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Sculptures > Wood > The Shyama-varna Vagdevi popularly known as Saraswati
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The Shyama-varna Vagdevi popularly known as Saraswati

The Shyama-varna Vagdevi popularly known as Saraswati

The Shyama-varna Vagdevi popularly known as Saraswati

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South Indian Temple Wood Carving

1.9 ft x 1.1 ft x 0.5 ft
5.2 kg
Item Code:
ZC84
Price:
$375.00   Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
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The Shyama-varna Vagdevi popularly known as Saraswati

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Viewed 10106 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
This unique piece of wood carving represents the South Indian or rather Andhrite vision of Vagdevi, the goddess of learning. Invoked in Rigveda as Vak, Vagdevi is one of the two prime Aryan female deities. The other one Ushas, the harbinger of the day-light, is no more now a part of Hindu pantheon. Born of Brahman, initially meaning 'Mantra', Vak was Mantra's inherent power through which all created things manifested themselves. She had thus her origin from Brahman and it was also by her that the entire creation born of Brahman manifested itself. In Puranik era hence, when the Rigvedic 'Brahman', the 'mantra', was personified as Brahma, one of the gods of the Great Trinity, Vak, deified in consequence as Vagdevi or Saraswati, was conceived as both Brahma's daughter and his consort.

'Parama jyotirupa' or 'jyotiswarupa' Saraswati has been conceived in Hindu scriptures as possessed of timeless youth and lusture of crores of moons, fragrance, tenderness and glow of sandal, lilies and lotuses and snow's soothing softness. She has been conceived hence in most of the Puranas as possessed of pure milky white complexion. However contrarily, a number of Puranas consider her as possessed of 'shyama-varna' or black complexioned, and the entire South or more particularly the Andhrite devotees of Saraswati, adhere to this other Puranic vision of the Vagdevi. They prefer her images in deep black, wood, stone or even bronze. As 'Prakriti', the female creative energy, Saraswati to them has black complexion, which arrived at by a blend of Sattva's white, Rajas' red and Tamas' black, is essentially the colour of cosmos. It is the same with her iconography. They have a preference for her youthful figure pulsating with vigour and beauty. Instead of her scriptural four arms she has a maiden's normal two hands and features prescribed for a nayika under Indian classical aesthetic tradition.

This magnificent image of the goddess carved from ebony wood has in its finish the touch of ivory, crystal's glow and marble's transparency. Artist's adherence to the parameters prescribed by Mandana in his Shilpashashtra and by other texts seems to be most perfect. As prescribed the figure of the goddess is possessed of a height twentyfour times of the length of her face. Her elongated eyes, prominent eye-lashes, sharp nose, small cute lips, receding chin, heavy neck, temptingly protruding breasts surmounted with finial-like nipples, long arms, well defined fingers, bottle-neck like narrow waist, deep navel and heavy hips all are reminiscent of the golden era of India's sculptural art. It is not merely the action of her fingers on her vina that the music seems to emit but also a unique kind of emotionality that the image of the goddess seems to vibrate with life.

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..

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