Ganapati Heading to His Village Beyond the Yonder Hill

Ganapati Heading to His Village Beyond the Yonder Hill

$295
Item Code: XR74
Specifications:
Brass Sculpture
11 inch x 11.5 inch x 6 inch
7.55 kg
A delightful experiment in Ganapati imagery, inspired perhaps by the verse : ‘Ganapati apane gaon chale’ – Ganapati leaves for his village, sung full-throated pan India when immersing his idols into water, this queerly modeled form of the elephant god Lord Ganesha represents him leaving for some far-off destination beyond the yonder hill. He is riding his simple but elegantly crafted single-seated cart driven by his splendidly saddled mouse, a bit larger in size. The curious form of the cart has antiquity of epic period, when Kurukshetra, the battlefield of the Mahabharata – the Great War, was packed with alike styled chariots, and if road conditions permitted, could still be the romance of thousands. A low-floor body with a high and comfortably moulded slanting back and beautifully conceived sides guarding the wheels over them, easy to step on and step down, the specially crafted vehicle for the elephant god, adds a magic, rare and mesmeric in beauty, to the Ganapati statue.

The form of the hill introduced in the statue, though an element of the statue’s narrative dimension suggesting a distant destination, is largely an aesthetic manipulation. It adds bulk to the tiny figure of the mouse and affords it amicable proportion in relation to the towering and massive image of the elephant god for unless so projected a creature of a rat’s size dragging a cart on level ground, holding it on its tiny shoulders, would have hardly struck the eye. Ascending the hill the mouse seems to take its master to distant horizons beyond the hill – beyond all heights and all distances. A mouse normally digs holes and moves to its destination descending into and passing through them; Ganapati’s mouse ascends the hill and has upwards rise. Its skywards raised muzzle has the same perspective and thrust as has the rest of the statue. Though a low-floor vehicle, the volume of the Ganapati’s massive figure has almost compressed it to the ground.

With his left leg gathered at right angle and little lifted, and the right, stretched at one hundred twenty degree angle, the four-armed Ganapati is seated in his cart in the style known in the classical iconography as Utkut akasana. He is seated with his body above the waist as turned a little to right. In both upper hands he is carrying a pair of nooses, Lord Ganesha’s most favoured attribute he uses for holding and dragging the erring minds to the right path. A noose is not the tool of blood-shed, nor blood-shed, its master choice. Of the other two the normal right hand is held in ‘abhaya’ – the posture granting freedom from fear and everything untoward, and the normal left, holding a ‘laddu’ that stands for abundance, joy and positiveness. Mystics and worshippers of Ganesha revere him as manifest cosmos. In the statue his trunk is turned to the ‘laddu’ held in one of his hands symbolising that he feeds and nourishes the universe which is his own manifestation with abundance and leads it to joy and positiveness.

Usually a more voluminous body with a larger belly and heavier trunk the figure of the elephant god in this statue has been largely relieved of its bulk, obviously to be in better proportion to the rest of the statue. It has been conceived with a narrow face and an extra projected centre of the forehead sharply slanting towards the trunk and on sides further recessing the eyes into their sockets. The trunk itself has been embellished with a decorative roundel and a course of thread-design. This projected part of the forehead has on it for the ‘tilaka’ a trident mark – a blend of the form of Shiva’s most loved attribute and the Vaishnava ‘tilaka’. Unlike his usual form that provides for the broken tusk on the right in this statue it has been provided on the left, and is only partially broken. The headgear : designed partially as a crown and partially as a helmet, is roundish, not towering as it is in most of his statues, a feeling further strengthened by the frontal design and the halo-like added disc. He has been represented as wearing a simple ‘antariya’ – lower wear, contained by a moderate girdle, and a few simple ornaments, not lavish jewels, as his most images are crafted with, and this gives to the figure its rare distinction.

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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