14" Tranquil Ashtabhujadhari Durga | Handmade | Madhuchista Vidhana (Lost-Wax) | Panchaloha Bronze from Swamimalai

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As a medium of sculpture, bronze was first patronised by the Pallavas in the 6th century AD. During the Chola period (10th–11th century AD), it took on the brilliance that stands to this day. Frontal images, laterally defined limbs, and fully modelled in the round with a great fluidity of movement - these are the characteristics of the images of Hindu divinities, a fine example of which is seen on this page.

She is the ashtabhujhadharini Durga, the Durga who is possessed of (‘dharini’) eight (‘ashta’) arms (‘bhuja’). While the Mahishasuramardini, slayeress (‘mardini’) of the buffalo-demon (‘mahisha-asura’), is hands-down a wrathful deity, this bronze composition depicts the tranquil side of Her. Instead of weapons in each and every one of Her hands, She holds sacred implements like the conch and the discus in the posteriormost hands. Note the diminutive trishoola (trident) in Her anteriormost left hand, designed for the right counterpart to be raised in blessing.


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Item Code: ZAP44
Specifications:
Bronze Statue from Swamimalai
Height: 14.5 inch
Width: 8.5 inch
Depth: 4.5 inch
Weight: 9.43 kg
Handmade
Handmade
Free delivery
Free delivery
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide

From the shringar layered delicately over the curves of her body to the folds of silk that clothe Her limbs, each aspect of the figure has been carved with lifelike detail and perfect symmetry. On the back of Her lion - She is simhavahini, borne by the lion - She is seated in lalitasana. She looks straight ahead, Her determined gaze complemented by the tall, stately crown on Her head. The murti is poised upon a simple, multi-tiered bronze pedestal with subtle lotus engravings.

This bronze image from Swamimalai, a statue of a bit larger size than the Swamimalai bronze-casts usually are, represents goddess Durga in her eight-armed form, the goddess’s most popular ‘ashtabhuja-dhari’ manifestation. Durga in her ashtabhuja-dhari form has been more widely represented in visual arts than any of her other forms. The goddess is riding her mount lion, plumpish in modelling and a toy like looking  : bulky figure with short height, tail coiled like a rope, elegantly dressed mane and contrary to the effect that a lolling tongue and wide open mouth should breed the face of the animal delights by its gesture. The animal has on its back an ornamental saddlecloth composed mainly of laces of tassels and knots and decorative border. Not exactly on the animal’s back, the figure of the goddess seems to float in the space over it, perhaps denoting that she is not bound to any particular spatial domain.
Though there are hundreds of legends of the goddess relating to her exploits against demons and evil powers and also related to protecting her devotees, the statue portrays just her vision – her divine presence, her divinity, pervading the earth and the sky, beyond action, beyond representing her as engaged in an act against a demonic power. Obviously, unlike an act confining the goddess contextually to one event or the other this image aims at representing her as a divine presence pervading all spaces, commanding all acts – every intellect and every mind where an act shapes, and transcending time. Not wrath or a determination to annihilate, sublime calm – something like benignity and contentment, enshrine the face of the goddess. The vision of the goddess holds the viewing mind, drags it away from the material bonds and transcends it into the realm of sublime delight.
The image of the goddess, as also her mount, have been installed on a three-tiered rectangular pedestal, the lower part, comprises, besides a plain base, an upwards narrowing moulding elevating along stylized lotus motifs, the middle part is a plain rising, and the upper, again a plain moulding with edged bottom and chamfered top. Besides her normal right hand held in ‘abhaya’ the goddess is carrying in her other three hands on the right side, and four on the left, chakra –disc, arrow and rod, and conch, bow, trident and casket. With sublimity enshrining her face the image of the goddess has been conceived on the lines of divine icons : roundish face with well-fed cheeks, sharp nose, cute small lips, mildly protruding chin, meditative half-shut eyes, well-trimmed eyebrows, broad forehead, head covered with a tall crown with Vaishnava character, voluminous neck, broad shoulders, and a highly balanced anatomy – subdued belly, voluminous hips and other aesthetically conceived parts. Besides a magnificently pleated ‘antariya’ – lower wear – the common component of almost every divine image, the goddess has been cast as wearing also an upper costume with half sleeves. The image is normally bejeweled with ornaments on her ears, neck, breast, arms, wrists and feet.

Even for a layman the statue’s origin in the Swamimalai workshop is by itself the assurance of its level of perfection, classicism and technical accomplishment that the craftsmen of Swamimalai have attained after pursuing the craft over centuries through many generations. A centre of bronze casting with its rare distinction, perhaps hardly any other in India to stand equal, with about 1200 artisans still engaged in the profession Swamimalai till now pursues the standards of great South Indian bronzes that had a centuries old tradition under many ruling dynasties. Despite that as an art-medium bronze is the toughest alloy to work with bronzes from Swamimalai, a small town near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, as this tiny piece, are rare in their aesthetics, spiritual fervour as well as their decorative aspect – even the smallest part conceived with a jeweler’s eye. A Swamimalai bronze breathes, besides a kind of classicism, divine aura and beauty par excellence.

