According to the Shilpaprakasha- “As a Vaasa
(home) and Kreeda (playfulness) is incomplete without the presence of a young
woman, so is art without the imagery of the feminine, fruitless and devoid of
belief, the ancient Indian temple compounds were replete with the images of
youthful women, known collectively as “Alasya Kanya”- women in leisurely moods.
The numbers of Alasya Kanya are 16 or 32 or even more, but the essence of these
stunning female icons is one- the artistic exaltation of fertility and
auspiciousness possessed by women. In this large wooden lady with an umbrella,
the Alasya Kanya that we see is “Vinyasa Kanya” or “the well-groomed lady”,
adorned with all the Lakshana (attributes) and Aabhushana (ornaments) that make
her the epitome of beauty and feminine refinement.
The wooden statue of Vinyasa Kanya stands on a rectangular platform marked by incised lines that
represent the petals of a lotus. A splendid aureole made from flowing vines
that houses chirpy birds and lively animals forms the aura of the groomed lady.
Flowering vines in Hindu tradition symbolize the origination of life,
fertility, and abundance in life, and are used from ancient times by artists to
highlight these virtues in their art. The skill of the woodworker has to be
appreciated for giving the creepers a supple and blooming effect in the solid
medium of wood. The parrot or Shuka pairs that surround the Vinyasa Kanya are
symbols of love, passion, and liveliness in Hindu culture, whose vibrant
presence in the wooden idol give it a beautiful appearance. On the right side
of the elite lady are a parrot and a monkey, playing childishly with each
other. Infused with the exquisiteness of nature’s scenic beauty, the aura of
this wooden lady with an umbrella is artistically rich in motifs and meanings.
physique of the lady is ornamented with minutely carved aabhushana that sit
close to her limbs, highlighting the heavenly allure of her form. Her hair is
tied in an elaborate bun, with curls beautifying her forehead. In her left
hand, the woman holds a chatari- an ancient symbol of royalty, carried only by
the elite members of the society. With her right hand, the Vinyasa Kanya
arranges the tassel of her ornament, while her face carries a sublime expression.
Near her feet are two miniature female figures- one holding a lotus in her hand
and the other striking a dancing posture. They are the attendants of the lady,
who accompany her, entertaining and pleasing her senses as the well-groomed
beauty moves around.
How to care for Wood Statues?
Wood is extensively used in sculpting especially in countries like China, Germany, and Japan. One feature that makes the wood extremely suitable for making statues and sculptures is that it is light and can take very fine detail. It is easier for artists to work with wood than with other materials such as metal or stone. Both hardwoods, as well as softwood, are used for making sculptures. Wood is mainly used for indoor sculptures because it is not as durable as stone. Changes in weather cause wooden sculptures to split or be attacked by insects or fungus. The principal woods for making sculptures and statues are cedar, pine, walnut, oak, and mahogany. The most common technique that sculptors use to make sculptures out of wood is carving with a chisel and a mallet. Since wooden statues are prone to damage, fire, and rot, they require proper care and maintenance.
It is extremely important to preserve and protect wooden sculptures with proper care. A little carelessness and negligence can lead to their decay, resulting in losing all their beauty and strength. Therefore, a regular clean-up of the sculptures is a must to prolong their age and to maintain their shine and luster.
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