The graceful Devi Sarasvati, presiding deity of the Hindus over learning and the fine arts, floats amidst a sea of vines. Wife of Lord Vishnu, daughter of the invincible Devi Durga, Devi Sarasvati is the fairest of the Hindu devi pantheon. Her silvery complexion is set off by the gold and coppery tones that make up the tritone colour palette of this composition. In keeping with Her traditional iconography, She is seated in lalitasana on a wide-set lotus bloom. She is the chaturbhujadharini, the one possessed of four arms, and with Her anterior hands She plays the veena. It is a finely carved, long-necked traditional musical instrument, without which Her iconography would not be complete. She gazes at it with an expression of great solemnity, carved skilfully on Her brow.
A tall, tapering crown with a snakeskin halo of its own sits on Sarasvati’s head. The anguine aspect is a frequently recurring motif in Indian iconography, given its significance in yoga. The plinth in particular is an ornate one. It is double tiered, with each tier featuring multiple layers of lotus petals. The Devi’s silvery feet rests on the soft petals, no less than them in terms of shapeliness and texture. Her vahana, the swan as fair and graceful as She is, is perched at the base of Her throne.
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