god of auspicious beginnings and the remover of obstacles presents us with an
interesting image to appreciate in this ‘panchaloha’ bronze sculpture. Standing
on top of a raised lotus pedestal, Ganesha is in the ‘tribhanga’ posture – with
his body twisting at his legs, his waist, and his neck – and holds in his hand
his broken tusk and parchment to write on.
This singular visual created by the ‘sthapati’
in the ‘madhuchista vidhana’ image nods to the episode of Ganesha taking down
the narration of Mahabharata from Vyasa. As the legend goes, Ganesha, as
instructed by Brahma, sat down to write the narrative of the great epic that
Vyasa began dictating with ease and no hesitation. Some time during this
process, Ganesha realised that his writing instrument was about to break, and
not wishing to disturb Vyasa’s thought process, proceeded to break his own tusk
and write the remainder of the epic with it.
The way our
beloved ‘ekdanta’ or one-toothed god keeps his chin up in this image therefore
assumes that he is looking towards Vyasa while he continues to narrate the
story of the Mahabharata. The sculpture has been presented in a highly ornate
manner, with elaborately detailed jewels adorning Ganesha’s body, a diaphanous
‘dhoti’ held by a girdle with tassels, and a grand ‘mukuta’ as a headgear along
with a beautiful ‘prabhamandala’ or halo behind it.
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