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Books > Performing Arts > Compositions for Bharatanatyam: A Soulful Worship of the Divine
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Compositions for Bharatanatyam: A Soulful Worship of the Divine
Compositions for Bharatanatyam: A Soulful Worship of the Divine
Description

About the Book

 

Indian art as represented by its dances, sculptures, and paintings, is basically an offering to the Divine and is surcharged with spiritual fervour. This is essentially so because Indian art form have grown out of human yearnings for spiritual union with the Divine.

 

In consonance with its objective of promoting Indian culture in its multifaceted forms, besides running over half a century a full-fledged Sangit and Nartan Shikshapith as also Sugam and Bhakti Sangit classes in the Bhavan’s Headquarters in Bombay and several of its Kendras in India and abroad, the Bhavan has also published two books on Bharatanatyam: one by Smt. Mrinalini Sarabhai, entitled Sacred Dance of India and the other by Shri Mohan Khokar with the title Bharatanatyam-A Manual of Adavus.

 

This book by Smt. Anjani Arunkumar will be welcomed by all art lovers for its exhaustive treatment of the subject. A dedicated devotee of the art, Smt. Anjani Arnkumar has delved deep into the subject. Herself an accomplished dancer, musician and choreographer, Smt. Anjani was trained in the art by the late Smt. Anjali Merh who was a pupil of the legendary Smt. Rukmini Devi of Kalakshetra, Madras.

 

Smt. Anjani Arunkumar’s academic attainments are no less noteworthy. She did her Ph.D. in Indology- “Aspect of Dance in the tenth Skandha of The Bhagavata Purana” at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan under the guidance of Prof. Suresh Upadhyaya.

 

Incidentally. like Smt. Anjani, her guru in dance, Smt. Anjali Merh (Nce Hora), was also a Bhavanite-Principal of the Bhavan’s Nartan Shikshapith in ]948-50, before she joined the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.

 

Any student of dance will see that years of painstaking research has gone into the making of Smt. Anjani’s book, aesthetically blending as it does the temple oriented Bharatanatyam of the South with the Bhakti-based Hindustani Music of the North.

 

Indeed, music and dance and all art forms know no regional barriers. Far from it. They are potent unifying agencies for fostering national integration.

 

We hope that this book on Bharatanatyam by Smt. Anjani Arunkumar will evoke wide appreciation, particularly from the students and lovers of Bharatanatyam the world over.

 

About the Author

 

Anjani is a student of classical dance music since 1951. She learnt Bharatanatyam under Guru Anjali Merh- one of the senior disciples of Smt. Rukhminidevi Arundale. She also had intensive training in Hidustani Vocal Classical Music under Guru Balkrishanbua Kapileshwari-who was a disciple of the great Ustad Abdul Karim Khan the founder of Kirana Gharana. Thereafter, she learnt Nattuvagam, studies the mucisla forms used in Bharatnatyam and Karnatic Tala System from Guru Nana Kasar.

 

She did her M. A. (Music) from S.N.D.T University. She shads a deep study of the musical forms- Drupads, Dhamars, Kirtans of Haveli Sangit etc., and was thrilled to find out the hidden resources

 

Foreword

 

Shrimati Anjani Arunkumar is well-known to me as a dancer and musician. She was’ initiated in Bharatanatyam by the Late Smt. Anjali Merh who was my pupil for a very long time. She had the good fortune of seeing Smt. Anjali’s compositions, as to how she did the choreography or how she presented them in her performances. Anjani imbibed this with a keen sensitiveness.

 

A few years later, she studied the theory and structure of the musical forms which are used in Bharatanatyam from Guru Nana Kasar, who was one of the earliest recipients of Government of India Scholarship.

 

Anjani is M.A. (Hindustani Vocal-music) from S.N.D.T. University and she had also taken intensive training. under the well-known Guru the Late Balkrishnabua Kapile-shwari. She has done original work in the blending of Bharatanatyam with North Indian Music. With her experience as a dancer, musician and choreographer and with the hard work as well as involvement in the subject for more than a decade, she has written this book for which she has referred to many books and magazines which are well-known, authentic and which are written by different scholars, to have a broader perspective in the matter.

 

Her work is based on a pure and sacred sentiment as she has chosen to combine the dance and music which have temple origin.

