There are 32 roopas (forms) of Lord Ganesha expounded in the Ganesha Purana. Shakti Ganesha is one of them. The painting that you see on this page is of the Shaktiroopa Ganesha. It depicts the elephant-headed deity with eight arms, the ashtabhujadhari. Seated on His lap is the shaktiroopa devi.
Another distinguishing aspect of this painting is the sprig of paddy in the Lord’s hands. It is an element of the iconogrpahies of other Ganesha-roopas such as Taruna-Ganesha, Uchchhishta-Ganesha, and Maha-Ganesha. There is strength (‘shakti’) and nourishment to be derived from anna (foodgrain). Despite the complexity of the iconography, this composition has been infused with remarkable attention to detail.
Attention to detail is indispensable to Tanjore painting. With the layers of gesso-work and gold and semi-precious stone inlay, this composition is a fine example of the traditional art of Thanjavure. The throne of Shakti-Ganesha is a particularly ornate one, from the parasol, Kirtimukham, and cherubs at the top to the vahana and the platefuls of offerings at the bottom.
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