In visual arts a woman adorning her before a mirror or with a mirror in hand, or just holding a mirror, has been identified as Madhya-nayika, one skilled in attracting her lover by her well made-up beauty. Sculptures of women with mirrors in their hands, obviously illustrating the timeless classical tradition of Nayika-bheda, are all times masterpieces and great attraction for viewers at temple-sites like the globally known Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, Konark in Orissa and many minor sites like Bhoramadeva in Chhattisgarh, Sohania in Madhya Pradesh among others. Not merely a theme from old classical tradition, the modeling of the figure, revealing great ethnicity, has otherwise too medieval character and flavour of bygone days. She looks more like a loving creature from the world of myths where for gods’ errand such beauties used to descend on the earth from the land of gods and seduced and corrupted holy beings.
An example of timeless feminine beauty this brilliant masterpiece has been rendered using finest kind of brass capable not only of revealing fine details but also the figure’s mind. As suggests her lavish jewellery covering her figure from head to toe, the represented lady might be a courtesan or a rich woman aspiring to please her lover and win her love. The craftsman has conceived her figure with good height and in pursuance of classical standards for modeling its every part, the anatomy and iconography. As have prescribed these texts and traditions, he has conceived her figure with broad hips, subdued belly with folded and recessed navel, sensuously modeled breasts swelled to exceed the nose-line, slender long arms with fine long fingers, shoulders being as wide her hips, an elegantly moulded neck with mild folds, round face and broad forehead. As much sensuously has been conceived her iconography. The figure has been conceived with mesmerizing eyes, large and pulsating with life, a rare thing not seen in metal or stone statues of any period. They are contained within the partially slanting eyelids under elegantly trimmed eyebrows. Her alluringly swelled and a lotus-bud like glowing cheeks, well aligned protruding chin, and sharp pointed nose create in their centre a subdued zone which the figure’s sensuously tempting and excellently modeled lips occupy.
The statue proper has under it an elevated three-tiered pedestal consisting of diversely designed mouldings and lotus-courses. It has a hexagonal base consisting of three courses of variously designed mouldings that on the bottom, plain one, above it, fluted and elegantly chamfered, and on the top of this base-structure, a thin plain moulding. Other two tiers, middle and upper ones, are perfect circles. The middle one consists of a beautifully trimmed circular moulding which houses on it a large inverted lotus. This lotus moulding has in its centre an elevated circular platform. The image of the Nayika has been installed on it. The statue has been exquisitely ornamented using a wide range of jewellery adorning every part of the figure : hair, ears, neck, shoulders, breasts, arms, wrists, belly, waist, feet … Though her ensemble consists of just an ‘antariya’ and a ‘stana-pata’ – breasts-band, beautifully adorned they reveal rare magnificence and beauty.
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.