 

Secondly, her work is also based on a broad outlook to establish the fact that music and dance know no regional barriers and that there is an inherent unity in the musical systems, whereby the dance of the South blends harmoniously with the music of the North. The South and the North UNITE strongly and thereby promote national integration.

 

The book is rightly dedicated to the students and lovers of music and dance. I am sure this book will be useful, particularly to the performing artists, who can pick up a few items from the 2nd part, do their own choreography and add to their repertoire.

 

It is a formidable task and I congratulate her for the efforts that she has made and give her my blessing for the success of her work.

 

Preface

 

It was my life’s ambition- to give my humble contribution in the service of Bharatanatyam. It is a sacred dance form which is originated from the temples. Hence it is not performed to entertain or to give pleasure to the spectators, but it is danced to give internal joy or to uplift their feelings and emotions to the sublime heights of Bhakti. Bharatanatyam is a flower, not meant for a young lady’s decoration but it is meant to be offered at the lotus feet of the Divine, to worship Him.

 

In olden days, dancing was a part of temple-worship” all· over India. It gradually disappeared from North after it was invaded by the Muslims. Although nothing remains totally stagnant, due to the influence of time, place and environment, in South however, the dance form was preserved in the best ·manner. It was then known as Dasi Attam meaning, dance of the devadasis (temple dancers).

 

It would be worthwhile pondering as to what could have been the technique of this temple dance which gradually disappeared from the North? What could have been the music, which was used for this temple dance?

 

If we travel back to the time of medieval period, when this dance was a part of temple-worship even in North, the dance technique seems to have been based on the Karanas of the Natyasastra. These Karanas are the units of dance-movements. The dance sculptures of the ptemedieval and medieval north Indian temples resemble the Karanas which are frozen on the temple walls. It can be inferred that this temple dance was Indian: It was in vogue from Kashmir to Kanyakumari During this period; Bharatanatyam, of Tamil Nadu; Kathakali, of Kerala; Manipuri, of Manipur; Kathak, of North; were totally unknown. It was just Indian Dance of the temple dancers-the devadasis. The temple music with its sacred chantings was also Indian. The two classical systems of music in India, Viz Kamatic music or South Indian Music and Hindustani music or North Indian music too, were unknown.

 

Now, once again if we trace the history of music, we come to know that Hindustani music or North Indian music gradually deviated from the older Indian music, whereas Karnatic music or South Indian music stuck on to the older Indian music, although it has never remained stagnant. In North, the deviation started with the birth of Dhrupada form. Hori-Dhamaras which have the same ganakrama, came a .little later. Before this, there was Prabandhagayana, which was used by Kavi Jayadeva in Gita Govinda. This was preceded by Chandagayana, mainly used in the temples. Chandagayana and Prabhandhagayana belong to Indian music. Just like dance, even in. the field of music, as mentioned above, South Indian music stuck on to the older Indian music, although it has never remained stagnant. Whereas in North the music is gradually deviated from older Indian Music. But this deviation was not overnight. Hence Dhrupada style is very near to the older Indian music and it is an offspring of temple music. Its technique is full of grandeur and its poetic pieces are mainly based on Bhakti towards Hindu Gods. This gives an absolute sanctity to the musical form. Mrdangam of North or pakhavaja is the temple percussion and its parentage can be traced back to the Natyasastra. In the same manner, the parentage of the Dhrupada form can be traced back to “dhruvagayana” described in Natyasastra, in connection with drama. The Dhrupada form saw its golden era, during the times of Mansingh Tomar, Swami Haridasa, Tanasena and The Astachapa (15th to 17th centuries). However, even today Dhrupada form has maintained the sanctity and grandeur, befitting to the temples. Even today Kirtanas of the great Astachapa, (eight saintly poets who sang in front of the Idol of Lord Krsna in the Pustimargiya temples of the North) are sung mainly, in Dhrupada style as a part of temple worship. This is known as ‘Haveli Sahgita.

 

In the field of literature, there was a. strong cult of Bhakti, all over India, during 12th to 18th Centuries. North was no exception. Tulasidasa, Suradasa, Mirabai, gave their contribution to Bhakti literature. This literature was mainly Geya .. (meant for singing). Hence Bhakti sangita flourished and reached Its zenith during Bhakti cult.