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.


WHAT IS PANCHALOHA BRONZE AND HOW TO TAKE CARE OF IT ?

 

Bronze is a metal alloy that has the primary composition of Copper and Tin. There is also an addition of other metals such as Manganese, Aluminium, Nickel, and some non-metals such as Phosphorus. This composition of several metals and non-metals makes Bronze an extremely durable and strong metal alloy. It is for this reason that Bronze is extensively used for casting sculptures and statues. Since Bronze has a low melting point, it usually tends to fill in the finest details of a mould and when it cools down, it shrinks a little that makes it easier to separate from the mould.

" If you happen to have a bronze statue, simply use a cotton cloth with some coconut oil or any other natural oil to clean the statue. "

 

A village named Swamimalai in South India is especially known for exceptionally well-crafted Bronze icons of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The skilled artisans of this place use Panchaloha Bronze for casting the icons. Panchaloha Bronze is made of five metals; Copper, Zinc, Lead, and small quantities of Gold and Silver. Zinc gives a golden hue to the finished figure and Lead makes the alloy softer for the easy application of a chisel and hammer. The common technique for producing these statues and sculptures is the “Lost-wax” method. Because of the high durability of bronze sculptures and statues, less maintenance is required, and can still last up to many decades.

Exotic India takes great pride in its collection of hand-picked Panchaloha Statues. You will find the murtis of Gods (Krishna, Hanuman, Narasimha, Ganesha, Nataraja, and Kartikeya) and Goddesses (Saraswati, Lakshmi, Durga, and Parvati), and Buddha statues. You can also buy Ritual paraphernalia (Wicks lamp, Puja Kalash, Cymbals, and Puja Flag) on the website. All these statues and items have been made with a lot of care and attention, giving them a flawless finish. Their fine carving detail represents the rich tradition of India.


How are Bronze statues made?

Bronze statues and sculptures are known for their exquisite beauty and the divinity that they emit all around the space. Bronze is considered an excellent metal alloy, composed primarily of copper and tin. Many properties make it suitable for sculpting even the most intricate and complex structures. There was a period in history, known as the "Bronze Age", in which most sculptors preferred to work with Bronze as it was considered the hardest metal. Bronze is especially appreciated for its durability, ductility, and corrosion-resistance properties. India is especially known for its elegant workmanship of skills working with Bronze. The artisans of a town named Swamimalai in South India have been following a tradition of bronze murti making for ages. They use a special material known as Panchaloha bronze to make fascinating icons of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

All of us are allured by the beauty of bronze statues and sculptures but there goes a tough hand in casting those masterpieces with little or no imperfections. Since it is an extremely elaborate process, a sculptor needs to be highly skilled in making bronze antiques. The most common technique for casting bronze sculptures that has been followed since ancient times is the “Lost-wax” process which involves many steps:

1. Clay model making

The making of a bronze statue or sculpture starts with preparing a full-sized clay (usually Plasticine) model of the sculpture. This allows the artist to have an idea about the overall shape and form of the desired sculpture before working with bronze, a much more expensive and difficult-to-work-with material.
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2. Mould making

Once the clay model is ready, a mould of the original sculpture is made. This is done by carefully covering the clay model with plaster strips. This step is carried out in such a way that no air bubbles are formed. It takes up to 24 hours for the plaster to dry. Once dried, the plaster is then gently removed from the clay model. The removal happens easily because the inner mould is usually made of materials such as polyurethane rubber or silicone.

3. Wax filling and removal

In this step, molten bronze or wax is poured or filled into the mould in such a way that it gets even into the finest details. The mould is then turned upside down and left to cool and harden. When the wax has hardened, it is removed from the mould.
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4. Chasing

Chasing is the process in which the artist refines the surface of the bronze statue using various tools to achieve fine details. This smoothens the surface and gives the statue a finished look. If some parts of the statue were moulded separately, they are now heated and attached.
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5. Applying a patina

Bronze sculptures are known for their unique look or sheen on the surface. This may take several years to achieve naturally. Applying patina to bronze sculptures is an important step to make them appear attractive.
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Working with clay, plaster mould, and molten wax can be messy and therefore sculptors wear old clothes and remain careful. The entire process of making a bronze statue takes several months to complete. Bronze sculptures last for many centuries because of the high durability of the material. Many centuries down the line, these sculptures continue to be appreciated for their majestic beauty.
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