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|Time required to recreate this artwork:||20 to 24 weeks|
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Though largely the repeat forms except different sections of ‘prabhavali’, one varying from the other in the process of evolution, and variously conceived sitting postures of Ganapati images and the seat-types, the artifact breathes an astonishing sense of variety and freshness. Coloured appropriately, in deep tones or light, and with taste and elegance, the wood-plank looks more like a painted canvas rather than a wood-piece. The palette is not so wide as wide is its colour-effect. A rare application of mind, the light infiltrating from behind has been wondrously manipulated. Around the divine images it creates a glistening frame – an aura of brilliance, while with dense foliage comprising the fire-arch it only enhances a little of its glow.
Besides a base, a traditional lotus pedestal consisting of stylized lotuses and strings, and the ‘prabhavali’ consisting of dense foliage, the entire wood-panel is divided into three parts which are practically the three sections of the ‘prabhavali’. The structure of sides apart, each of these three sections is divided by a partitioning superstructure comprising an arched apex which on its top is a flat roof and comprises the base for the upper section. Thus, the apexes of the lower and middle sections constitute also the bases for the middle and the upper-most sections. The apex of the upper-most section is far more elaborate, though comprising the identically styled vines and leaves, and the similar curls and curves. It has perching on it a pair of golden parrots with tails larger than the parrots usually have.
Three images of Lord Ganesha, conceived with four arms carrying a symbolic goad and noose in his upper two hands and the broken tusk and a mango fruit-type object in the normal two, enshrine these three sections of the ‘prabhavali’ – symbolically the three worlds, as the ‘prabhavali’ is symbolic of the entire cosmos that Lord Ganesha pervades by his auspiciousness. Except their seating postures and seats, all three icons have almost identical features. They have an alike towering crown, broken tusk, trunk turned to left and a sugar-ball contained in its twist, a ‘tripunda’ mark and third eye on the forehead, large ears, small eyes, moderately inflated belly and alike pleated and dyed ‘antariya’. However, while the Ganapati image in the bottom section and that in the upper-most are in ‘lalitasana’, the image in the middle section is in a mode of dance. Though in ‘lalitasana’, the upper-most image has been carved as seated on his mount Mouse, the image in the bottom section has a lotus seat under it. The lotus comprises the seat, or rather base, also of the dancing Ganapati, the image enshrining the middle section.
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.