 

“In north India, prior to 10th or 11th century, there was a common art tradition in I the country. In fact temples continued to be built in Bundelkhand, Rajasthan and Gujarat, till about 14th or 15th century. Dance had till then continued to flourish in the precincts of temples. The dance style prevalent in North India; was akin to Bharatandtyam or Orissi-at least the sculptural evidence points towards this conclusion”?

 

Moreover, Krsna paintings of the north, during 16th century, show Ardhamandali postures. It can be said that the temple-dance existed in north, at least upto 16th century, i.e. during the Bhakticult or even later, as we see in the paintings of the North. Hence, the disappearance of the Karana-based temple dance, in the north, was later than the beginning of the birth of Dhrupadas and later than the beginning of the Bhakticult. One cannot be sure whether the temple dance of India, was performed on the Dhrupadas or Bhaktisangita of the north, but one .can certainly say that this temple dance, temple oriented, Dhrupada and Bhaktisangita in the North, were simultaneously in vogue in the medieval period, at least for a short span of a few decades.

 

No doubt Bharatanatyam is a well-developed Offspring of South India and therefore regional impact is bound to be present, but the Karanas form the most important basis of Bharatanatyam and the temple sculptures come alive in this dance form. Bharatanatyam is therefore very similar or very near to the temple dance, which was in vogue from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, during medieval period.

 

I had a strong feeling that if temple-oriented Bharatanatyam unites with Bhakti-based Hindustani music, in the form of Sanskrit stutis, Prabandhas used in Kavi Jayadeva’s Gita-Govinda, Dhrupadas, Horis in Dhamaras, Svaravalis, Pakhavaja-based Tarana-Trivatas Bhakti sangita from Hindi saintly literature, like Kirtanas of Haveli sangita, Bhajanas or devotional songs etc., the soul of the temple dance, which disappeared from the north, would surely be brought back in the present times.

 

The blending of Bharatanatyam and the above mentioned musical forms, viz., Dhrupadas, Kirtanas, Bhajanas, etc., should be so carefully made that the soul and structure of the dance-form as well as the musical forms are preserved.

 

For this purpose, it was necessary to properly understand: (a) Bharatanatyam, (b) Kamatic music, which is used in Bharatanatyam, (c) Temple-oriented and Bhakti-based Hindustani musical forms, (d) Sanskrit literature, which is used by the well-known classical dance styles, even today, (e) Saintly literature during the Bhakticult, particularly of North and South, (f) To find out the inherent unity, between Karnatic music, with its Sahitya (poetic-pieces) and above mentioned Hindustani musical forms, along with their poetic pieces (because Both, inherit the fundamental technique of Raga and Tala, from the ancient treatises). Due to this strong-unity; the framework of the temple-oriented Bharatanatyam, as well as Bhakti-based Hindustani musical forms, would be preserved. The soul and structure of Bharatanajyam ‘and Hindustani musical forms, remain intact, only because both the musical systems, viz Karnatic and Hindustani, have inherent unity and because the technique of Bharatanatyam is very much based on the Karanas of NatyaSastra as well as the older temple dance, which was in vogue from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. This would be a recreation of the temple dance, which disappeared from North, since last few centuries. The recreation of this Temple-Dance, can as well be named

as devangananrtya.

 

Contents

 

1.

Indian Dance

1

2.

Bharatanatyarn: An Art of the Temples

3

3.

Nrtta

6

4.

Abhinaya

8

5.

Music for Bharatanatyam and its Talas

14

6.

BhakticuIt in India: Its influence on Music during Medieval period

19

7.

Bhaktibased Hindustani Music and its Talas

26

8.

Dance-musical Compositions for Bharatanatyam:

32

 

A soulful worship of The Divine

 

 

Conclusion

39

 

Footnotes

40

 

Select Bibliography

44

 

Compositions for Bharatanatyam: A Soulful Worship of the Divine

Item Code:
NAG873
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2002
Language:
English
Size:
9.5 inch X 7 inch
Pages:
102 (16 pages B/W and 4 pages Color Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 430 gms
Price:
$20.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

 

Indian art as represented by its dances, sculptures, and paintings, is basically an offering to the Divine and is surcharged with spiritual fervour. This is essentially so because Indian art form have grown out of human yearnings for spiritual union with the Divine.

