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Paintings > Hindu > Shiva > A Unique Painting Depicting Lord Shiva as an Archer Seated Astride Nandi
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A Unique Painting Depicting Lord Shiva as an Archer Seated Astride Nandi

A Unique Painting Depicting Lord Shiva as an Archer Seated Astride Nandi

A Unique Painting Depicting Lord Shiva as an Archer Seated Astride Nandi

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Water Color Painting on Paper
Artist: Kailash Raj

8.5 inch X 11.0 inch
Item Code:
HO25
Frame
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$370.00   Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
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Time required to recreate this artwork: 4 to 6 weeks
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This magnificent painting portrays Shiva holding a bow in his well extended right hand and the left is held aloft as if it has just released an arrow. Not on his back, the quiver lay in between his thigh and stomach. Interestingly, in Shiva's subsequent iconographic perception bow and arrow hardly ever feature, though they are the earliest and the basic attributes associated with his image right since Indus days. In Shiva's subsequent iconography axe and trident gained priority over other weapons. Some Indus seals have on them a bow-carrying figure usually linked with Shiva. The Rig Veda identified him as Ishana - the archer. After his consort Sati, insulted by her father Daksha Prajapati, immolated herself, the enraged Shiva picked a bow and destroyed the Yajna of Daksha. He wanted to also behead with it all gods attending the Yajna, though pacified by them he forgave them and gave the bow to Nimi's eldest son. Ever since a family custody, Shiva's bow came down to king Janaka of Mithala where for accomplishing the condition for marrying Sita Rama broke it. On several other occasions Shiva used bow and arrows. It was with his arrows that he destroyed Tripura, three cities of demons, and vanquished innumerable other demons. In early sculptures and bronzes representing him as Tripurantaka – destroyer of Tripura, Shiva invariably has a bow and arrow in his hands. Besides, Shiva is the only Indian divinity who has bow – Pinaka, associated with his name. Scriptures often pay him homage as Pinaka-pani, Pinaka-purusha, Pinaka-pati… all indicative of master archer.

Shiva's seating posture is interesting. As if seeking to evade laying his full weight on his mount Nandi, his bull, he has just his feet laid on it, and himself on his feet putting all his weight on them. Though a more secured and comfortable position, seated astride the entire weight would transfer on his devoted Nandi, something which he would not like. Endowed with unique composure the sublime image of the great god, draped in a dhoti and leopard skin, is exceptionally simple. He has normal two arms and almost no jewellery worth name on his person. As simply is twisted into a bun his matted hair. The child-like softness enshrines his face and despite that arrows are shot and his mount gallops, and also quite speedily as if in battlefield charging on enemies, the expression on the god's face reveals no agitation on any level, physical or mental. He appears totally detached from what he is engaged in, elimination of demons or whatever. But for his third eye which along with crescent poised on his forehead is easily discerned, the entire anatomy of the Shiva's figure is that of an ordinary human being.

The painting reminds of one by the well known artist Pt. Seu or his son Nainsukh of Guler in Himalayan hill region rendered sometimes around the third quarter of the 18th century now in the Indian Museum, Calcutta. But for its antiqueness the new version of the theme excels its antique partner more particularly in its expanded canvas size, which adds to it new magic and magnifies its every aspect – puritan simplicity, divinity, innocence enshrining the faces of both - the mount and the master… The monochromic background has greater depth and Nandi's white, green of its saddlecloth, even its dot-like black eye, Shiva's blue, yellow of his dhoti and spotted leopard skin, all provide to it a brilliant and befitting contrast.

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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