The iconography of Lord Vishnu’s sculpture depicts him with four arms which denote his all-powerful and pervasive nature. They also symbolize four directions and his absolute power to control the reins of the entire universe. Lord Vishnu holds Shankha (Conch) in the upper left hand, Chakra (Disc) in the upper right hand and Gada (Mace) in the lower left hand while he blesses his devotees with the lower right hand. The deity is gracefully decked up with jewels and the crown on his head gives him supreme stature. His consort Goddess Lakshmi by his side showcases her energy by showering wealth from her the lower -left open hand and give blessings to her devotees by the lower right hand. She holds the bunch of lotuses in the upper right and left hand that symbolizes wisdom, implying that wealth needs the backing of wisdom to harvest good results. The splendour, radiance, and beauty of both the deities are enhanced with intricate jewels, crown, and superfine garments.
The deity Goddess Lakshmi with her husband Lord Vishnu symbolizes that wealth and prosperity should be coupled with judicious and earnest actions that give complete fulfilment to human life. Exotic India uniquely presents the deity of Supreme God Lord Vishnu and Supreme Goddess Lakshmi to create the environs of bliss, harmony, and divinity.
Made from the crushed petals of the hibiscus flowers, the organic dye has a rich red colour and is symbolic of youth and fecundity. There is a particular way of applying it - along the edges, a solid circle at the centre, at the tips of the digits - as could be gleaned from the gesture of the subject.
She has chosen a green bootidar saree for the occasion, teamed with a pink low-cut blouse. Languidly she traces her fingers dipped in alta along her soles, her minimal gold ornaments motioning in accordance with her gently tilting head. A soft lilac cushion lies next to her. Within moments she is going to finish off the alta and, whilst putting her ample tresses in a bun, wait for it to dry.
The lehenga skirt comes in a paler orange colour. It features a diamond pattern in alternating shades and tints of the same colour, superimposed rosebush motifs and vines. It is a voluminous number, one that will sway around you as you walk, turning heads from every direction. A long, luscious dupatta completes the ensemble. Its chiffon make couples well with the silken fabric of the rest of the dress, not to mention the new-age motifs of the embroidery thereon.
The Nataraja composition that you see on this page is a lifelike, skilfully finished one. The mudra of His hands convey abhaya or fearlessness (anterior right hand) and the grace of the divine gaja or elephant (anterior left hand). In His posterior hands are a damru (exuding the creative nada) and a flame of fire (the means of destruction). Crucial to the Nataraja iconography is the predominance of the naga (snake). Note the flaying snake-like locks of His hair; the ones that slither over His torso, wrists, and ankles like divine adornments; and the multi-hooded one that forms the crown on His head.
The prabhamandala (‘prabha’ is Sanskrit for ‘flame’) and the pedestal that frame the central figure, distinguish this work from your run-of-the-mill Nataraja sculptures. The three-ringed aureole does justice to the glamour of the tandava and gathers in a kirtimukha motif at the very top. Note the unusual, angular finish of the traditional lotus pedestal.
Zoom in on every aspect of the Deviroopa to take in the beauty of Her iconography. From the minute shringar of Her fingers to the layered kamarband that holds Her dhoti in place; from the gorgeous karna-kundalas that flank Her delicate neck to the tall bejewelled crown that towers over Her curly-haired head. Her face is as fresh and expressive as the two pink lotuses She holds up in Her posterior hands, an integral element of Her iconography.
So is the elephant, to the Devi Gajalakshmi. A richly adorned elephant translates to abundance and prosperity, which makes it the ideal companion to Devi Lakshmi. Its soft slate-coloured body bears a world of silks and ornaments, which are a match to His Devi’s shringar. From the large halo that forms an aureole behind Her figure to the temple-carving motifs in the background and border, this composition is a fine example of the kalamkari painting tradition.
The signature jute weave on the endpiece is a kind of fashion homage to the largest produce of the region. Zoom in on the cream-coloured panel, sandwiched by a panel of red interwoven with the foundation grey of the saree. The motis are minimalistic, done in basic unassuming pastels such as red and white. This is a great saree to wear to a pooja or a havana. Team it with some distinctive ethnic jewellery to make the most of its appeal.
Her iconography is unmistakable. Chaturbhujadhari (four-armed), with the palms of the anterior hands turned outward in blessing. Zoom in on the same to take in the beauty of the vivid vermillion-coloured mehendi tattooed against her milk-white skin. Matching red mehendi is to be found on the precisely sculpted toes of Her delicate feet. In each of Her posterior hands She holds a pink, green-stemmed lotus, picked fresh off the waters.
The gorgeous gold shringar on Her person fits Her divine queen status - streams of gold down Her torso, cinching Her waist, tinkling at Her wrists and ankles. As She stands on a simple pedestal carpeted with the soft green of a lotuspad, She looks straight ahead of Her, Her large eyes brimming with wisdom and maternal goodwill. A bejewelled gold crown on Her black hair and a halo of lotus petals complete the picture of the divine.
The thangka you see on this page is the Sadakshari Lokeshvara roopa (form/manifestation) of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Having emerged from a pristine light from within the Buddha Amitabha, the Sadakshari Lokeshvara is four-armed, the anterior pair of which is in anjali mudra (gesture of adoration). He sits in the lap of the ivory-silver moon, His long fair limbs gathered in the perfect padmasana. A leafy vine of blue lotuses floats about Him, one of which He holds in His left posterior hand.
The face of the Bodhisattva is a highly characteristic image in the thangka tradition. As fair as the clouds of the Buddhist heaven, drawn in perfect symmetry. Half-shut eyes that are brimming with compassion, the all-pervading Buddhist value. Lengthened earlobes from which dangle gold kundalas, and a five-spired crown sitting on the long black straight hair. Note the soothing element of the pastel-coloured halo of the Bodhisattva.
Zoom in on the gorgeous zariwork that peters down the bust. Gleaming sequins arranged in a pattern of florals and vines that make for an ultra-feminine look. The motifs along the ample hemline are unusual - slender temple-pillars and lamps, a statement of light and spiritual aesthetics. A delicate chiffon dupatta completes this three-piece Indian suit, which adds a bit of the fashionable to the traditional. Team this with your mother’s choicest gold and jewel hand-me-downs.
Seated under a stylized leaf aureoled Banyan tree with monkeys hopping and eating fruits and peacocks screaming melodiously at the top, Lord Dakshinamurthy settles on a heighted uniquely carved pedestal in lalitasana with right leg on the demon Apasmara as a mark of suppressing ignorance from the world.
Dakshinamurthy is an aspect of Lord Shiva as a guru or a teacher of all types of knowledge, who faces south (dakshina) at the time of teaching the ganas. Seated at his secluded spot on the Himalayas under a Banyan tree, surrounded by ganas all around and Nandi (his vahana) sits near his legs. This Chaturbhuja holds a damru with a snake coiled around and a flame in his upper hands, while the front right hand in a gesture of gyan mudra symbolizing knowledge and wisdom holds a rosary and left carries scriptures for scriptural knowledge.
He wears a rudraksha mala on his kantha along with other precious jewels adorning his body with a hole extending from one ear to the other, as he teaches through the subtlest form of speech- para vak, i.e. beyond the range of physical ear. His luxuriant hair of matted locks is ornamented with wild flowers and a snake with the mass of the jatas arranged in conical shape to resemble a crown.
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