 

In consonance with its objective of promoting Indian culture in its multifaceted forms, besides running over half a century a full-fledged Sangit and Nartan Shikshapith as also Sugam and Bhakti Sangit classes in the Bhavan’s Headquarters in Bombay and several of its Kendras in India and abroad, the Bhavan has also published two books on Bharatanatyam: one by Smt. Mrinalini Sarabhai, entitled Sacred Dance of India and the other by Shri Mohan Khokar with the title Bharatanatyam-A Manual of Adavus.

 

This book by Smt. Anjani Arunkumar will be welcomed by all art lovers for its exhaustive treatment of the subject. A dedicated devotee of the art, Smt. Anjani Arnkumar has delved deep into the subject. Herself an accomplished dancer, musician and choreographer, Smt. Anjani was trained in the art by the late Smt. Anjali Merh who was a pupil of the legendary Smt. Rukmini Devi of Kalakshetra, Madras.

 

Smt. Anjani Arunkumar’s academic attainments are no less noteworthy. She did her Ph.D. in Indology- “Aspect of Dance in the tenth Skandha of The Bhagavata Purana” at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan under the guidance of Prof. Suresh Upadhyaya.

 

Incidentally. like Smt. Anjani, her guru in dance, Smt. Anjali Merh (Nce Hora), was also a Bhavanite-Principal of the Bhavan’s Nartan Shikshapith in ]948-50, before she joined the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.

 

Any student of dance will see that years of painstaking research has gone into the making of Smt. Anjani’s book, aesthetically blending as it does the temple oriented Bharatanatyam of the South with the Bhakti-based Hindustani Music of the North.

 

Indeed, music and dance and all art forms know no regional barriers. Far from it. They are potent unifying agencies for fostering national integration.

 

We hope that this book on Bharatanatyam by Smt. Anjani Arunkumar will evoke wide appreciation, particularly from the students and lovers of Bharatanatyam the world over.

 

About the Author

 

Anjani is a student of classical dance music since 1951. She learnt Bharatanatyam under Guru Anjali Merh- one of the senior disciples of Smt. Rukhminidevi Arundale. She also had intensive training in Hidustani Vocal Classical Music under Guru Balkrishanbua Kapileshwari-who was a disciple of the great Ustad Abdul Karim Khan the founder of Kirana Gharana. Thereafter, she learnt Nattuvagam, studies the mucisla forms used in Bharatnatyam and Karnatic Tala System from Guru Nana Kasar.

 

She did her M. A. (Music) from S.N.D.T University. She shads a deep study of the musical forms- Drupads, Dhamars, Kirtans of Haveli Sangit etc., and was thrilled to find out the hidden resources

 

Foreword

 

Shrimati Anjani Arunkumar is well-known to me as a dancer and musician. She was’ initiated in Bharatanatyam by the Late Smt. Anjali Merh who was my pupil for a very long time. She had the good fortune of seeing Smt. Anjali’s compositions, as to how she did the choreography or how she presented them in her performances. Anjani imbibed this with a keen sensitiveness.

 

A few years later, she studied the theory and structure of the musical forms which are used in Bharatanatyam from Guru Nana Kasar, who was one of the earliest recipients of Government of India Scholarship.

 

Anjani is M.A. (Hindustani Vocal-music) from S.N.D.T. University and she had also taken intensive training. under the well-known Guru the Late Balkrishnabua Kapile-shwari. She has done original work in the blending of Bharatanatyam with North Indian Music. With her experience as a dancer, musician and choreographer and with the hard work as well as involvement in the subject for more than a decade, she has written this book for which she has referred to many books and magazines which are well-known, authentic and which are written by different scholars, to have a broader perspective in the matter.

 

Her work is based on a pure and sacred sentiment as she has chosen to combine the dance and music which have temple origin.

 

Secondly, her work is also based on a broad outlook to establish the fact that music and dance know no regional barriers and that there is an inherent unity in the musical systems, whereby the dance of the South blends harmoniously with the music of the North. The South and the North UNITE strongly and thereby promote national integration.

