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|Time required to recreate this artwork:||3 to 4 weeks|
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This analogy of male and female factors in one entity also echoes in the great Vedas. The Rigveda acclaims that he, who is described as male, is as much the female and that the penetrating eye does not fail to see it. This phenomenon is now as widely accepted by modern scientists. Psychologists say, every male has in him the half female and the female has vice-versa in her the half male. The most controversial but a novel and totally different kind of thinker of this era, Rajanish, known as Osho amongst his followers, discovers in Ardhanarisvara form of Shiva great mystic and cosmic significance. He says, the Ardhanarisvara Shiva shows that the line dividing God's creation as male and female is only superfluous. The creation is essentially composite in its character and the Ardhanarishvara form is its best manifestation. To Osho, Ardhanarishvara image represents Him in His absolute form and is hence more sacred and His worship in this form is absolute and far more accomplished. He recommends wise ones to keep Ardhanarisvara sculptures in their houses for it broadens man's vision and mitigates the distinction made on sex line.
The manifestation of Shiva in his Ardhanarisvara form is the perception of the unity of conflicting elements. Here Lord Shiva, as Sadashiva, Adishiva or Adipurusha, manifests in his being the composite character of existence. It also evidences that the two sets of diverse elements are only superfluous and are actually only one. This form reveals that all born ones are either male or female, but Shiva, the Adipurusha, the ever present benevolent One, is the total, all that is masculine and all that is feminine. The Western vision has remained confined to the inseparable unity of male and female perceived in Cupid and Psyche, the love-god and his spouse. It is the unity of two but essentially in two forms. In Indian thought this unity, manifest in Arddhanarishvara, is in one form.
In its iconography, craftsmanship, minuteness of details, finish and aesthetic beauty this statue of Ardhanarishvara is simply superb. Though a contemporary work of art, it marvels in many things the best of medieval bronzes. The great Chola bronzes of South reveal no better facial features and the great Pala bronzes no deeper thematic insight and thrust. The artist has discovered the unity of his form in the ever most conflicting and diverse elements, the masculine and feminine. Besides such superb unity, he has most skillfully, and with unique distinction, precision and minuteness, created all his contrasts. It is simply unimaginable how he has packed in one form all attributes of Shiva, i.e., all attributes of male physiognomy, and of Parvati, i.e., of a female being.
The right half of the figure is cast and carved with the factors of male physiognomy and the left with those of the female. The right half is the manifestation of Shiva and left half that of Parvati, and both halves are created with their respective attributes. Out of four arms that the statue has, two are styled and bejeweled as those of Shiva and the other two as those of Parvati. Shiva's lower right hand is raised in 'Abhaya', while that of Parvati is suspending below. A snake defines the upper right hand as that of Shiva and a lotus as that of Parvati. The left leg representing Parvati is fully covered with rich embroidered garments and jewels and the right representing Shiva is necked and semi-crude. The left breast defines Parvati and the right Lord Shiva. Shiva's part of hair float into air and those of Parvati are elegantly dressed. Ganga, a small female icon, and crescent moon, two of Shiva's attributes, rest on figure's head on his right and a large and rich ear-ring embellishes its left ear. In the style of dressing hair, jewelry, ornamentation and physiognomy this distinction is easily perceptible.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.