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Jet-Black Pashmina Shawl with Indricate Needle Embroidery By Hand

Jet-Black Pashmina Shawl with Indricate Needle Embroidery By Hand

There are not enough words in any language to describe the beauty and luxury of pashmina. This one-of-a-kind fabric is lighter than butter, warmer than freshly made toast. Each unit of this magnificent fabric takes an eye-watering proportion of time and skill to finish - from combing off the molt of the changra goat of the Kashmir and Tibetan highlands to spinning it into fabric, then dyeing and embroidering it, the expertise required at each stage of the process is endemic to the Kashmir valley. The shawls and sarees this results in, a gorgeous example of which you see on this page, are truly fit for the wardrobe of a queen.

It is pure pashmina, the colour of jet black dusk. Adding to the allure of the foundation black is the dense embroidery in the foreground. The colour palette is decidedly feminine - pinks, oranges, and reds with hints of blues and greens - such that it could go with a wide variety of evening sarees and suits. Zoom in on the work to appreciate the precision and symmetry with which it has been carried out, that also by hand. It is this rare skill with the needle, as well as the time and labour that have been put into this wearable work of art, that would make this pashmina shawl your most statement buy of the season.

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Yogini Plays The Veena

Yogini Plays The Veena

The Indian yogini is a female ascetic. She is one who has transcended and renounced all worldly pursuits, in her singular practice of ashtanga yoga. She desires nothing more than the supreme union of her jivatma with paramatma, which Patanjali has declared in his Yogasutra to be the very purpose of yoga and human life. The yogini is revered in Indian culture because of her superlative devotion, wisdom, and roopa, such as which are attainable only in the course of sustained yogic austerities. It is no wonder then that the portrayal of the yogini in Indian art, of which this one-of-a-kind sculpture is a fine example, is replete with a beauty that is superhuman, a fluidity of form that is to be found in no ordinary mortal.

She stands on an two-tiered inverted lotus pedestal as she strums on her veena. It is said that when a yogini bursts into music, she enchants nature itself. This yogini is clad in a dhoti that is tied beneath her navel and drops to well above her ankles. Layers of traditional Indian shringar clothes her upper body as well as her feet. She has a gorgeous silhouette, to which the stringed instrument she holds is a fine complement. Her full face is framed by kundalas and a crown that rests delicately on her head, beneath which is gathered all her hair. The glow on her skin, which is characteristic of yoginis, and the general dynamicism of the composition are proof of the sculptor's superb skill.

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Kailash Mansarovar Thangka (Brocadeless)

Kailash Mansarovar Thangka (Brocadeless)

The thangka is more than a painting. Sure, it is all homegrown fabric canvas and traditional pigments, framed in brocade and meant to be hung on the wall like a run-of-the-mill painting. However it is a work of great dharmic devotion as much as it is one of skill. It is the Newaris of Nepal, most of whom reside in the Kathmandu Valley and speak a Sanskrit-nishtha language, who paint these thangkas. Each thangka is a singular work of art that takes months to be finished, that also by a group of monks. One must have perfected the plethora of Buddhist symbols and motifs prior to composing one and leading the group that devotes itself to the thangka in question. The work that you see on this page is one such example of this endemic spiritual art, a work that is unique and powerful.

Usually, the central motif that constitutes the theme of the thangka is painted by the most experienced monk that leads the group. The symbols and motifs that complete the painting - the fire-wielding snake-dragons and other fauna included here, clouds, leaves, mountains, and rivulets - are done under his supervision by the junior monks. Seated Shiva and Parvati are leaning against each other, steeped in conversation. Solemn and gathered, their divine stance befits the luxuriance of this thangka. Statement-making jewel tones, a dusky black backdrop, the lush Himalayan landscape, this thangka is the very image of Kailash Mansarovar, the home of Shiva-Parvati.

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Coral-Crested Ganesha Ring

Coral-Crested Ganesha Ring

Ganesha is the most widely loved deity of the Hindu pantheon. He is adored for His childlike disposition, proof of which lies in His unflinching love of laddooes, and His propensity to grant blessings and boons. He has been fashioned from 18 K gold and made into a ring for the Ganesha devotee to wear and carry Him with oneself, resulting into a work of great finesse and value. The Ganesha silhouette is unmistakable - the pot belly, the elephant ear-flaps and trunk, and four arms (one of which is raised in blessing, and another most definitely cradling a big fat laddoo).

