In this luxuriantly inlaid brass statue, the devi's celestial form has been portrayed with considerable precision. She is standing on an inverted lotus pedestal, which is typical of iconography of the east, but the richly coloured inlay of each petal and the complex work along the rim of the base render this one-of-a-kind. The intricacies of Her raiment are indicated by variation in the inlay. Her shringar is replete with generous proportions of gold - emerging from Her lobes, across Her gracious torso, dangling on Her arms and wrists and delicate ankles. Indeed She is the wife of Brahma Himself: Her realm (knowledge) is the precursor to His creative prowess. She strums with Her lovely hands an exquisite veena.
Her silvery fair complexion is highly characteristic of Her. She exudes a halo that shines behind Her shy tresses bunched up behind Her head. A towering crown, its sumptuous inlaid beauty in keeping with the rest of the murti, is balanced on top. The handsome features of Her face, Her divine brow exude superlative wisdom and bliss.
The much-revered Shiva parivar comprises of His wife, Parvati, and Their 2 sons, Ganesha and Kartika. Shiva Himself takes centrestage. His two posterior arms are holding divine weapons to battle adharma; He raises one anterior hand in blessing, while with the other He secures the lovely Parvati on His lap. She is also seated in lalitasana, and holds in Her hand a weapon. The harmonious, self-sufficient unit of life that They form together is superbly expressed in the way Their respective silhouettes have been made to align with each other by the artisans. Their intricately crafted, perfectly symmetrical crowns tower above Their heads, Their silk dhoties and ample shringar fit for the celestial realm They belong to. Seated in union on a layered lotus pedestal, with the graceful much-devoted Nandi sitting at the base, They form a complete picture of blissful togetherness.
They are flanked by Ganesha and Kartika, each of Whom has been sculpted with Their iconographies intact. From Ganesha's adorable elephant head, the baby fat on His form, and the humungous laddoo in His hand; to Kartika's radiant handsomeness and the sublime proportions of His form. Like Their parents, Their shringar is flawless and Their stance that of great benevolence and blessing. They are each on a much smaller layered lotus pedestal, which together with Shiva-Parvati's seat are placed on an elaborate stand decorated with petal engravings. The aureole equals it in maginificence. The sheer detailing on each layer - the outermost wave-like curves, followed by the twisted lotus petals, the smooth rim as if of a halo, more twisted petals, and two rings engraved with rangoli-esque motifs - sets this ensemble apart from run-of-the-mill enshrined Shiva-parivar statues.
A stateliness characterises this composition of Shiva. His gaze is powerful, directed straight ahead, which is matched by the dignified stance of the wide-hooded cobra that sits on His shoulder. From within the layers of His voluminous tresses that reach well below the shoulders emerge a couple of gigantic kundalas that dangle from His large lobes. The skill that has gone into sculpting this part of the statue is considerable. Each strand of the lord's hair has been defined. A sliver of the moon is balanced at the hairline, behind which towers His signature jatamukuta that is seemingly held in place by another snake. Amidst His tresses resides Ganga, who is said to have passed through there prior to descending onto the North Indian plains. A hand raised in blessing, on the open palm of which is tattooed an image of the sacred syllable, and the kamandalu He holds in the other complete the picture.
While the silhouette juts out in the shape of a broad shoulder on Shiva's side, it descends into a soft curve on Parvati's. Note the finesse of Her fingers, giving it away that She plays some divine melody on Her veena. One of Shiva's hands rests on the back of His trusty Nandi, a popular stance of the deity, while the other holds up the goad of dharma. Luxuriant adornments, starting from the neck to the navel, wind around the undulations of the torso that is skilfully carved in accordance with the essence of each deity that makes up the composite. While the hem of Shiva's dhoti lies mid-thigh, leaving the glorious musculature of His limb exposed to the devotee's view, Parvati's supple shape is draped over till the distinctly narrower ankle. Each of Ardhanarishvara's wrists and ankles is clad in bangles.
The one-of-a-kind pedestal of this sculpture makes this a must-buy. With the usual lotus petal motif etched on to the surface, it is like a circlet of freshly plucked lotuses placed atop a gigantic inverted one.
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