Gajalakshmi in Circular Frame

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Goddess Gajalakshmi- Sri Lakshmi with Gaja or elephants is undoubtedly the most pristine and popular image of the Hindu mother-goddess who controls the sphere of abundance, victory, and opulence. Placed within a fine round wooden frame, this Tanjore painting, embellished with pure 24-karat gold is a majestic representation of the great mother goddess.

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Item Code: PHD002
Traditional Colors with 24 Karat Gold
Dimensions 52 inch Height X 52 inch Width X 4 inch Depth (With Frame)
Weight: 31.65 kg
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This form of Maa Lakshmi, exquisitely drawn by the skilled Tanjore artist using traditional colors, is believed to be the bestower of heavenly wealth upon the king of gods Indra, after her emergence from the depths of the Kshirsagara (primordial ocean). Two pairs of elephants on each side- glorious animals connected to Indra, the first among all the rulers and bringer of rains hail the mother goddess, with whose adulations, gods, kings, and humans derive unending riches. Gaja-Lakshmi thus is the tutelary goddess for anyone who wishes to acquire worldly luxuries and is evoked in her dhyan-mantra as “Durgati-nashini”- the destroyer of misery.

Maa Gaja-Lakshmi is presented in this mesmerizing Tanjore painting as a sovereign ruler herself, placed inside a royal palace, on a throne, accompanied by two ladies clad in ethnic clothing fanning the goddess. The roof of her throne is decorated by peacocks, Kirtimukha (face of glory), and ashva-yali (mythical composite animal with a body of ashva or horse and lion) on the pillars- all motifs associated with royalty in Indian tradition.

The maker of this Gaja-Lakshmi Tanjore artwork displays knowledge of early Vedic tradition, especially of the “Sri Suktam”- a Vedic hymn dedicated to Sri (Lakshmi), where the lotus is an element that is repeatedly connected with goddess Lakshmi. This association of the mother-goddess with the blossom is expanded in this Tanjore painting, where the lotus and lotus petal can be seen in the curtain above the goddess, decoration of her throne, in her hands, and on her throne as a rug, visible from under the pleats of her glistening golden sari.

With a celestial aura on her exquisite face which is beautifully supplemented by her intricately designed ornaments, a richness of gold foil in decoration, and the royal blue background of the Tanjore painting, Devi Gaja-Lakshmi brings to mind the image of the primordial goddess, who is the object of worship for not only the mortals but also for the great Hindu trinity- Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva. 

Gilded Elegance: Unraveling the Artistry of Tanjore Paintings

Tanjore painting is a traditional form of art in the South Indian style and was started by the inhabitants of a small town known as Thanjavur of Tamil Nadu. This gives it another name called “Thanjavur painting”. This painting draws its figures, designs, and inspiration from the time when Vedic culture was prevalent in India. Certain remarkable features of a Tanjore painting distinguish it from other paintings. Some of these are pure gold or gold foil coating on gesso work, the use of rich and vivid colors, and the inlay of cut-glass or semi-precious and precious stones. The subjects of most of the Tanjore paintings are Hindu Gods, Goddesses, and saints. The main devotional figure is portrayed in the central portion of the painting and is usually surrounded by various secondary figures.

The process of making a Tanjore painting

The classic Tanjore paintings are done on wooden planks and hence are also referred to as Palagai Padam in South India (Palagai = Wooden plank, Padam = Picture). Creating a masterpiece is never an easy task but the skilled artists of Thanjavur have been following the tradition of making timeless Tanjore paintings for decades.
The making process begins with preparing the wooden board or canvas. The size of the board depends upon the choice of the patron. The next step is to paste cardboard over the wooden board and then a cotton fabric is stretched and pasted upon it using Arabic gum.
Now that the cloth is attached to the wooden panel, a rough sketch of the motifs and figure is drawn onto the fabric. After this, a paste of chalk powder and water-soluble adhesive is evenly applied over the base and smoothed.
Thereafter, the outlines which were made or traced using a stencil are now ready to be beautified and decked with various add-ons. The usual materials for decoration are cut-glass, pearls, semi-precious and precious gems, gold leaf, and laces. 22 or 18 Karat Gold leaves and gems of varied hues are especially inlaid in areas like pillars, arches, walls, thrones, and dresses. In the final step, the rest of the painting is filled with rich and striking colors such as shades of red, blue, and green. Formerly, the artists used natural colors like vegetable and mineral dyes instead of chemical paints. The entire painting is then cleaned and refined to give a flawless finished look.
Since the making of a single piece of Tanjore painting requires a complex and elaborate process, the artists usually take at least one or two months to complete it. The use of pure gold foil and gems for beautification is a characteristic of an authentic Tanjore painting. Due to this, Tanjore paintings last for generations without getting tarnished and are much more expensive than general paintings. Though the art form has undergone various changes and technique modifications over the years, it continues to attract the hearts of art lovers.
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