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Vina-Vadini, Mayura-Vahani, Kamalasana Saraswati

Vina-Vadini, Mayura-Vahani, Kamalasana Saraswati
Availability: Can be backordered
Specifications:
South Indian Temple Wood Carving
Artist: P. Sengottuvel
36.0" X 15.0" X 3.5"
10.2 Kg
Item Code: EH68
Price: $1050.00
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: $210.00
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This 36 inches tall statue of Saraswati, the goddess of learning, rendered using a stylistic blend of the art traditions of Orissa, Andhra and Mysore, synthesises three forms of the goddess, which various Puranas have conceived from time to time. Barring her Rig-Vedic perception of 'Vak' – one of the two prime female Vedic divinities, in Puranas the earliest form of Saraswati is that of the lotus-seated four armed goddess carrying in her four hands 'japamala' – rosary, two lotuses, and a manuscript : 'Asina kamala karairjjapabatim padmadhyam pustakam bivrana'. Subsequently, lotus emerged as the characteristic feature of the iconography of Lakshmi and got more intimately associated with her. Hence, later Puranas alternated the seat of Saraswati with peacock. By now Saraswati was the patron deity also of all arts and dance and music. Maybe, besides being a dancing bird, peacock, by colours of its feathers, was seen as symbolising arts and dance. Around then, emerged in her iconography 'vina' – the stringed instrument, such as lyre. 'Vina' symbolised music – another aspect of Saraswati. Knowledge, and hence the form of Saraswati, defined purity and ability to pick up the finest – the features that Indian tradition associated with a swan. Hence, in her more recent forms, she is sometimes represented as riding a swan instead a peacock. In her early concept Saraswati was a divine presence, and hence her lotus seat. Subsequently she emerged as an operative power, which better revealed in a peacock, swan, or lion or ram. The symbolic 'vina' is now the instrument she plays on – a shift from mere presence to operational character.

Whatever her seat, or attributes that she carried, she has always been conceived as 'parama jyotirupa' or 'jyotiswarupa' – the one possessed of absolute beauty. Puranas have perceived her also as endowed with timeless youth, lustre of crores of moons, fragrance, tenderness, and grace of lilies, and snow's soothing softness. As for her body colour, Puranas have primarily two versions : one, considering her 'shubhra-varana' –white-complexioned; and the other, 'shyama-varana' – black-complexioned, the emphasis of the former being on her purity, and of the latter, on her representing 'Prakriti' – the female creative power, which being a blend of 'Sattva' – white, 'Rajas' – red, and 'Tamas' – black, has the colour of cosmos. The entire South – more particularly the Andhrites, worship her in her later form. This statue inclines towards the Andhrite version of her body-colour. Two of her four hands are engaged in playing 'vina'. The entire ambience seems to echo with its melody – vine and birds twisting to its notes. Overwhelmed, her own feet resort to dance, body curves, bosom swells and eyes descend deep within. In her other two hands she is holding the 'japamala' and the book.

This excellent and a more accomplished image of the goddess, carved from fine timber, satisfies all parameters of a votive image, though at the same time it is also an excellent work of art – thus, a thing for both, altar and drawing hall. In its iconography, the artist has adhered to classical norms in regard to the height, number of arms, attributes carried in hands, complexion, vehicle, and similar other aspects of the goddess. Wherever contradictions, the artist conciliated and synthesised them. Her rounded face, elongated but half shut eyes – as if in trance, prominent eye-lashes amicably aligning with the nose, cute lips with a gentle smile floating on them, pointed chin, short neck, temptingly modelled breasts with finial-like nipples surmounting them, long arms, fine long fingers with well defined nails, subdued belly and narrow waist, and posture of dance, all are reminiscent of the golden era of India's sculptural art. In anatomical proportions, facial features, and over-all composition, the statue is simply unique. She has shoulders broad enough to adequately assimilate four arms on them. The image appears to emit a melody, but not produced by her fingers playing on 'vina'; rather, it is born of the intense emotionality and life-vigour with which the image of the goddess seems to vibrate.

Lotus, book and 'japamala' – rosary were attributes of Brahma. Being associated with him – as his daughter or spouse, Saraswati inherited them from him. Fully absorbed, the goddess is playing on her 'vina'. Though closed, from her eyes reveal the 'bhava' of quiescence and inner bliss. She has around her loins, frilled covering consisting of golden beads; on her waist a bejeweled girdle; and, on her ears, elegant 'karnaphools' – earrings. She is wearing an elaborately adorned towering crown, and on her forehead, a Vaishnava 'tilaka'. Various conventionalised ornaments, often used in votive iconography, adorn the figure of the goddess. The deity has her right foot planted on a fully blooming lotus, which lay on a 'vedika' consisting of two rows of conventionalised lotus motifs. The left is thrown into a posture of dance. 'Prabha' – 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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