This statue cast in brass but for giving copper effect except the trunk and hands – palms in particular, and of course some of his attributes and ornaments, has been anodized in bright purple. The statue is a contemporary artifact but cast with rare elegance, finish and precision, and treated sensitively it deserves to be classified with best of the medieval bronzes of any school, Chola or Pala. The Ganapati image has been cast with the same details, anatomical proportions, divine aura and classicism as were cast early bronzes. The statue represents the four-armed elephant god Lord Ganesha seated in utkut akasana, a sittingposture with both knees slightly raised forming a half quadrilateral. Utkut akasana is only a variant of ‘lalitasana’ revealing complete ease and great beauty of form. Not a formal structure consisting of variously designed mouldings he is seated on a fully blooming lotus so large that besides affording foreground space it also has space for his vehicle mouse to park, and also for storing his food – a large size ‘laddu’.
This form of Lord Ganesha closely reflects his manifestation as the four-armed and red-hued Vijay Ganapati, one of his 32 classical forms as enumerated in the known Mudgal Purana, the earliest treatise on Ganesha theme. As prescribed he is carrying in upper hands an elephant goad and noose, while in the normal left, a large ‘laddu’, an alternative to mango, and the normal right is held in ‘abhay’. Usually in normal right hand Vijaya Ganapati carries the broken tusk, the instrument with which he protects his followers. In this image he has been cast as holding it in ‘abhay’; thus, he assures protection with broken tusk or assures by the gesture of his hand, the two things are the same. Similarly, the attribute he is carrying in his upper right seems to be a blend of goad and axe, which only further strengthens the iconographic vision of Lord Ganesha as Vijaya Ganapati.
Lord Ganesh is worshipped primarily as Vighnesha – remover of obstacles, and as the god of auspicious and obstacle-free beginning. Hence, whatever his various manifestations all his forms are classed broadly under either of these two categories. Vijay Ganapati, the conqueror and the blissful Lord of victories, bestows success and assures all goals to achieve by not allowing obstacles to impede his devotee's path. The Vijay Ganapati doctrine is simple and straight : when there is no obstacle, there cannot be also a failure. Vijay Ganapati is one of Lord Ganesha’s early as well as most worshipped forms for which reason the manifestation finds a place among ‘Shodasha Ganapati Murtis’ – sixteen Ganapati images that enshrine the sixteen Ganapati cells at Shri Shankara Mandapam at Rameshvaram, a shrine of rare distinction and highly venerated world-wide from early times.
The image of Ganapati glistens dually. The copper hue yields its depth perspective, and whatever golden, its entire lustre, and the total effect. In plasticity, modeling, precision, grace and elegance and appropriate details, that is, in creating every desired effect, the artifact is simply unparalleled. Tough against every evil and obstacle, the entire figure has been cast with rare tenderness. Vijay Ganapati is single-tusked, the left tusk broken almost fully, which combines with Vijay Ganapati form also the attributes of Ekadanta Ganapati, especially his readiness for sacrificing even a body part for accomplishing his devotee's prayer. Besides the symmetrically cast ears and the facial features – thoughtful eyes, well fed cheeks and lustrous forehead, the artist showed rare ingenuity in casting the folds of his ‘antariya’ and the details of each petal of the lotus he is seated on. As sensitively are cast the details of ornaments to include the crown. There enshrines on his face a celestial calm, absolute composure and benignity and his entire figure seems to burst with energy.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.