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|Time required to recreate this artwork:||6 to 8 weeks|
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Far different from above, completely puritan these images of Radha and Krishna, conceived on votive lines, are essentially transcendental. Revealing a different kind of divine aura they are obviously meant for a shrine : domestic or public. Radha, conceived in Vaishnava tradition for representing the amorous aspect of primordial female energy, has been portrayed in this marble image standing in Lakshmi-like formal posture, revealing grace but not amour, sustaining by her benevolence the entire creation. Hence, like Lakshmi she is holding her right hand in ‘abhaya’, a posture of protection and thereby to sustain, and is carrying in the left, a lotus, Lakshmi’s essential attribute. Her towering crown with a large ruby in the centre, style of ensemble, especially the sash laid as in the iconography of Lakshmi and great queens, first over the arms and then flanking on either side trailing down to the ground, its saffron dye with borders defined in gold and a rich waist-band in lustrous purple, all are close to Lakshmi’s form.
The posture of the eyes as supervising the earth essentially links the represented image with Radha portraying her concern for the earth and its inhabitants. The tradition perceives Radha as the sojourning self striving to unite with the Supreme Self that is Krishna. Thus, not merely concerned, Radha represents the earth and every self sojourning on it. Contrarily, Krishna’s eyes are upwards raised underlining Krishna’s distinction as the unearthly entity : Supreme Self. The artist by so blending with his form of Radha the aspect of Lakshmi seems to have aimed at multiplying the image’s divine aura for in her form as Radha she is essentially the ultimate model of love, and in her Lakshmi-like aspect she is the benevolent sustainer. Krishna is in his usual 'tri-bhang’, a three curved body posture, which is interpreted as his form pervading all three cosmic regions, the earth, the sky and the netherworld. In his hands he is carrying his most loved flute by the melody of which he drags the minds away from worldly temptations and lead to the path of redemption but the rapture that reflects on the faces of his images emitting the divine melody from their flutes is missing in this statue. Here his form is rather stoical.
These images, exceptional in their meaning, contextual breadth and divine aura, are outstanding also in their finesse, plasticity, modeling, precision, figural balance, artistic merit and worth. An example of rare skill, not only the deity-figures have been laid and balanced on relatively small pedestals but as skillfully are annexed to them the end-parts, usually mere corners, of the sashes of the two figures flanking on sides. Not like reliefs with back-support, all parts, even the thinly conceived sashes, crown-rings – ‘prabha’, Krishna’s peacock-feather and Radha’s crest, are chiseled by themselves without a base to hold and support, something like a metal-cast. The peacock feather comprising the crest of Krishna’s crown has been not only beautifully chiseled but as beautifully painted. With large eyes, round faces, fine features, tall necks and broad foreheads the figures have a highly balanced iconography; however what imparts to the statues rare quality and accomplishment is their painting part which attributes to stone the transparence, lustre and a touch of delicacy that are the properties of the finest silks and the gold-like rich metals.
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.