Whatever her seat, or attributes that she carried, she has always been conceived as 'parama jyotirupa' or 'jyotiswarupa' the one possessed of absolute beauty. Puranas have perceived her also as endowed with timeless youth, lustre of crores of moons, fragrance, tenderness, and grace of lilies, and snow's soothing softness. As for her body colour, Puranas have primarily two versions : one, considering her 'shubhra-varana' white-complexioned; and the other, 'shyama-varana' black-complexioned, the emphasis of the former being on her purity, and of the latter, on her representing 'Prakriti' the female creative power, which being a blend of 'Sattva' white, 'Rajas' red, and 'Tamas' black, has the colour of cosmos. Here, two of her four hands are engaged in playing 'vina'. The entire composition seems to echo and sway with its melody. In her other two hands she is holding the 'japamala' and the book.
This excellent and a more accomplished image of the goddess, carved from fine timber, satisfies all parameters of a votive image, though at the same time it is also an excellent work of art thus, a thing for both, altar and drawing hall. In its iconography, the artist has adhered to classical norms in regard to the height, number of arms, attributes carried in hands, complexion, vehicle, and similar other aspects of the goddess. Wherever contradictions, the artist conciliated and synthesised them. Her rounded face, elongated but half shut eyes as if in trance, prominent eye-lashes amicably aligning with the nose, cute lips with a gentle smile floating on them, pointed chin, short neck, temptingly modelled breasts with finial-like nipples surmounting them, long arms, fine long fingers with well defined nails, subdued belly and narrow waist, and posture of dance, all are reminiscent of the golden era of India's sculptural art. In anatomical proportions, facial features, and over-all composition, the statue is simply unique. She has shoulders broad enough to adequately assimilate four arms on them. The image appears to emit a melody, but not produced by her fingers playing on 'vina'; rather, it is born of the intense emotionality and life-vigour with which the image of the goddess seems to vibrate.
Lotus, book and 'japamala' rosary were attributes of Brahma. Being associated with him as his daughter or spouse, Saraswati inherited them from him. Fully absorbed, the goddess is playing on her 'vina'. Though closed, from her eyes reveal the 'bhava' of quiescence and inner bliss. She has around her mid-region, frilled covering consisting of beads; on her waist a bejeweled girdle; and, on her ears, elegant 'karnaphools' earrings. She is wearing an elaborately adorned towering crown. Various conventionalised ornaments, often used in votive iconography, adorn the figure of the goddess. The deity has her right foot planted on the peacock and the left on the fully blooming lotus, which lies on a 'vedika' consisting of two rows of conventionalised lotus motifs.
This sculpture was carved in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu. The artist is Shri R. Ganapathy.
Click here to view a high resolution image of the sculpture (2.2 MB).
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend