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Paintings > Hindu > Ganapati Worship
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Ganapati Worship

Ganapati Worship

Ganapati Worship

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Water Color On Paper
Artist: Navneet Parikh

9.5" x 12.0"
Item Code:
HD19
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Viewed 12325 times since 10th May, 2016
The painting, rendered with iconographic accuracy of Mughal miniatures, physiognomic grace of Rajput art, and elegance and softness of Pahari art, portrays a princess with attendants performing worship at a shrine of the elephant-headed Ganapati, the god of auspiciousness and detriment-free beginning. The Ganapati image is enshrined in a small marble temple with an arched opening and conical superstructure, which consists of similar conical towers, one stepping over the other in a graded rise. On the right and the left of the Ganapati shrine are subordinate building-structures, and on its back on the right a well, an essential element of the temple architecture. Close to the well is a huge 'Saptaparni' tree. The main shrine, as also the central tower of the building on the left, have multi-coloured flags. The main shrine has in the middle of its superstructure the divine syllable 'Aum' and on side pillars the auspicious 'Swastikas'. The shrine with subordinate structures is located on an isolated spot around a hilly terrain.

The four-armed Lord Ganapati is seated on a 'chowki' and has under his feet a gold-framed blue velvet cushion. In the centre, before the Ganapati image, lies a golden lamp and on sides, a stand for 'agarbattis' – incense-sticks, and a 'Purnaghata'– auspicious pot with coconut. Mahaganapati-like red-complexioned deity is in 'Lalitasana', posture that abounds in exceptional aesthetic beauty. This form also combines the Lakshmi-Ganapati form of Ganesh, though like Lakshmi-Ganapati he does not have Lakshmi on his thigh. He has, however, in one of his hands a lotus, which is the most characteristic representation of Lakshmi. In another hand, he carries an axe; in still other, a tray of 'laddus' – ball-like shaped sweet; and, the fourth is held in 'Abhaya'– gesture imparting fearlessness. With his trunk he has already picked up a 'laddu' from the tray. He is single-tusked, as one of his tusks is broken. Besides a 'tripunda' – the Shaivite holy mark consisting of three parallel horizontal lines, he also has the 'Trinetra' – third eye. The auspicious Lord has around his face a golden halo with sun-like rays radiating. The central part of his trunk is covered with gold. He is wearing a yellow 'dhoti' – unstitched garment worn below the waist-part, and a gold-embroidered green sheet, or long sash, upon his shoulders. He is wearing all over his person lavish jewellery comprising precious stones – diamonds, rubies, emeralds, pearls and others.

The painting is unique in its iconographic vision. Of the five female figures four are attending maids and one their mistress. Their distinction reveals not only in their relative positions – one performing worship and others carrying necessary ritual material for her, but also in their facial features and costumes. Despite the colour difference, the style of costumes is similar in all the five figures. However, the artist has so rendered the costume of the lady performing worship by ringing a bell that it looks richer in quality and as more elegantly worn. Except when portraying a known likeness, miniaturists usually rendered stereotype faces with similar features. The artist of this piece has, however, succeeded in distinguishing at least the mistress and the maids. All faces are in profile, but the figure of the princess has been so modelled that not only her long and thick hair gains prominence but also reveals greater grace in her posture. Each of the damsels is a beauty without match, but their mistress has been cast with a difference. Her features are sharper and skin glows like gold and has at the same time marble's softness.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.

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