The Rishi Chyavana has been exalted in the Brahmanas, where the first mention of this sage is found. His stories abound in the Bhagavata Purana, the Padma Purana, and the Mahabharata. Apart from his severe austerities, he is known most widely for how his wife, Sukanya, wrested for him the boon of restored youth. In this watercolour he is shown sitting amidst the wilderness on verge of dusk, engaged in his worship of Devi Lakshmi's tatnric roopa. From each of the trees and foliage that populate the forest, to the moors and the clouds in the background, each aspect of this complex painting has been finished with great skill and attention to detail.
The endemic Bengali drawloom is the only one in the subcontinent to have the requisite mechanism for the multi-weft and multi-warp weave characteristic of figured silks, which explains the price and exquisteness of these sarees. Having traditionally been worn by the regional brides during their all-important wedding rituals and on the gorgeous autumnal Durgapuja festival, this relatively simple number stands out from the rest of the Balucharies in our collection. It is because of the prominence of the foundation green, what with the zariwork spaced out across the field. Teamed with your statement gold hand-me-downs, this is the perfect saree to wear on those post-wedding trips to the in-laws'.
Indeed, no other deity of the Hindu pantheon could have made a better scribe for the greatest epic known to humankind. While His appearance is not on par with the characteristic handsomeness of Indian deities, it is His adorably boyish form that devotees love. His pot belly gives away His undying love of laddoos (He is holding one at the tip of His trunk). His chubby limbs are every ready to break into dance or to be raised in blessing. The innocent elephant-head stands for all the gentleness and wisdom associated with the mortal animal. This one-of-a-kind wood-cut sculpture of the Lord depicts Him in the midst of a walk along divine pathways, with a kamandalu in one anterior hand and an ornate parasol in the other. Lotuses about to bloom are in His posterior hands. His befitting silks and shringar are matched by the glamour of the Kirtimukha aureole that frames the composition and the grandeur of the pedestal on which the same is placed.
The Devi is flanked by dharm and adharm. To Her right are Indradeva and young siddha. While Indra is a heavenly being in His vibrant red silk and pearly shringar, and the thousand eyes that grace His body; the siddha is the perfect mortal and dressed like one. To the left of Bhadrakali is an asura, whose tribe is at perpetual war with the devas. He is big and boorish; and while His adornments are no match for Indra, He is as much of the immortal realm as He is. All three stand before Bhadrakali with their palms joined in namaskaram, supplicating to Her because She is all-powerful and lords over the dharmic cycle itself. Note how the shades of Her halo blend with the moors painted in the background of the painting.
This saree is the colour of dense marigold petals, which shimmers from the pure silk it is made from. It is a solid colour, but for the long, tapering templetop motifs of the border jutting into the field. From everyday Tamil sarees to the one-of-a-kind Paithani numbers, the templetop-bordered saree is a traditional motif that never goes out of fashion in India, which means you cannot go wrong with this purchase. Teamed with some statement hand-me-down jewellery, this saree would look as good at poojas and havans as it would on weddings and parties.
She sits draped in thick garlands on a solid gold throne, over which lies the train of Her red silk saree. It is studded with pearls and emeralds like the ones on the chunky gold pieces adorning Her lobes and torso and limbs. From beneath the generously inlaid crown emerge the black ringlets of Her much-sung-about mane. In Her four hands are the symbols of life and plenty. Colourful flowers are strewn on the floors beneath Her throne. A plethora of pooja samagri has been strategically placed on the foreground: a basket of fresh fruits, a tall curvaceous diya, and a kalash.
The artist's skill could be deduced from the richly coloured background of the painting. Steady brushstrokes, layered one after the other, convey the powerful glow of Her gigantic halo. The red core emanating a circle of yellow light that gradually emerges into a dusky blue, gives the viewer an impression of the setting sun.
The texture is to die for. Softer than butter, warmer than toast, it could be layered over your choicest evening sarees and suits to exude an inimitable traditional glam. In fact, the word for the fabric comes from the Persian 'pashm', which means 'soft'. No other part of the world has the skill to work with this wool, which itself is endemic to the Kashmir-Tibet region. A single work of pashmina such as this one takes weeks, if not months, of labour to be finished, making these shawls as desirable they are the world over.
It is crafted from bronze, an exquisite medium perfected in the artisan-dominated recesses of Southern India. While bronze-sculpting flourished under the patronage of Chola rulers centuries ago, it is Bangalore that is today the home of contemporary works in bronze. This urli has been handpicked from the best that local studios have to offer. From the legs of the urli and the frontal edge of the curve of the bowl carved with peacocks and kirtimukha, to the ornate temple-esque structure on top, the entirety of the work bears a level of detail and precision that are to be found nowhere else in the world. Lighting the panchadia (set of five lamps) that drops from the 'ceiling' of the urli would add a world of glamour to the arrangement.
The Devi's iconography is a powerful depiction of Hindu widowhood. Apart from the highly symbolic white saree that drapes Her aged figure, Her unkempt tresses and no-makeup look convey keen existential sorrow. A bunch of akshamalas on Her neck, arms, wrists, and ankles is Her only shringar. A strange sense of hungering lines Her face. The eyes are listless. Static kula in one hand, the other raised feebly in varada mudra (gesture of blessing), Dhumavati is the very image of tamaguna. However, Dhumavati also implies an alignment of widowhood (an imposition, involuntary) with sanyasa (voluntary renunciation of one's wordly obligations). The Indian widow is no longer constrained by the demands of householding; she is is free to walk the spiritual path in pursuit of moksha. She stands for adversity that serves to build character.
In this light, Dhumavati is the bestower of siddhis. She is invincible and steady in the face of misfortune. The soothing background of the painting brings out the drama of the mahavidya's presence. Gently undulating mounds painted the palest of pastel green rise against the atypical hue of the sunset. It matches the colour of the chariot in the foreground, done up in tints and shades of gold, standing on the flower-studded grass beneath. Note the divinity exuded by the contrast of the gold of the chariot roof against the dimming blue of the twilight skies.
Knotted by hand, the plethora of flowers that could be seen on this took an eye-watering number of hours on the loom. Considerable skill and labour have gone into this to reproduce the picturesque local flora onto this rug. Varying tints and shades of brown, rich deep reds, and the occasional white make for a distinctly earthy palette, while the infusion of a dense azure into the central panel makes for an eye-catching colour combination. Note the concentric panels and the curves that define them, which are highly characteristic of these famous rugs of the Orient. A miniscule strip of matching azure hemmed along the edges, and short ivory tassels along the breadth, complete the picture.
|Page 13 of 33||« ‹ Previous 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next › »|