 

The book is rightly dedicated to the students and lovers of music and dance. I am sure this book will be useful, particularly to the performing artists, who can pick up a few items from the 2nd part, do their own choreography and add to their repertoire.

 

It is a formidable task and I congratulate her for the efforts that she has made and give her my blessing for the success of her work.

 

Preface

 

It was my life’s ambition- to give my humble contribution in the service of Bharatanatyam. It is a sacred dance form which is originated from the temples. Hence it is not performed to entertain or to give pleasure to the spectators, but it is danced to give internal joy or to uplift their feelings and emotions to the sublime heights of Bhakti. Bharatanatyam is a flower, not meant for a young lady’s decoration but it is meant to be offered at the lotus feet of the Divine, to worship Him.

 

In olden days, dancing was a part of temple-worship” all· over India. It gradually disappeared from North after it was invaded by the Muslims. Although nothing remains totally stagnant, due to the influence of time, place and environment, in South however, the dance form was preserved in the best ·manner. It was then known as Dasi Attam meaning, dance of the devadasis (temple dancers).

 

It would be worthwhile pondering as to what could have been the technique of this temple dance which gradually disappeared from the North? What could have been the music, which was used for this temple dance?

 

If we travel back to the time of medieval period, when this dance was a part of temple-worship even in North, the dance technique seems to have been based on the Karanas of the Natyasastra. These Karanas are the units of dance-movements. The dance sculptures of the ptemedieval and medieval north Indian temples resemble the Karanas which are frozen on the temple walls. It can be inferred that this temple dance was Indian: It was in vogue from Kashmir to Kanyakumari During this period; Bharatanatyam, of Tamil Nadu; Kathakali, of Kerala; Manipuri, of Manipur; Kathak, of North; were totally unknown. It was just Indian Dance of the temple dancers-the devadasis. The temple music with its sacred chantings was also Indian. The two classical systems of music in India, Viz Kamatic music or South Indian Music and Hindustani music or North Indian music too, were unknown.

 

Now, once again if we trace the history of music, we come to know that Hindustani music or North Indian music gradually deviated from the older Indian music, whereas Karnatic music or South Indian music stuck on to the older Indian music, although it has never remained stagnant. In North, the deviation started with the birth of Dhrupada form. Hori-Dhamaras which have the same ganakrama, came a .little later. Before this, there was Prabandhagayana, which was used by Kavi Jayadeva in Gita Govinda. This was preceded by Chandagayana, mainly used in the temples. Chandagayana and Prabhandhagayana belong to Indian music. Just like dance, even in. the field of music, as mentioned above, South Indian music stuck on to the older Indian music, although it has never remained stagnant. Whereas in North the music is gradually deviated from older Indian Music. But this deviation was not overnight. Hence Dhrupada style is very near to the older Indian music and it is an offspring of temple music. Its technique is full of grandeur and its poetic pieces are mainly based on Bhakti towards Hindu Gods. This gives an absolute sanctity to the musical form. Mrdangam of North or pakhavaja is the temple percussion and its parentage can be traced back to the Natyasastra. In the same manner, the parentage of the Dhrupada form can be traced back to “dhruvagayana” described in Natyasastra, in connection with drama. The Dhrupada form saw its golden era, during the times of Mansingh Tomar, Swami Haridasa, Tanasena and The Astachapa (15th to 17th centuries). However, even today Dhrupada form has maintained the sanctity and grandeur, befitting to the temples. Even today Kirtanas of the great Astachapa, (eight saintly poets who sang in front of the Idol of Lord Krsna in the Pustimargiya temples of the North) are sung mainly, in Dhrupada style as a part of temple worship. This is known as ‘Haveli Sahgita.

 

In the field of literature, there was a. strong cult of Bhakti, all over India, during 12th to 18th Centuries. North was no exception. Tulasidasa, Suradasa, Mirabai, gave their contribution to Bhakti literature. This literature was mainly Geya .. (meant for singing). Hence Bhakti sangita flourished and reached Its zenith during Bhakti cult.

 

“In north India, prior to 10th or 11th century, there was a common art tradition in I the country. In fact temples continued to be built in Bundelkhand, Rajasthan and Gujarat, till about 14th or 15th century. Dance had till then continued to flourish in the precincts of temples. The dance style prevalent in North India; was akin to Bharatandtyam or Orissi-at least the sculptural evidence points towards this conclusion”?