Despite the minuteness of the work and the delicateness of the medium of gold, the all-important iconography has not been compromised on. The multi-tiered crown on His head is elaborate, fit for His status as a divine prince. His clothing and shringar are replete - His legs in ardha-padmasana clad in a silk dhoti, long necklaces, and bracelets on all four arms. He is the son of Shiva, so a trishool (trident) tilak has been engraved at the base of the trunk. Right above it is a piece of finely polished coral, marking the crest of the Lord. Donning this simple item of jewellery would ensure that His blessings shower upon everything you undertake with the hand that wears it.

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Cream and Red Sambhalpuri Handloom Sari from Orissa with Ikat Weave

Cream and Red Sambhalpuri Handloom Sari from Orissa with Ikat Weave

A heritage saree straight from the handloom of Sambhalpur, this number would be a regal addition to your wardrobe. Sambhalpur is the home of Orissa's most sumptuous fashion, having been woven since centuries ago for the women of the upper castes. This one is a fine example of the traditional Sambhalpuri saree. The classic combination of cream field and vermilion border is set off by the shimmer of the foundation silk fabric, which is a hallmark of the region's fashion.

The ikar weave of this saree has been perfected over generations in local artisans families. A relatively recent development, this weave was developed to cater to the tastes of the local Muslim population as well as West Asian countries where it is exported. Zooming in on the border and the endpiece will allow you to take in the beauty and the finesse of this weave done in that gorgeous red colour. This saree is best teamed with some statement gold hand-me-downs and worn to ritual gatherings.

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The Solemn Garuda, With Snakes In His Hand And Horns On His Head

The Solemn Garuda, With Snakes In His Hand And Horns On His Head

Every deity in the Hindu pantheon comes with their own vahana, to which rule Lord Vishnu is no exception. Garuda is His vahana, a most powerful creature that combines human limbs and torso with a pair of gigantic wings and an all-piercing beak. Also called Garutman, His name means 'one who flies on the power of one's wings'. He is a widely revered deity in Nepal, where He is to be found at the door of every Vishnu temple. As could be gleaned from this exquisite Garuda sculpture, His roopa resembles the eagle. Sculpted with a great deal of skill and devotion on the artisan's part, this wood-cut composition is the very picture of divine power - a number of dangerous snakes in His control, horns and skull imagery on His crown, and the musculature of a yogi of the highest order.

The thing about Nepalese sculpture is that it is an inspired tradition. It is not only about aesthetics, but also about iconographical perfection. This is because each aspect of the chosen deity has its own significance, and the Nepalese artisan is known for his attention to detail. This Garuda murti is fashioned from wood, which is an expensive medium to work with. It has traditionally been used as an element of rich architectural constructions in ancient temples of the land. Indeed, this solemnly carved Garuda with its dark gold-undertones finish looks fit to be housed in an internal pillar or door-frame of a magnificent Vishnu temple. Zoom in on the highly expressive countenance, the unusual lotus pedestal, and the perfectly symmetrical work on the wings to take in the beauty of Nepalese workmanship.

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Buddha In The Upper Realms Of Dhyana, His Hands In Dharmachakra Mudra

Buddha In The Upper Realms Of Dhyana, His Hands In Dharmachakra Mudra

Images of the meditating Buddha abound, but there is something about this one. Made using the ancient batik painting technique, it depicts the seated Buddha right till the navel. He is clad in a robe of deep, vivid red that hangs loosely from the shoulders against His radiant ivory skin. His large eyes, beneath brows like the unshut wings of the albatross, are closed, indicating that He is steeped in meditation. His mouth is full and red, His lobes lengthened from His kundalas. His hair is braided and piled on top of His head. It is an inimitable composure of countenance - calm and gathered, almost powerful. The halo that has flared up behind His head resembles in form the third eye of the yogi.

