Lord Ganesha has been conceived in tradition quite differently and not only as musician - the dancer and the drummer, but also as the pioneer scribe who transcribed Brahma's Vedas, the first sportsman, teacher and Brahmana. As dancer he danced to all moods and in all modes, with slow pace and violently but not for violence as violence was never the part of the auspicious Lord. He danced for auspices and to delight, pleasing all and injuring none, in devotion as well to his devotees. He played on all instruments - all kinds of drums, lyres and flutes. The versatile Ganesha is believed to have been the first to compose sound to various 'ragas' and other musical discipline, writing the ever first treatise on music and the earliest linguistics specifying sound as vowels and consonants and other linguistic formations.
It is for such reasons that Lord Ganesha has in people's mind thousands of forms representing him in as many moods and aspects. He carries with him a battle-axe but his face rarely carries on it a wrathful demeanour. In folk tradition he has been widely depicted in gentle moods and as engaged in aesthetic and intellectual pursuits - dancing, drumming, reciting the poetry of the Ramayana, reading out Vedas or other holy texts, sporting or performing a ritual.
This lively statue of the delightful Lord, carved out of a piece of fine tempered wood, represents him as the leading figure of the group of musician Ganeshas. The artist seems to have minutely studied a drummer's anatomy and translated the same into this excellent form of Ganesha. Like a well accomplished drummer Ganesha is seated holding the female drum within his inward tilted left leg and the taller one held inside the fold of the right one stretching outwardly. His pot-belly, almost penetrating in between the recesses of the two instruments, provides to them gentle but solid support. His entire figure is inclined to left, a reflection of inward energy coiling leftward for its better concentration on the female drum which needs incessant, more forceful, strenuous and louder beats. Deeper wrinkles on forehead, swelled trunk, eyes buried in their sockets and wings-like flanking ears define the ecstasy and strain which the delightful Lord is undergoing in the exercise.
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.
Other Sculptures in this Series:
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