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Sculptures > Wood > The Patron Deity of Dance, Music and Wisdom
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The Patron Deity of Dance, Music and Wisdom

The Patron Deity of Dance, Music and Wisdom

The Patron Deity of Dance, Music and Wisdom

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South Indian Temple Wood Carving

6.0 ft X 2.0 ft X 0.6 ft
49.3 Kg
Item Code:
ZU18
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Balancing a vina across her frame diagonally, its lotus-like dome resting on her right thigh, the two primary arms of Goddess Saraswati are engaged in extracting rhythms from this instrument. The end of the vina far from the dome has been deftly carved out in the form of a peacock's head. The complete body of the instrument is skilfully decorated in arabesque patterns.

The two remaining arms of the goddess hold a rosary and book respectively. The book of course reminds us of the fact that Saraswati is the patron goddess of wisdom and knowledge.The repetition of sacred formulae on the rosary symbolizes the power of concentration, which helps us focus our thoughts and efforts helping us achieve our objectives.

Goddess Saraswati here is wearing a 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.

Her nose is sharp and pointed and two sensuous lips purse in a slight smile above the prominent chin. But it is the eyes that grant the self-absorbed character to the facial expression. It is as if the goddess is revelling in her self-play, manifested here in the music she is creating and the dance she is performing. The vase-like neck is adorned with an elaborate choker, extending to her two shoulders. Meanwhile, a longer necklace waterfalls down the wide chasm between her breasts, ending up on the vina.

An incised dhoti clings to her lithe lower limbs. Several bejewelled bands enfold her waist and rich tassels can be seen hanging down her middle. The right leg is lifted and folded at the knee. The left is slightly curved, but planted firmly on the three-tiered lotus pedestal which supports her frame. A peacock prances under the lifted leg.

A dense, flowering vine dominates the upper portion of the panel. Parrots can be seen twittering amongst the foliage. Two smaller, voluptuously endowed attendants, gyrate in rhythm to the goddess' tune on either side of the lotus pedestal.


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