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Hindu Sculptures


Sculptures from India, representing the traditional iconography of this ancient land.

An essential element of Hindu ascetic ideal is the notion of total surrender and humility. This is the reason why authentic saints take to the begging bowl. Being exposed to the ultimate humiliation is a true test of their ability to maintain equipoise in the face of extreme adversity. Inspiring others to this supreme ideal, Lord Shiva wanders sky clad, the glowing radiance resulting from his extreme penance tempting the wives of the numerous sages attempting to emulate him, represented here by a diminished woman standing to his left.

A deftly cast Nataraja in multiple hues, with the king of dancers rendered red and golden; mask of Devi, wearing a sensuous nose ring and three widely open glowing eyes, adorned with a sumptuously bejeweled crown and Ganesha in the tribal idiom with the right leg folded over the left knee.

An avatar is defined as a descent of a deity to the earth in an incarnate form. Of course, such a manifestation has a divine purpose, which often goes much deeper than that implied on the surface. Lord Vishnu is said to have undertaken ten such avatars, for the sole purpose of redeeming mankind. Carved out by the talented hands of Shri R. Chellappan of Salem (Tamil Nadu), are the manifestations of Vishnu, rendered in ten different sculptures.


The same dexterous hands reveal their skill in depicting Krishna dancing over the hoods of the serpent Kaliya and a blissful mother suckling her infant, who in his turn struggles with the tip of her exposed bosom.

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The Oxford dictionary defines the word 'large' as copious, abundant and ample in spatial extent. In our context, the term denotes not only physical plenitude, but in greater measure an enhanced spiritual potency, magnified in so small measure by the deft, loving skill behind their creation. New sculptures include Krishna; in the common enough stance, one leg crossed in front of the other, kissing a flute with his lotus-like lips (mukha-arvind). The treatment however, is uncommon. With an almost feminine litheness, the lord's lissome limbs grant his form a suppleness, complemented richly by the body bent in the posture of three curves (tri-bhanga). The solar halo and high crown (kirtimukuta), both emphasize his exalted status in the Hindu pantheon. Of similar finesse is Vishnu standing erect on a high lotus pedestal, signifying that he but the cosmic axis supporting and preserving this world.
Then there is an awesome Ganesha, three headed, coloured a rich red, gyrating atop his blue rat. The whole composition is protected by the wrathful face of glory (kirtimukha), crowning the sculpture.
On a delicate pillow, Buddha cups his head on his right palm. It is the moment of his final nirvana. The giving up of the mortal form, to merge into the infinite.

Goddess Lakshmi accompanied by elephants is a common enough sight. Rarer is her image in a chariot being pulled by the same animal.
The Buddha in the bhumisparsha mudra with a finely detailed robe.
Mariamman - the Durga of South India, standing resplendent with a flaming aureole and towering crown
Kuan Yin, the gentle Buddhist goddess of compassion
Lord Vishnu in his cosmic form; Buddha with a canopy of the venomous hoods of the serpent Muchalinda.
Goddess Saraswati playing upon her veena, seated on a swan.
Buddha, his body erect, like a true yogi, blessing his devotees.

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Tantric sculptures

 


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