The classical tradition attributes to Trimukha Ganapati, besides three faces and six arms, red complexion, contemplative demeanour, golden lotus as seat, pot of nectar, rosary, and hands held in abhaya and varada. The prime posture of Trimukha Ganapati is meditative and beads counting demeanour. This image only partially adheres to these prescriptions. A red wood, except a very few such as red sandal, is a rarity. Obviously, the artist, working with wood as his medium, could not create his image with red complexion without painting the entire body of the deity in red, which would surely mar its aesthetic beauty. The artist has, however, given it a glow of red, which appears to be the reflection of red judiciously used in deity's crowns, ornaments and nails-like body parts, flora and fauna, Prabhavali, and embellishment of Mushaka.
The golden lotus, too, is absent. Though the great Lord has under him his mouse and has one of his feet planted on it, he has his seat in the space above the earth and below the sky, and in it the artist has discovered, perhaps, his unique symbolism for golden lotus. Lotus rises from the earth across water and blooms above both, that is, in the space. Does the golden lotus, different from the ordinary one, like the Golden egg Hiranyagarbha of the Rigveda, bloom in cosmic void, and Trimukha Ganapati, the triply present auspicious Lord guarding three worlds, perches on this invisible entity Golden lotus? In man, three cosmic regions correspond to senses, intellect and mind, and the auspicious guardian of three worlds is also their guardian. Further, Ganapati has been represented in Lalitasana, again symbolising the lotus-like beauty of form. The artist has as wisely used middle hands of his image, carrying broken tusk and mango, to impart abhaya and varada. Besides, the image is carrying a mace in its lower right hand. The mace used for chastising evil-doers assures further protection abhaya.
The deity figure has been adorned with usual costume and ornaments but sash, frills and girdle are exceptionally charming. Crowns are not so tall as they look. Foreheads are adorned with bindi and tripunda mark and the central trunk has carved on it the auspicious syllable AUM. The Ganapati image adheres to characteristic Andhrite iconography and over-all embellishment. Andhrite sculptures are usually placed on a high pitha comprising lotuses and carved friezes. They often have an elaborately carved Prabhavali, but unlike Orissa where it is topped by a Shrimukha, the Andhrite Prabhavali consists of flattened branches of trees, twigs, leaves, vines, and birds, usually parrots and peacocks, perching on them. The Prabhavali in this statue is far more impressive. It comprises lotuses, conventionalised creepers, flattened tree-trunks, banana buds, and squalling parrots perching on. Towards its base on left side, there is the basket of modakas, and on its opposite side, a beautiful creeper with colourful buds, flowers and stem balancing it.
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.
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