Ashtadasa-bhuja-Dhari Durga

Ashtadasa-bhuja-Dhari Durga
Availability: Can be backordered
Water Color Painting on Paper
Artist:Kailash Raj
7.5 inch X 9 inch
Item Code: HM63
Price: $405.00
Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
This item can be back ordered
Time required to recreate this artwork: 6 to 8 weeks
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The amount to be tendered as advance to back order this artwork: $81.00
Viewed 10904 times since 26th May, 2012
A great masterpiece by Kailash Raj, a known contemporary artist working pursuing the style of medieval miniature painting, though unlike those who render copies of the earlier works often using the same theme, set of imagery, painting size, format, colour-scheme, figures’ iconography, style of borders and sometimes even its antique look, Kailash Raj often creates his own world of Indian miniature, his own theme, sometimes even his own version of myths, scheme of colours, iconography, perspective, costume-types, almost everything except the medieval art style and flavour that he inherits from the tradition. Irrespective of the age he is born in, he is in the real sense a miniaturist in the line of great medieval masters of hill region in particular. Though from Rajasthan, he has a preference for hills’ soft colour-tones, delicate faces, emotionally charged eyes and Rajasthan’s bright costumes. An amazing contrast, he is basically a pursuant of tradition but makes some experiment or other in everyone of his works.

This brilliant painting in vertical format, contained within a simple linear frame, represents the eighteen-armed goddess Durga riding on her mount lion against an opaque background, dull greenish bottom, blue skyline and orange mid-sky. The painting is exceptional in its medieval flavour though it does not strictly follow a particular regional art style, Rajasthani, Pahari or any. In the purity of its idiom, soft colour tones and the figure’s iconography, particularly the goddess’s round face and the style of eyes, the painting is close to Pahari art-style, its Kangra School in particular. However, it does not have the Pahari paintings’ like pastoral background : hills, flowering plants, pools teeming with lotuses, foggy clouds … The background, as also the body colour of the mount, is more like the one as is seen in Central Indian paintings from Malwa and Raghogarh.

The style of the Devi’s headgear with a button or knot atop with a hair-brush like crest rising from it, composition of the goddess’s face and a pair of yak tails used suspending along the saddle-cloth are elements of Mughal art style. A crest composed of hair has been used also for crowning the forehead of the goddess’s mount. Considered highly auspicious yak tail formed part of both, the Mughals’ auspices and the art and is an element confining strictly to Mughal tradition. In patterning the goddess’s ensemble as zigzag, like an unplastered brick-wall, Kailash Raj comes out with a completely new textile design-vocabulary : his usual mode of experimenting within the frame of the tradition. The skirt of the gown that she is wearing has been differently designed and it there reflects Rajasthan’s hand-block-printing tradition.

Though not in action, in mere forwards thrust of the goddess and her mount reveals the sublime force and divine energy that define not the act of the goddess but her entire being. She seems to have her eyes fixed on some target. Apart, the goddess is carrying almost in all her hands the instruments of annihilation. She is holding in her nine right hands trident, disc, conch, spear, arrow, a double-edged sword, ‘shakti’, battle-axe and pot, and in her left, bell, rod, noose, goad, shield, bowl, mace and lotus besides a scabbard full of arrows along her waistband. The lotus apart, all seventeen attributes, even the pot, are things of battlefield. Though with a third eye on her forehead, essentially an element of Shaivite iconography, and under long established tradition the Shaivite identity of the goddess as Durga is absolute, as the primordial power she is above all gods and is accordingly equipped with their major attributes : disc, conch, mace and lotus of Vishnu, sword, Indra’s, another divinity in Vaishnava line, pot, Brahma’s, trident, Shiva’s and bow and arrows, in his manifestation as Ishan, battle-axe and goad, those of his son Ganesh … Kailash Raj preferred not to specify the form of the goddess as acting against a particular demon but universalized it, its objective and the image-kind.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.

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