The pomp and
show of Devaraja (king of gods) Indra’s court is incomplete without the
presence of the maidens of heaven- Apsaras. Magnificent in appearance and
well-versed in arts and music, these habitats of the celestial world have
always been a subject of curiosity for the human mind, which, mesmerized by the
description of apsaras in Hindu texts attempts to imagine and recreate their
ungraspable beauty in material such as metal, stone and in the case of this
amazing work of art- wood.
celestial nymph is playing a dholak (a type of drum, a traditional Indian
instrument). Her body, bent gracefully, appears to be moving with the beats she
creates on the instrument. Her attire includes a gorgeous headdress, dehri or
disc-shaped earrings, a set of two necklaces, armbands, bangles, Kada (bands on
the feet), and anklet. The nudity of her forms highlights her divinely feminine
features- ample bosoms, slender waist, and wide hips. To further beautify her
body, the artist has carved appealing breast ornaments in the shape of flowers
and an elaborate girdle with strings of beads and tassels hanging from it. The
entertainer of gods stands on a rectangular platform decorated with floral
patterns. The polish on the wood has given a lustre to the subject of this
statue, rightfully so, since the apsaras are often described as having
glistening, gold-like limbs.
How to care for Wood Statues?
Wood is extensively used in sculpting especially in countries like China, Germany, and Japan. One feature that makes the wood extremely suitable for making statues and sculptures is that it is light and can take very fine detail. It is easier for artists to work with wood than with other materials such as metal or stone. Both hardwoods, as well as softwood, are used for making sculptures. Wood is mainly used for indoor sculptures because it is not as durable as stone. Changes in weather cause wooden sculptures to split or be attacked by insects or fungus. The principal woods for making sculptures and statues are cedar, pine, walnut, oak, and mahogany. The most common technique that sculptors use to make sculptures out of wood is carving with a chisel and a mallet. Since wooden statues are prone to damage, fire, and rot, they require proper care and maintenance.
It is extremely important to preserve and protect wooden sculptures with proper care. A little carelessness and negligence can lead to their decay, resulting in losing all their beauty and strength. Therefore, a regular clean-up of the sculptures is a must to prolong their age and to maintain their shine and luster.
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