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Paintings > Hindu > Shiva > Descent of Lord Shiva and Family from Kailash
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Descent of Lord Shiva and Family from Kailash

Descent of Lord Shiva and Family from Kailash

Descent of Lord Shiva and Family from Kailash

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Watercolor on Paper
Artist: Kailash Raj

7.6 inches X 9.5 inches
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Viewed 18365 times since 11th Mar, 2010
Descent of Shiva family from Mount Kailash has been a favourite theme of medieval painters, more particularly those from Himalayan hills. This contemporary masterpiece is, in hair-width exactness, identical to an early 19th century Pahari miniature from Garhwal, one of the late centres of Pahari painting, now in the National Museum, New Delhi. It captures alike the mood of the portrayed figures, demeanour of their mounts and all related details. The painting blends classicism that holds that Mount Kailash is Shiva's permanent abode with common man's belief under which he along with his family descends to plains for winter. Besides the unique phenomenon that the theme presents, in the rendition scholars see the symbolically conveyed prime gist of Shaivite thought : the Auspicious descends from Mount Kailash, the abode of gods, bringing bliss to the earth and her inhabitants. The theme emphasises that whatever is blissful and auspicious descend on the earth from the realm of the Divine bringing to her prosperity and good and keeping away evil. A vivid and diversified landscape apart, in tune with this blend - gods' auspices brought to common man's abode, the painting reveals, as its background, the fusion of the earth with the sky – another mode of depicting the merger of the two worlds.

The painting portrays the five-faced Lord Shiva – his form as Sadashiva, descending from Mount Kailash, represented symbolically by a distant lake, obviously the lake Manasarovara, and a snow-white mansion with caves-like entrances. Lord Shiva is mounted on his bull Nandi. On Shiva's right is his consort Parvati on her lion; ahead of Parvati is their elder son, the five-faced Karttikeya riding his peacock; and, on Parvati's right is the elephant-headed Ganesh on his mouse. Every one of Shiva, Parvati, Karttikeya and Ganesh, or even their mounts, seems to have a different kind of emotional disposition which reflects on their faces, or which shapes their facial demeanour, and the painting is outstanding in revealing it. It depicts with the same fervour the child-like enthusiasm on the face of Ganesh and in the demeanour of his mount mouse, with which it reveals the commander-like gravity on Karttiyeya's face and the confidence in the posture of his mount peacock. Walking in between her spouse and sons, in Parvati's facial demeanour and gesture of hands reveals her concern for both. And, accordingly, she is carrying in her left hand a cup containing 'bhang' – Shiva's favourite drink, and in the right, a tray of 'laddus' – ball-like shaped sweet, for which Ganesh had exceptional passion. In Shiva's drowsy eyes reflects partly his contemplative disposition and partly the intoxicating effect of 'bhang'. He is perhaps turning beads with his right hand inside his bag. The corresponding sentiment revealing in the behaviour of each of the pets, representing live nature, and the glow reflecting in the tree, shrubs and the entire background – the non-living nature, suggests that the Holy family – Shiva, the Purusha, primordial man, Parvati, the energy incarnate, Ganesh, the ultimate good and auspice, and Karttikeya, the ultimate valour and commanding force, pervades the Creation in its entirety.

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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