There is an interesting legend behind the origin of Tripura-sundari. We are told that once upon a time Shiva referred to Kali by her name in front of some heavenly damsels who had come to visit, calling her "Kali, Kali" ("Blackie, Blackie"), which she took to be a slur against her dark complexion. She left Shiva and resolved to rid herself of her dark complexion, through asceticism. Later, the sage Narada visited Kailasha and, seeing Shiva alone, asked where his wife was. Shiva complained that she had abandoned him and vanished. With his yogic powers Narada discovered Kali living north of Mount Sumeru and went there to see if he could convince her to return to Shiva. He told her that Shiva was thinking of marrying another goddess and that she should return at once to prevent this. By now Kali had rid herself of her dark complexion but did not yet realize it. Arriving in the presence of Shiva, she saw a reflection of herself with a light complexion in Shiva's heart. Thinking, that this was another goddess, she became jealous and angry. Shiva advised her to look more carefully, with the eye of knowledge, telling her that what she saw in his heart was herself. The story ends with Shiva saying to the transformed Kali: "As you have assumed a very beautiful form, beautiful in the three worlds, your name will be Tripura- sundari. You shall always remain sixteen years old and be called by the name Shodashi.
Tripura-sundari is described in great detail as extremely attractive, beautiful, and erotically inclined. The Lalita-sahasranama details her charms from head to foot, and the majority of the Saundaryalahari is similarly occupied with her attractive appearance. She is often said to give desire and to suffuse the creation with desire. The Saundaryalahari also states that that a worn-out old man, ugly and sluggish in the arts of love, can be restored to physical attractiveness and vigor by her glance. The Prapancasara-tantra says that her worship has such an amorous effect that celestial females such as gandharvas, yakshas, and siddhas come to the sadhaka "with gazelle-like eyes, breathing heavily, their bodies quivering and moist with the pearly sweat of passion; and throwing away their ornaments and letting their clothes fall from about them, bow themselves before him and offer to do his will."
This elaborate aureole serves to bring out the flawless iconography of chaturbhuja Ganesha (four-armed). The adorable, tattooed trunk and large inlaid flaps for the ears; all four hands occupied by His signature elements, such as the bowlful of His favourite sweetmeats and the broken tusk with which He scribed the Mahabharata; and portly form that devotees dote over, replete with shringar fit for a king. The inlay has been strategically placed across the brass in keeping with high aesthetic standards. There is another of His vahanas at the unassuming pedestal, kept simple with a few inlaid inverted lotus petals to direct the focus to the aureole.
It is chunky, relatively large, designed to complete the necklaces of the larger idols. Cast in sterling silver and finished with a delicate gold colour, it would surely jazz up the entire jewellery ensemble it is added to. Temple jewellery dominates the jewellery boxes of classical dancers and even everyday women who want to achieve a particular look. This pendant would make for a great addition to yours, what with the sampoorna (complete) Shiva-parivar smithed onto the frontal section. There is Parvati right next to Shiva on Their trusty Nandi, flanked by their gorgeous sons, Ganesha and Kartika, on Their respective vahanas; and another seated Ganesha figurine dangling from underneath the centre of the elongated pedestal that supports the deities. Zooming in on each figurine would enable you to truly appreciate the workmanship and labour that have gone into this statement pendant.
The dreamy blue colour of the base is set off by a world of embellishments. Cream- and brown-coloured booties emulating fresh flower-laden tendrils grace the kameez. The same is punctuated with pristine faux pearls and crystals to enhance the regal appeal of the dress. The neckline is high and fuss-free, as if to complement the midway slit that starts slightly above the knee. Note how the sleeves transition into transparent silk fabric at the elbow, the transition having been marked with more pearls. The dupatta is matching but translucent, and hemmed with a fine strip of gold lace for a look that is as regal as Indian suits get.
This variety of paintings are made on spiritual themes. The subjects are usually from the diverse Hindu pantheon, replete with their respective long-established iconography and personal beauty. However, this one draws not from popular iconography but from a much lesser-known motif of the tree of life. This all-important tree in Indian Hindu and Buddhist tradition is said to have infused the Buddha with the ultimate truths of life and enlightenment as He sat underneath it steeped in meditation. Done in a simple tritone palette comprising of solid black, white, and orange that hints at a setting-sun background, the curves of the rising branches are eerily realistic. This one-of-a-kind painting is bound to fill your space with calm and serenity.
The anterior hands are characteristically devoted to the veena. One of the posterior hands holds a pothi, while the other one bears the noose that She uses to rope in the adharmee. The dhoti She wears is held in place by a richly embellished kamarband, the silken fabric clinging against Her skin such as to reveal Her divine contours. Perfectly symmetrical sprigs of vines emerge from the hem of Her crown and rest delicately on Her shoulders. The veena on Her lap, as lifelike as the hands that play it, is engraved with motifs and curves that are in accordance with the Indian aesthetic standard. Seemingly the music She plays is as sweet as Her composure is collected and introspective. Note the unusual, gracious shape of the bindi on Her temple.
In the yogic texts, the manipoora chakra is said to be located above the navel and is the seat of one's personal power. This manipoora chakra pendant has been made with a lot of care and precision. The mix of gold and silver makes this the best of both worlds, while the statement symbolism of it makes it a buy you cannot go wrong with. On the silver-coloured stone-studded pistil of the all-important lotus is an inverted equilateral triangle that houses the sacred aum syllable. The angles of the triangle infuses a bit of its golden yellow wherever they touch the pistil. On the tips of each of the gold petals is a superbly cut stone that sets off the characteristic glitter.
Endemic to the valley, the instantly recognisable ari embroidery is the very picture of all that is Kashmiri - colourful, natural, and alluring, as well as exhibiting unmatchable precision of workmanship. Zoom in on the elegant tendrils and the imitations of local flowers hanging from them, and imagine the degree of skill and labour that must have gone into producing that inimitable finish. The rich wine red of the foundation is set off by the signature shimmer of pure homegrown silk, which has been sourced from the harsh climes of the higher altitudes where this kaftan has been handpicked from.
Of the three deities, it is Shiva's iconography that is somewhat of a match to Hers. His tresses are as matted and moon-ridden as Hers, as opposed to the ornate bejewelled gold of Their lotus petal-tipped crowns. His tiger-skin loincloth and skull-and-snakes shringar are in stark contrast to the coloured silks and jewels of Brahma and Vishnu. All three deities are barefoot on the lush verdure that makes up the background of this watercolour. Note the ashen-faced curs at the mouth of the pyre, which are seemingly ready to charge on the adharmee.
Sculpted from brass, which is a popular medium for art of a devotional-spiritual nature, this Krishna murti comes in two select finish variations, each of which has been curated for our collection because of its elegance. The natural brass variation has been tastefully polished to project a series of shadows at strategic points on the Lord's physique, while the bronze-like cocoa finish is an intense brown colour that draws the onlooker into a meditative trance. With the usual silks and shringar of Indian iconography intact, the tassel on His lotus petal-rimmed and trishool-engraved crown draws it downwards on one side. A multi-tiered pedestal, a tier of which is composed of an inverted and superbly lifelike lotus, supports the race of the Lord.
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