Devi Gajalakshmi | Traditional Colors With 24K Gold

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Lakshmi the great goddess who was born out of a lotus flower, and was endowed with all the qualities of a lotus- beauty, purity, newness, and abundance finds a representation in this Tanjore painting that is befitting of her status as the one who rules over all the material and spiritual wealth. Her form is sheathed in gold and reminds us of her earliest mentions in the Sri Suktam, a Rig Vedic verse whose first word describes Lakshmi as ‘Hiranya-varna’ meaning, "one whose skin is like the color of pure gold."

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Item Code: PHC506
Traditional Colors with 24 Karat Gold
Dimensions 55 inch Height X 43 inch Width X 6 inch Depth (With Frame)
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The same verse goes on to mention that as Lakshmi emerges from the depths of the Kshirsagar, as a result of the churning, she is welcomed by two celestial elephants, who sprinkle upon her water from golden pots. This appearance of Lakshmi and her consecration by the elephants also finds a mention in the Vishnu Purana, which tells us that Lakshmi was seated on a fully blossomed lotus and carried a lotus in her hand. Accompanied by Gaja (elephants) this form of the Devi is called Gaja-Lakshmi.

In this glorious representation of the goddess of wealth, we see two decorated elephants anointing her with Mangal-Kalash (auspicious pots of water, along with mango leaves which are considered purifying in Hinduism). The giant animals look tiny in front of the magnificent mother-goddess, who sits regally on a throne, supported by a Masanad (cushion) decorated with pleasing ethnic designs. Her gleaming face is highlighted by the bright red aura which is held by two Makara (mythical animals) on each side, and the bejewelled gold crown placed on her head. Her heavenly ornamentation is underlined by the artist with the use of tiny gemstones in red and white, giving her a semblance of a queen. The saree that Lakshmi is wrapped in is all gold- because what else will the bestower of divine splendour wear? The fan-shaped folds created in the front by the pleats of the saree are unbelievably exquisite. Brining the softness of fabric into the painting, the maker deserves an accolade.  Just under the pleats are the petals of Devi’s Kamalasana- lotus seat- each petal drawn with a precision that shows. 

Goddess Gajalakshmi holds a pot full of gold and her hands are raised in the gesture of fearlessness (right) and of bestowing boons (left). Another bowl carrying gold coins or asharfis can be seen near Devi’s throne, whose leg rests are shaped like two stylized birds. An intricately made floral garland with two semi-open lotuses, in the end, frames her body. The dazzling manifestation of the goddess is made even more attractive, thanks to the dexterously drawn lines and shades that immaculately bring out the beauty of Gajalakshmi’s moon-like face, supple hands, and lotus-like feet. Enclosed in an elegant wood frame, this Tanjore Gajalakshmi painting is suited for being worshipped in your home shrine. 

Gilded Elegance: Unraveling the Artistry of Tanjore Paintings

Tanjore painting is a traditional form of art in the South Indian style and was started by the inhabitants of a small town known as Thanjavur of Tamil Nadu. This gives it another name called “Thanjavur painting”. This painting draws its figures, designs, and inspiration from the time when Vedic culture was prevalent in India. Certain remarkable features of a Tanjore painting distinguish it from other paintings. Some of these are pure gold or gold foil coating on gesso work, the use of rich and vivid colors, and the inlay of cut-glass or semi-precious and precious stones. The subjects of most of the Tanjore paintings are Hindu Gods, Goddesses, and saints. The main devotional figure is portrayed in the central portion of the painting and is usually surrounded by various secondary figures.

The process of making a Tanjore painting

The classic Tanjore paintings are done on wooden planks and hence are also referred to as Palagai Padam in South India (Palagai = Wooden plank, Padam = Picture). Creating a masterpiece is never an easy task but the skilled artists of Thanjavur have been following the tradition of making timeless Tanjore paintings for decades.
The making process begins with preparing the wooden board or canvas. The size of the board depends upon the choice of the patron. The next step is to paste cardboard over the wooden board and then a cotton fabric is stretched and pasted upon it using Arabic gum.
Now that the cloth is attached to the wooden panel, a rough sketch of the motifs and figure is drawn onto the fabric. After this, a paste of chalk powder and water-soluble adhesive is evenly applied over the base and smoothed.
Thereafter, the outlines which were made or traced using a stencil are now ready to be beautified and decked with various add-ons. The usual materials for decoration are cut-glass, pearls, semi-precious and precious gems, gold leaf, and laces. 22 or 18 Karat Gold leaves and gems of varied hues are especially inlaid in areas like pillars, arches, walls, thrones, and dresses. In the final step, the rest of the painting is filled with rich and striking colors such as shades of red, blue, and green. Formerly, the artists used natural colors like vegetable and mineral dyes instead of chemical paints. The entire painting is then cleaned and refined to give a flawless finished look.
Since the making of a single piece of Tanjore painting requires a complex and elaborate process, the artists usually take at least one or two months to complete it. The use of pure gold foil and gems for beautification is a characteristic of an authentic Tanjore painting. Due to this, Tanjore paintings last for generations without getting tarnished and are much more expensive than general paintings. Though the art form has undergone various changes and technique modifications over the years, it continues to attract the hearts of art lovers.
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