The figure of Lord Ganesh has been rendered in soft brown-pinkish tint, the colour of yogis’ ensembles, as if he has transformed his entire being, the body and the soul, into a yogi’s form. As a matter of fact, the yoga-cult defines the very ambience that the painting portrays. The artist has discovered the image of Lord Ganesh against a gentle pale-pinkish background, almost the tint of his own body, except that it has been variously shaded for distinguishing areas for portraying the figure, and those, framing the canvas-space: the lighter around the image, and deeper, towards the border. Elegantly clad in a pinkish sheet of unstitched textile – a ‘dhoti’, the quiescent Lord Ganesh, fully absorbed within him, is seated on the ground with no couch, chowki or even a carpet under him.
The two-armed images of Lord Ganesh are rare, and far rarer are his forms sans some kind of arms, which as Commander of ‘ganas’ and as universal protector and remover of detriments were his person’s essentiality. Alike, as much significant is the absence of his crown which in the iconography of Lord Ganesh is also his helmet: an essential component of his armament, as also of his ensemble. In the painting a yogi-like prominent knot of hair alternates his crown. In Shiva’s iconography such ‘jata’ – coiffure, being designated as ‘jata-mukuta’, is itself given the status of crown : the coiffure-crown. Most of his postures, even when he is portrayed as battling against evil forces, reveal as great ease as this image but such informal, intimate moments, as he seems to have in this painting, are very rare, or perhaps singular. Not in proper ‘lalitasana’ posture, as it is defined in the tradition of divine iconography, Lord Ganesh is seated in a posture that reveals as great aesthetic beauty as reveals in ‘lalitasana’. With his right leg laid horizontally, and the left, squatting with an upwards thrust, affording the left hand a height to lay, the figure of Lord Ganesh, sprawling on the ground, reveals absolute comfort and ease, and all effortlessly.
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.