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Hail to thee of auspicious form, whose head is crowned with a garland of stars, so that thou art like the peak of Mount Meru! I adore thy trunk flung up straight in the joy of the dance, so as to sweep the clouds, like a column supporting the edifice of the three worlds. Destroyer of obstacles, I worship thy snake-adorned body swelling out into a broad pitcher-like belly, the treasure house of all success.
This prayer by the Kasmiri poet Somadeva (ca 11th century), celebrates Ganesha in his dancing form. Indeed very much like his father, and his companions (ganas), Ganesha loves to dance. Images of dancing Ganesha remain a testimony to the skill of the Indian sculptor, who manages to convey an extraordinary sense of buoyancy and lithe movement inspite of Ganesha's ample, bulky form.
Here Ganesha dances with his right leg raised in joyous abandon, and the left heel slightly lifted, the same foot being balanced solely on the toes. His legs are short and chubby. The beautifully delineated trunk is incised and holds his a modaka (sweet meat) in it. This being Ganesha's favorite food. His four dynamic arms hold an elephant goad; his severed tooth; a noose; and a modak again. Ganesha wears a detailed crown which hoods his forehead completely, and is capped with a four-tiered pyramidal structure. His two large ears fan out in either direction, and he wears a short dhoti in his lower torso, while the upper body is bare, except for a serpent coiled like a girdle around his elaborate stomach. It is believed that it is the snake that prevents Ganesha's stomach from falling apart, it being severely overloaded with eatables. A sacred thread falls across his left shoulder.
Ganesha's mount, the mouse can be seen paying obeisance to him at the lower left.
This sculpture was created in Aligarh, a small town in the central Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.