Seated Green Tara, Under A Densely Engraved Aureole

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A stately Bodhisattva, seated under an aureole of luxuriant vine. Her long gracious limbs bear the dharmachakra mudra (gesture of existence as a cycle); one foot rests on the belly of a miniscule lotus growing along the midline of the wider lotus pedestal She is seated on. This is the identifying aspect of Devi Green Tara, one of the finest Bodhisattvas of the Vajrayana pantheon. The murti of Her that you see on this page is sculpted from copper, a specialty of Nepal’s sculptural tradition.

Devi Green Tara is steeped in yogic contemplation or samadhi. In its profoundest recesses She teeters on the verge of Enlightenment, but She withdraws for the sake of Her mortal lovers and devotees. Her chhavi (image) conveys no less - a relaxed, wide-set brow; large, gently shut eyes; and a compassionate mouth. Framed by the traditional five-spired crown and kundalas that reach all the way down to the clavicles, it is a face of striking beauty and serenity.

The aureole that surrounds Her super-slender form is breathtakingly beautiful. A perfectly symmetrical silhouette, densely executed engravings a hallmark of considerable skill on the part of the artisan. It is symbolic of the lush verdure of certain reaches of the Himalayas, where legend has it that these deities reside. The deep brown monotone of the composition adds to the solemnity of its mood.

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Item Code: ZEM695
Height: 11 inch
Width: 4.5 inch
Depth: 7.5 inch
Weight: 2.40 kg
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How are Nepalese copper statues made?

Nepalese statues and sculptures are best known for their unique small religious figures and ritual paraphernalia for over two thousand years. These are mainly cast in copper alloy. Nepal draws influences from the artistic styles of Buddhism and Hinduism, and therefore the sculptors of the country specialize in making the icons of both these religions. Over the years, Nepalese sculptures evolved into their own distinctive iconography. Some characteristic features of these sculptures that differ from other pieces are exaggerated physical postures, youthful and sensual features, languid eyes, wider faces having serene expressions, and ornate flourishes. The Buddhist deity icons of Nepal have tremendous demand in countries such as China and Tibet for ritual purposes in their temples and monasteries.

Nepalese statues and sculptures have a high copper content and therefore develop a slightly reddish patina on the surface as they age. However, the most unique feature of Nepalese copper statues is their decorative detailing. The pieces are heavily gilded and sometimes inlaid with semi-precious stones. This embellishment protects them from getting tarnished. The traditional lost-wax method for casting Nepalese copper statues remains the most practiced technique in Nepal for many centuries. This process involves many steps and requires skilled artists.

The first step in lost-wax sculpting is to make a wax replica of the desired Buddhist deity to be cast in copper. This replica is created by hand and therefore needs excellent artistic skills otherwise fine features will be lacking.

Once the wax replica is made, it is then coated with a special mixture of clay with a brush. This layer of clay is hardened when left to dry. A small hole is made on the base of the wax mould so that the wax flows away when it is heated.
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At this stage, a hollow mould in the shape of the deity is obtained.

This is the time to pour liquid copper into the hollow mould which is then allowed to cool and harden inside a container of cold water. When the liquid metal has hardened, the mould is removed and the statue within is revealed.
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The artist works on the details of the statue using various tools. It is then polished to get a shiny and lustrous surface.

Now comes the most important part of Nepalese art which is gold gilding. This is done by the traditional fire gilding method. A mixture of mercury and 18K gold is applied on the surface of the statue and heat is applied using a flame torch. The result is that mercury evaporates along with impurities, leaving a pure 24K gold finish. Image
The lost-wax method of sculpting is the most preferred technique for artists to cast a metallic statue having intricate details. Since Nepalese copper sculptures require extraneous effort for giving a majestic look by adding special embellishments, it takes several weeks to complete one masterpiece. A 24K gold gilded copper sculpture retains its brilliant luster for many years and appears as like before. Nepalese sculptures continue to remain one of the finest specimens of the art of the East that have a strong aesthetic appeal that other sculptures cannot match.
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