A very complex process has gone into this seemingly simple painting. Batik painting originated in India a long time ago and involves waxing the foundation fabric, dyeing it using endemic pigments and techniques, and then dewaxing it. Each of these takes hours to be done to perfection, which result in a degree of beauty and perfection that could be gleaned from this painting. It is the batik technique itself that sets this image of the Buddha apart from others. His hands are in the dharmachakra mudra. In the lower background is a sea of light - alternating white and green and orange that the Enlightened One is seemingly merging into in the upper realms of dhyana.

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Padmapani Avalokiteshavara Gau-Box Pendant, Manjushri On The Cover, Made With Coral And Turquoise And Lapis Lazuli (Made In Nepal)

Padmapani Avalokiteshavara Gau-Box Pendant, Manjushri On The Cover, Made With Coral And Turquoise And Lapis Lazuli (Made In Nepal)

The gau box of Tibetan Buddhism is a one-of-a-kind dharmic implement. It is, simply put, a portable shrine inside which the devotee houses the icon of one's choice. The gau box that you see on this page houses none other than the resplendent Avalokiteshvara. It could be worn around the neck or the waist or the arm, with the subject of one's devotion keeping watch everywhere one goes. This unique gau box has been handpicked for the beauty and complexity of the handiwork - the instantly recognisable, sword-wielding Manjushri is superimposed on the filigree of the gau box cover.

More filigree is to be found inside the gau box, against which sits Avalokiteshvara. While the make of the Manjushri figurine is dominated by corals, a bunch of turquoises and lapis lazuli graces Avalokiteshvara. He is seated in poorna-padmasana, steeped in meditation within the precinct of His gau box. From the gorgeous filigree to the spiritual message it contains, this pendant is a fine example of Nepalese aesthetics and workmanship. Should you be spiritually inclined, it will add to your presence the calm, gathered aura of Avalokiteshvara.

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Tri-Color Five-Piece Patchwork Bedspread from Banaras

Tri-Color Five-Piece Patchwork Bedspread from Banaras

The beauty of dupion silk lies in its complex weaving technique - a fine warp against an uneven weft, the latter often being reeled from two different cocoons. The resulting finish is crisp and lustrous, of which this bedspread is a fine example. Handpicked from the looms of Banaras, it is made up of patchworked fabrics of multiple pastels. Blues and greens interspersed with reds and browns make for a combination that is earthy and natural, a refreshing retreat to come home to at the end of a long, hard day.

This bedspread set comprises of five pieces that includes two pillowcases and two cushion-cases over and above the cover. Done in matching colours, the patchwork on each of the pieces is seemingly hemmed in by a thick maroon border. This bedspread is going to set the tone in your bedroom for quiet and calm, which would make for a restful mood when one most needs it. The interesting texture of the dupion silk as well as the ethnic glamour of this bedspread set would be sure to remind you of home every day.

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The Confident Gaze Of The Enchantress, The Mohiniattam Dancer (Dances Of India)

The Confident Gaze Of The Enchantress, The Mohiniattam Dancer (Dances Of India)

It is to the patronage of the young King Swati Tirunal, followed by the arduous efforts of art poet laureate Vallatol, that mohiniattam was preserved as the only solo dance form among India's classical dances. It originated in the temples of Kerala, wherein female dancers assisted in temple ritual by adding gestures to the chants of the priests. This evolved into a dance form that is markedly expressive and feminine. Such is the doll that you see on this page, a classical mohiniattma dancer who enchants onlookers with the seductive beauty of her skill. Indeed, the word 'mohiniattam' translates to 'the dance of the seductress', and this exotic doll has all the characteristics of the celestial mohiniattam dancer.

Celestial, because it is said that Lord Vishnu Himself had transformed into a woman of exceeding beauty in His quest to play with the minds of the asuras. This happened in connection with both the samudramanthan and the Bhasmasuravadh episodes. This lifelike doll captures the grace of mohiniattam to perfection. Beneath the signature cream-coloured gold-bordered silk drape are a pair of long legs caught amidst dexterous motion. Her delicately moulded hands are arranged in the hamsaysa and the ardhachandra mudras. Her gold shringar complements her pristine complexion to perfection. From her lifelike, skilfully made-up face to the stance of her lissome roopa, this doll on a shelf would add dynamicism to your space.

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