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Except that a prominently cast broken tusk and a pot-like inflated belly blend with this form of Lord Ganesha his aspects attributable to his Ekadanta and Lambodara manifestations – the two classical forms perceived in his iconography, the statue brings forth a completely novel form of his image. When in a dance mode his head is seen tilting to side but in this image the posture has been used for further re-assuring ‘abhaya’ which his normal right hand gesticulates. As the trunk turned to left would divert the eye to a direction different from the hand manifesting ‘abhaya’, the artist preferred turning it to right that not only supported the gesture of the right hand but afforded to the image a rare thematic unity making ‘abhaya’ its core theme and thrust. Lord Ganesha accomplishes everything : auspicious detriment-free beginning and completion of everything undertaken, protection of devotees, bestowing bliss and redemption from the cycle of death and birth, by his mere presence.
This image has, however, been differently conceived. With the forward thrust of his left leg and all three hands carrying weapons, especially the mace-carrying normal right hand revealing rare confidence, this image represents him as moving to act. Except in a dance pose or in his manifestation as the multi-armed Vira Ganapati the standing images of Lord Ganesha are very rare. This statue represents him not only as standing but in an operative posture as images of Lord Vishnu in his manifestation as world commander sometimes have. For further suggesting the pace or movement the artist has conceived the form of his mount mouse under his forward-thrusting left foot. Usually his multi-armed : four or more, images have the set of his arms, along with the attribute that each carries, composed formally ringing around the rest of the body. Different from this formal placing of arms this image has all four arms extended away from the rest of the figure, as when put to act, and the weapons carried in them are not just symbolic attributes but realistic in form and size.
Summarily, this medium size image of Lord Ganesha represents him as four-armed carrying in the upper right, his usual ‘parashu’ – battle-axe, in upper left, ‘trishula’ – trident, the most favoured attribute of his father Lord Shiva, in the lower left, ‘gada’ – mace, the most preferred weapon of Lord Vishnu, and the normal right is held in ‘abhaya’, the basic thrust and the theme of this image. This synthesis of Shaivite and Vaishnava elements reveals also in the auspicious forehead mark which is a Vaishnava ‘tilaka’ in form but styled like a trident, a Shaivite attribute. The image has been installed on an oval shaped two-tiered pedestal, the base comprising an inverted lotus moulding, and the upper, a plain moulding. Lord Ganesh is standing firmly on his right foot while the left is in a forward move. The image has been conceived with elegantly shaped and normally sized ears, one tusk broken and a large belly. He is wearing a moderately sized crown and has behind his head a moderate halo. Though cast in lustrous brass the artist has not removed the casting material settled in the recessed parts of the image, especially what served as the outlines defining various designs and patterns with which he has adorned Lord Ganesha’s ensemble, ornaments, attributes and even body-parts.
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.