Not in his figure, body’s curves or twists, or the feet’s gait, the melody seems to have descended within transforming into deep divine quiescence defining, besides the bearing of his face, his entire being. More than any other dimension it is in its mystique, in its power to sublimate, to transport the mind into deep thoughtfulness, that the statue seeks its distinction. The statue represents Lord Ganesha playing on his instrument with his normal right and left hands, while holding his upper right, in ‘abhaya’ – gesture of granting freedom from fear, and upper left, carrying a conch. Strangely, this representation of Lord Ganesha, so fond of eating, does not incorporate ‘laddu’, his most favoured attribute, or even a mango or another fruit. The mouse, his mount, invariably accompanying him in most of his icons, is also missing. The only attribute that he is carrying is the Vaishnavite conch whereas Shiva’s son Ganesha is from Shaivite line. Except a trident mark on his forehead he does not have any Shaivite feature. The ‘vina’ is more often associated with Saraswati’s iconography. As Brahma’s consort Saraswati represents Vaishnava line, though sometimes she is also linked to Shiva.
This four-armed brass-image of Lord Ganesha, not holding any of his more usual attributes, elephant goad, battle-axe, or ‘laddu’ but just a conch, not his characteristic attribute, has been cast as sprawling on a large rectangular seat looking like a cushioned mattress. Raised on its end-drums he is holding the ‘vina’ over his legs and is playing on it with his normal two hands. He is putting on a richly adorned and elegantly pleated ‘antariya’ with a length greater than usual. Its extra breadth with lavish rich border lying scattered on the seat is exceptionally beautiful. Besides, he is putting on his shoulders and upper arms a rich sash, and on his neck, arms and wrists elegantly designed jewellery. He is putting on a majestic crown and has behind his face an elaborate halo. He has on his forehead a trident-like styled ‘tilaka’ mark besides the sacred syllable ‘AUM’ inscribed on the trunk’s top.
Broadly, the image of the elephant god has been conceived as single-tusked, an aspect of Ekadanta Ganapati, and pot-bellied, an aspect of Lambodara Ganapati, the two classical manifestations of Lord Ganesha, the former symbolising single minded devotion and zeal to undergo any sacrifice for his devotees, and the latter, symbolising immense treasures and oceans of knowledge that Lord Ganesha represented and bestowed upon his devotees. In his one tusked manifestation he accomplishes end of all dualities. Ekadanta Ganapati guides his devotees to right path, and as Lambodara Ganapati, he affords them all worldly riches and as also entire divine knowledge that leads to redemption.
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.