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Sculptures > Wood > The Beautiful, Bejeweled Goddess Who Rules Over Our Hearts
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The Beautiful, Bejeweled Goddess Who Rules Over Our Hearts

The Beautiful, Bejeweled Goddess Who Rules Over Our Hearts

The Beautiful, Bejeweled Goddess Who Rules Over Our Hearts

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South Indian Temple Wood Carving

3 X 1.5 X 0.5 ft
19.5 kg
Item Code:
ZU93
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Viewed 4218 times since 3rd Jan, 2009
Lakshmi continues to rule the hearts of artists and patrons alike. The reasons are not too far to seek. Unlike the majority of deities, Goddess Lakshmi does not represent abstract powers or abstruse concepts, rather, she is the deity governing the material aspects of our lives, and hence the ease with which we relate to her.

She is adorned here with a towering crown known in iconographical texts as the 'Kiritamukuta.' This is literally and metaphorically the highest of all crowns. The shape is that of a rather conical cylinder, similar to a mitre, ending in a knot or point. When worn by a goddess, this signifies that she has a rank among the highest of all deities. A solar halo further frames this crown.

The long ear lobes (a sign of a superior status) are adorned with precious earrings fashioned in the shape of a flower. Such 'ear-flowers' are considered particularly auspicious since flowers, in addition to being natural erotic stimulants, by virtue of their association with Kama, the god of love, are also essentially a concise symbol of nature, condensing into a brief span of time the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. In addition, they also reflect gentleness, youth, spiritual perfection and artless innocence, qualities which are but the fundamental attributes of Lakshmi.

She is further bedecked in numerous ornaments which include bracelets, armlets, anklets, chokers and a long necklace which cascades down the wide chasm dividing her bosom into two symmetrical halves. Two well defined inverted lotuses cup these two founts which hold the potential to pleasurably nurture and nourish the entire human race. Slight but deft incisions mark the folds which emphasize the beauty of her midriff. A tight fitting dhoti held together by a bejewelled waistband clings to her lower limbs. The skill of the sculptor can be discerned in the masterful treatment of the folds of this drape.

The goddess has four arms which signify the four directions, denoting her omnipresence and omnipotence. Significantly the Goddess is represented with four arms only when depicted alone. When shown with her husband Vishnu, she is sculpted with two arms only. None of her hands is idle, each being engaged in making a significant statement. While the upper two firmly grip the stalks of two full-blown lotuses symbolizing her own budding youth (and by extension her powers of fertility), the other two grant the boon of fearlessness and abundance respectively.

This sculpture comes from Thammapatty (district Salem) in Tamil Nadu.


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