It is a complex work - curves of varying lengths, thickness, and degrees of straightness put together a picture that is simple yet eloquent. A solemn, haloed Buddha sits in poorna-padmasana on a magical lotus in a glade. One of His hand is in the vitarka mudra; an alms-bowl rests in the other. He has only fawns and peacocks of the forest for company. Delicate sprigs fill the forest floors, while the woods begin to thicken in the background. Apart from the kundalas, the Buddha has His princely shringar on, a reminder of His early life in the Shakya clan. Zooming in on His halo, one would see a rim of gorgeously symmetrical lotus petals. This Mithila painting would add to your space an ethos of the rustic and the ethereal.
The finish of the work is inimitable - a lifelike composure of countenance, the smooth musculature of Her form, and the shringar that rests against Her body. She is draped in green silks; a necklace of emeralds rests on Her torso; and hints of green are to be found in the crown that towers above Her head. In Her four hands She bears (clockwise from posterior right of the Devi) a snake-clad damru to indicate Her identity with Shiva, a trishool to indicate the three kinds of pain (adhyatmika, adibhoutika, and adidaivika), a kapala cup that She holds out as an offering to Her devotees, and a dagger to battle adharm with. Like Hindu devis usually are, She is beauteous and calm; She fulfills the needs and wants of Her devotees; and maintains the stability of the dharmic cycle by Her very presence.
It all started when the brothers fell out with each other, and in a state of mutual discord turned to discussing the age of the banyan tree (which has been painted ahead of the brothers in the direction they are taking). While the elephant remembers it as a bush from his childhood, the monkey remembers it as a mere shrub and the rabbit as a leafless sapling. However, it is the partridge that had carried its very seed in his body and planted it there, so he is the one sits above the rest of his brothers. This is the Tittira Jataka parable that the Buddha had narrated to teach his disciples that age comes above everything else. In fact, it is this arrangement that enables the partridge to reach for the fruit of the banyan tree to share with his brothers.
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.
It is no wonder that the dupatta is a relatively simple strip of silken fabric; after all, with Anarkali-style suits it is the kameez that is designed to be the showstopping element. It has a miniscule pastel-coloured trim at the hem, and a bunch of tiny white booties spaced out across the field. This Indian suit comes with signature choodidar trousers in matching gray colour. The USP of the ensemble lies in the long-sleeved, beautiful seamed bust. From its high, soft round neck emerges a strip of golden discs of varying sizes that lies in a semicircle over the bust, enclosing more of the printed gold booties.
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 exquisite wall-hanging that you see on this page features this all-important motif. The same is a fine example of Nepalese handiwork, the copper repousse having been done with great skill and labour. Zoom in on each aspect of the work to take in the sheer level of details - the adornments on the elephants and the landscape they are walking on, the series of lotus petals and gems of red and blue that frame the central motif, and ashtamangala symbols laterally arranged on either side of the same. Peacocks and a kirtimukha image are on the lower panel, while the upper one features more complex repousse. The whole composition is framed by more lotus petals that run along all four sides of the wall-hanging.
The signature patches that grace this bedspread feature the rustic style of embroidery that has been perfected locally in Kutch. Tender foliage motifs in natural colours are to be found in abundance, the same having been puntuated with miniscule silver mirrors that shimmer against the light. All these are the rage across the subcontinent, which explains how widely coveted are the dupattas, ghagras, and home decor fashioned in the region. Infuse your space with a bit of the essence of India - earthy colours, rangoli-esque motifs, and a disntinctly endemic art of embroidery - to return to each night.
She creeps up behind Her husband, who is too consumed by dhyana to notice the rustling of Her silks and the tinkling of Her shringar. She is carrying a musical instrument, which She holds with one hand and the rest of Her hands She places on each of the three eyes on each of Shiva's heads. In the midst of His dhyana, with His eyes shut out, a darkness descends upon existence. As the palms of the perplexed Parvati perspires, a blind child is born of the fluid. Whilst the universe regains its light as Parvati stops Her trick, the baby Andhaka is given away to the childless Hiranyaksha. It is Him who grows up to earn His boons from Brahma Himself and rule the lokas as Andhakasura. Against the backdrop of undulating hills, pristine temples, and roseate skies, no one seemed to have seen what was coming.
The sheer degree of skill that has gone into this work could be gauged by zooming in on the mane and the face amidst the same. Each strand of the man, the alternating black and gold streaks, and the realistic ends of each clump of hair make this a one-of-a-kind sculpture. The musculature of the face is so lifelike. The eyes convey fierce anger, and the jaws are set to make the onlooker go weak in the knees. Note the curves of the whiskers beneath the fiery nostrils of the lion. Hang up this formidable work of art to add an aura of the wild and the otherworldly in your space.
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