Exotic India's collection of brass sculptures, sourced from artisan families wherein the art of brass sculpting runs through generations, captures perfectly the ethereal beauty and grace of apsaras. These Indian nymphs are known to emerge from the fluid elements of nature, revealing the allure of their forms and their art to humans and gods alike.
The Origin and Significance of Apsaras
Originally believed to be water nymphs, Apsaras, are
celestial maidens of Indra Puri with enthralling elegance. They are exceedingly
beautiful and sensuous, thereby having the capability to lure, attract and
amuse. They were experts in dance and music and were the court entertainers of
Indra Puri -The heavenly kingdom of Lord Indra. These cosmic nymphs were the
companions of the Gandharvas, while some were created with a devoted mission to
be a reason or a cause.
The Ramayana attributes the origins of Apsaras to the
Samudramathanam or the churning of the ocean, while Manu Sastra asserts that
Apsaras were created with the seven Manus to serve as wives of the Gods and
daughters of pleasure.
They have been beautifully depicted in sculpture and
painting in India and throughout areas of South and Southeast Asia influenced
by Hinduism and Buddhism.
Apsaras are significant in Indonesian and Malay culture.
Images of Apsaras are found in several temples of ancient Java, dating from the
era of the Sailendra Dynasty to the Majapahit Empire. The Apsaras are usually
integral parts of a story in bas-relief.
In Balinese culture, the theme of Apsaras often occurs, for
example in dances such as Sanghyang Dedari and Legong. Apsaras are also often
depicted as the wives of celestial musicians in Indonesian folklores and
fairytales such as the "Story of Apsara Menaka". Since folktales are
often reflective of a country's culture, the fact that Apsaras are often
present shows that they are a prominent figure in Indonesian culture.
In Cambodia, Thailand many symbolic remnants of India’s
influence are visible in their art, culture and civilisation can be seen in the
form of stylised figures. Apsaras have been a consistent part of Hinduism, having an
insightful presence in Vedic literature. The commonality lies in the fact that
these beautiful creations were females with captivating powers and immense
dedication to their creators.
Apsaras of India
Multiple prominent Apsaras appear in their specific myths
told inside larger texts such as the Mahabharata or the Rg Veda. Some examples
of these Apsaras are Urvashi, Rambha and Tilottama.
According to the Mahabharata, Tilottama is an Apsara created
by Visvakarman. Visvakarman combined all the elements of beauty found in the
world, both animate and inanimate, to create Tilottama. Thus, Tilottama was so
beautiful that Siva spouted faces on all sides of his head so that he may
always see her and Indra grew one thousand eyes so that he may never lose sight
of her. Aside from impressing the gods, Tilottama’s beauty was created to
seduce the Asuras, Sunda and Upasunda. Ultimately, in this seduction,
Tilottama’s goal was to entice the two Asuras into battle. Tilottama
successfully seduces both Asuras, causing them to kill each other over her love.
Urvashi (the one born of a thigh) is an Apsara who was
created from the thigh of Lord Narayana. She became the wife of King Pururavas
who is an ancestor of the Kauravas and Pandavas. The story is that Urvasi lived
with Pururava, a human king, for a while and then left him to return to her Apsara and Gandharva companions.
Rambha is known as the Queen of the Apsaras. Her
accomplishments in the arts of dancing, music, and beauty were unrivalled. She
was often asked by the king of the Devas, Indra to break the Tapasya of sages
so that the purity of their penance is tested against temptation, and also that
the order of the three worlds remains undisturbed by any one man’s mystical
powers. When she tried to disturb the penance of Rishi Vishwamitra (who was meditating
to become a Brahmarishi), she is cursed by him to become a rock for 10,000
years till a Brahmin delivers her from the curse.
Exotic India has a wide variety of alluring statues of
Apsaras made of Brass. With divine accomplishments in music and performing
arts, these apsaras come in a great variety of sizes and postures and tempers,
each meant to add to your home or office an otherworldly aura of seduction.
does Apsara look like?
Although nobody has
ever seen an Apsara, from the description in the Puranas and also
from the sculptures,
we can imagine what they look like. These celestial nymphs
have been extremely beautiful having curvy bodies. They had big eyes, fair
skin, long hair, high hips & deep breasts. They were fully decorated with
golden ornaments and lockets and were dressed in fine and attractive clothing.
used to move attractively so as to seduce others.
are Apsaras shown in Khmer art?
An Apsara is a heavenly
dancer and celestial maiden who accompany the gods in Hindu mythology. The Apsara dance
is a traditional dance of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Khmer is based on the famous
Angkorian-period Khmer King, Javayarman VII (12th century). The Apsara is a
dance that depicts epic stories engraved on the walls of ancient temples. The Apsara
figures are carved in the temples at Angkor Wat waving flowers in dancing poses
or facing temple custodians (Devatas). In addition to the Apsara's hypnotic
movements are their gorgeous and elaborate costumes, fashioned after the
bas-relief carvings of Angkor Wat. The most notable features are adorned with
flowing silk skirts,
flowers, and precious matching accessories.
do Apsaras wear?
The costumes of the Apsara
role are based on the devatas as depicted on a bas-relief of Angkor Wat. They
wear a sampot sarabap, a type of silk brocade that is intricately pleated in
the front. As per some religious Hindu books,
they used to wear only a blouse on their upper body exposing their stomach, and
a well-pleated dazzling
saree-like cloth from the waist downwards. They have also been bejeweled
with so many attractive golden
ornaments with matching accessories.
do the statues of the Apsaras display?
Statues depicting Apsaras as
the most charming, young, and beautiful dancers possessing all the nine kinds
of emotions or Rasas described in early literature such as the Natya sastra
bursting with Shringar Rasa. The Nati, i.e; the performer poses and has a
serene look which makes her graceful. The focused gaze draws attention to an
action, a place, or part of her curvy body. An aesthetic expression is a form
of pleasure. Some of the Idols showing
Apsaras are applying collyrium and kajal in their lotus-shaped eyes, and arched
brows and are adorned with bright clothes and gorgeous jewelry admiring herself
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