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Five Headed Ganesha - The Universal Protector

Five Headed Ganesha - The Universal Protector
Availability: Can be backordered
South Indian Temple Wood Carving
70.0" X35.0" X 12.0"
75.0 Kg
Item Code: EP81
Price: $4200.00
Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
This item can be back ordered
Time required to recreate this artwork: 20 to 24 weeks
Advance to be paid now (% of product value): 20%
Balance to be paid once product is ready: 80%
The amount to be tendered as advance to back order this artwork: $840.00
Viewed 6583 times since 10th May, 2010
This five-headed image of Lord Ganesh installed in a beautifully conceived ‘prabhavali’ – fire-arch, which an auspicious and elaborately conceived ‘kirtimukha’ motif tops, shares the attributes of Ganesh’s various classical forms, main among them being Heramba Ganapati. Though it deviates from the Heramba Ganapati’s prescribed iconography on some counts, this form of Lord Ganesh, conceived with five heads and ten arms, is closer to this manifestation. Heramba Ganapati is worshipped for his role as the universal protector and it is for such role that theological traditions as well as visual arts have conceived his form with five heads, four of them guarding four directions, and the fifth, the worlds below and above, and with ten arms to operate in all known and unknown regions. Heramba Ganapati helps maintain cosmic order and ward off evil, and blesses the world with his bounty.

Heramba Ganapati is perhaps the most rarely represented form of the elephant god in any plastic medium, largely because of its complicated form for any artistic or iconographic skill will find it difficult to plant five elephant heads, and to some extent ten arms, on a single human torso. For a medium like wood it is yet more difficult. Not merely the carving part, even finding a log of wood of this massive size, out of which a statue of this size and such dimensions might be carved, is a difficult task. Most images of Heramba Ganapati install his five heads direct on the figure’s torso itself for giving them broader base and support. In such images neck simply merges into them. In the present statue the upper part comprising five heads has been carved independent of the torso and is supported on a well defined neck with sufficient gap distinguishing the upper part and the torso.

Strangely, with all difficulties of the form overcome, and despite the choice of a far more tedious model, the statue does not lack in anything and is one of the most accomplished works of art. The artist has worked miracle not only in incorporating sensuous warmth, refined plasticity, unique luminosity and a kind of spiritual serenity in creating his deity image but has also maintained formative proportions, unity of form, symmetry of repeated members and all without letting its aesthetics suffer. The figure of the deity, with a shorter height as compared to its width, and small legs submerged under a protruding pot belly, is as much quaint and curious. Conceived with pot belly and with a single tusk this Heramba Ganapati form blends with it some of the essential features of Ekadanta and Lambodara Ganapati forms, and hence the divine and spiritual dimensions of such forms.

The delicately carved image of the Great Lord has been installed on a beautiful pedestal consisting of a double lotus placed over a high base rising through stylised lotuses and moulding with vine-imprints. He is seated in ‘lalitasana’, a posture of ease. Trunks on right and left raised above in the air reveal his jubilant mood. The attributes he is carrying in his ten hands are not well defined. In three of them he is holding his broken tusk or an object resembling it, in other three, a dagger like object, in one a mango and in yet another, a noose. In all five trunks he is holding ball-like looking auspicious pots symbolising rain, Ganga, earth, ocean and affluence. Except that his tiny mouse has been represented as enjoying a ‘laddu’, some of the more usual attributes of Heramba Ganapati form, such as rosary, mace, or even a 'laddu’ are missing.

The only garment, which he is wearing, is an 'adhovastra', an elegantly plaited green silk 'dhoti' worn below his waist. A beautifully patterned girdle, consisting of 'falis' or beads, substituting the usual 'nagabandha' of Ganapati iconography, is worn around the pot belly. The god also wears a 'yajnopavit'. The figure is normally bejewelled with armslets, bracelets, anklets, shoulder-laces and a broad necklace on his neck. His head-dress-cum-crown is of a moderate size, but every part of it is covered with elegantly rendered various designing patterns and motifs.

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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