An excellent wood-piece, the statue is one of the finest examples of South Indian sculptural art, both wood-work and metal cast, as also of its decorative cult matured over centuries. Nor merely well defined sharp features – round face, lotus eyes, arched eye-brows, sharp nose, pointed chin, cute sensually modeled lips perfectly aligning to both, the chin and the nose, and rounded cheeks, or a balanced figure with perfect modeling and absolute anatomical proportions, especially in conceiving breasts, waist, gestures and entire anatomy, the statue as ingeniously discovers in colours the beauty of its various parts, ornaments, textiles, fire-arch, pedestal, besides the goddess’ body colour. Here the art of colours synthesises with three dimensional plastic art of woodcraft and creates timeless effects and an art-piece of rare beauty.
As have most divine images, this Padmavati image too has symbolic dimensions. It is a microbial representation of the universe which the fire-arch symbolises and which the great goddess pervades with her divine aura, celestial beauty and feminine grace, besides her unique splendour. The fire-arch rises from a lotus base. Lotus synthesises elements of water, earth and sky and hence stands for their unity in one form. The fire-arch represents its fuller, that is, cosmic magnification, though not beyond the goddess who pervades it. The apex of the fire-arch merges with the goddess’ crown to which it is subordinated. All forms of Lakshmi are auspicious and bring prosperity, success, growth, good health, abundance and fertility, but her form as Padmavati is considered dually auspicious, as the lotus – symbol of creativity, multiplication and purity, more emphatically associated with this form multiplies its divinity.
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.