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Sculptures > Wood > Vina-Vadini Saraswati
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Vina-Vadini Saraswati

Vina-Vadini Saraswati

Vina-Vadini Saraswati

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South Indian Temple Wood Carving
Artist: P. Sengottuvel

55" X 14.5" X 4.5"
15.2 Kg
Item Code:
EH19
Price:
$795.00   Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
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Vina-Vadini Saraswati

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Viewed 4601 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
This beautiful statue, 56 inch tall and 14 inch wide, carved out of a single piece of well-seasoned teakwood, represents Saraswati combining in her form two sets of her usual iconography identified in texts as 'Vina-vadini' and 'Kamalasana'. The statue otherwise also presents an excellent blend of various elements which evolved during the course of time in the imagery of Saraswati, and, it is partly due to such blend that the artefact becomes so unique. The goddess is represented as playing on her Vina and simultaneously in a mode of dance too. Dance and music are inseparable, but in Saraswati's form they rarely combine. She is seated and is also above a seat. She has one of her feet set on the lotus and looks as if dancing; but with the other, she appears as if seated on her vehicle swan. Scripturally, Saraswati is both, Kamalasana – lotus-seated, and Hansa-vahini – swan riding, but the two forms rarely combine in one image, but they do here in this statue. Though the medium of the statue is wood, it has iconographic precision of a bronze, more so of a Chola bronze, plasticity of marble and softness of ivory. An otherwise contemporary work of art, the statue exemplifies the stylistic maturity and the level of aestheticism of India's sculptural art of ages.

This great masterpiece of wood-art has captured the four-armed goddess of learning, arts, music, literature and drama, in a rhythmic move, a posture of dance – as if made to personify in her being 'nratya', the prime form of music and drama, which comprises her very being. In two of her four hands, she carries her usual 'vina', but not as a formal iconographic feature. She is seen playing on it much like a living being. The melodious notes that emit from its strings not only make birds sing, flowers bloom and the entire ambience glow but also send her into a state of trance, and now in ecstasy her feet resort to dance, body curves, bosom swells and eyes descend deep within. There emerges on her enrapt face absolute bliss, contentment and quiescence. In her other two hands she is holding the 'japamala' and the book. Book is symbolic of Vedas, which Brahma, her spouse, acclaimedly wrote and is an essential feature of his iconography. So is 'japamala'. These attributes, Saraswati shares from Brahma's iconography.

The statue comprises a 'pitha' consisting of a conventionalised lotus of moderate height, the deity image with a lotus base, and a fire-arch – 'Prabha'. From the 'pitha' rises a lotus, large enough to support the deity image. A tough stem carries the flower on it. Flanking on either side are two devotee-figures engaged in ecstatic dance. Each one has in one of her hands a lotus and the other is held in a gesture of dance. 'Puranas' have conceived Saraswati with different body colours but the artist preferred instead, wood's purity. Rather than as a deity, he conceived his image of the goddess as a woman with timeless vigorous youth and unmatched beauty, something that bursts from the glow of her face and rising breasts. Some of the 'Puranas' invoke Saraswati as the deity with 'paripurna' and 'unnata stana'– breasts, large, high and full of milk, that is, as the sustainer of life. This Puranic perception might have influenced the artist in modelling deity's breasts. Though elaborately bejewelled, the upper part of her body, above her waist, has no costume. She is wearing a large towering crown and has behind her head a celestial halo. The fire-arch consists of conventionalised creeper with beautiful leaves and a parrot-couple perching. It defines the ambience around the goddess and imparts to the statue exceptional beauty.

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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