit with. It is fashioned from wood and lacquered for a super-smooth finish. The base colour is a statement black, such that it will look good no matter the dominant colour of the rest of your ensemble. It is not only the concept of this fashionable designer ring, but also the high-precision finish of the workmanship that makes it a statement accessory. From ethnic to western and everything in between, this ring would go with almost any and every item of your wardrobe.

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.

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Mother Of Pearl Pure Pashmina Handloom Shawl from Kashmir with Kalamkari Needle Embroidery by Hand

Mother Of Pearl Pure Pashmina Handloom Shawl from Kashmir with Kalamkari Needle Embroidery by Hand

Pashmina is select. It is regal. An exquisite Indian fabric that has clothed royalty since time immemorial, the shawl you see on this page is a fine example of its aesthetic possibilities. Handpicked from the loom of the mountains, it is a particularly youthful number. The colour-palette is irresistibly feminine - vibrant blues, greens, and oranges, with a generous infusion of multiple shades and tints of pink. The result is a gorgeous image of temperate floral beauty.

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.

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Traditional Yali Temple Pillars

Traditional Yali Temple Pillars

The Yali is to Indian culture what the griffin is to Greco-Roman culture. It refers to a creature that has the features of the most powerful members of the faunal kingdom, and is yet more powerful than all of them put together. The Yalis in this one-of-a-kind wood sculpture have the mane of a lion, the teeth of a crocodile, and the musculature of a horse. An age-old symbol in the visual arts of the South, the Yali composition gained prominence during the sixteenth century. It could be found to grace temple doors and pillars across ancient temples in South India. This mythical creature is considered the guardian-protector of the temple where it is installed, usually in pairs.

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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The Solemn Banjara Sisters (Framed)

The Solemn Banjara Sisters (Framed)

There is something about the banjara's idea of life that survives despite its being counter-intuitive. A sense of home is so fundamental to our psyche that the nomadic way of life appears to us to be an impracticability, albeit a romantic one to some of us. For the banjaras, life is neither romantic nor impracticable; it is simply what it is. Their livelihood is in itinerant trade which range from gorgeous handicrafts to fortune-telling, which would barely count as survival in our books but suffices their purpose - enough for them to have lived this way for years, without desiring what lies in abundance around them. The oil painting you see on this page depicts a pair of banjara sisters. Their self-contained composures of countenance convey that these peoples tend to be reserved with us outsiders.

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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