 

Moreover, Krsna paintings of the north, during 16th century, show Ardhamandali postures. It can be said that the temple-dance existed in north, at least upto 16th century, i.e. during the Bhakticult or even later, as we see in the paintings of the North. Hence, the disappearance of the Karana-based temple dance, in the north, was later than the beginning of the birth of Dhrupadas and later than the beginning of the Bhakticult. One cannot be sure whether the temple dance of India, was performed on the Dhrupadas or Bhaktisangita of the north, but one .can certainly say that this temple dance, temple oriented, Dhrupada and Bhaktisangita in the North, were simultaneously in vogue in the medieval period, at least for a short span of a few decades.

 

No doubt Bharatanatyam is a well-developed Offspring of South India and therefore regional impact is bound to be present, but the Karanas form the most important basis of Bharatanatyam and the temple sculptures come alive in this dance form. Bharatanatyam is therefore very similar or very near to the temple dance, which was in vogue from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, during medieval period.

 

I had a strong feeling that if temple-oriented Bharatanatyam unites with Bhakti-based Hindustani music, in the form of Sanskrit stutis, Prabandhas used in Kavi Jayadeva’s Gita-Govinda, Dhrupadas, Horis in Dhamaras, Svaravalis, Pakhavaja-based Tarana-Trivatas Bhakti sangita from Hindi saintly literature, like Kirtanas of Haveli sangita, Bhajanas or devotional songs etc., the soul of the temple dance, which disappeared from the north, would surely be brought back in the present times.

 

The blending of Bharatanatyam and the above mentioned musical forms, viz., Dhrupadas, Kirtanas, Bhajanas, etc., should be so carefully made that the soul and structure of the dance-form as well as the musical forms are preserved.

 

For this purpose, it was necessary to properly understand: (a) Bharatanatyam, (b) Kamatic music, which is used in Bharatanatyam, (c) Temple-oriented and Bhakti-based Hindustani musical forms, (d) Sanskrit literature, which is used by the well-known classical dance styles, even today, (e) Saintly literature during the Bhakticult, particularly of North and South, (f) To find out the inherent unity, between Karnatic music, with its Sahitya (poetic-pieces) and above mentioned Hindustani musical forms, along with their poetic pieces (because Both, inherit the fundamental technique of Raga and Tala, from the ancient treatises). Due to this strong-unity; the framework of the temple-oriented Bharatanatyam, as well as Bhakti-based Hindustani musical forms, would be preserved. The soul and structure of Bharatanajyam ‘and Hindustani musical forms, remain intact, only because both the musical systems, viz Karnatic and Hindustani, have inherent unity and because the technique of Bharatanatyam is very much based on the Karanas of NatyaSastra as well as the older temple dance, which was in vogue from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. This would be a recreation of the temple dance, which disappeared from North, since last few centuries. The recreation of this Temple-Dance, can as well be named

as devangananrtya.

 

Contents

 

1.

Indian Dance

1

2.

Bharatanatyarn: An Art of the Temples

3

3.

Nrtta

6

4.

Abhinaya

8

5.

Music for Bharatanatyam and its Talas

14

6.

BhakticuIt in India: Its influence on Music during Medieval period

19

7.

Bhaktibased Hindustani Music and its Talas

26

8.

Dance-musical Compositions for Bharatanatyam:

32

 

A soulful worship of The Divine

 

 

Conclusion

39

 

Footnotes

40

 

Select Bibliography

44

 

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Nice package, same as in Picture very clean written and understandable, I just want to say Thank you Exotic India Jai Hind.
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I received my order today. When I opened the FedEx packet, I did not expect to find such a perfectly wrapped package. The book has arrived in pristine condition and I am very impressed by your excellent customer service. It was my pleasure doing business with you and I look forward to many more transactions with your company. Again, many thanks for your fantastic customer service! Keep up the good work.
Sherry, Canada
I received the package today... Wonderfully wrapped and packaged (beautiful statue)! Please thank all involved for everything they do! I deeply appreciate everyone's efforts!
Frances, USA
I have always been delighted with your excellent service and variety of items.
James, USA
I've been happy with prior purchases from this site!
Priya, USA
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