The cool blue of Her skin, as well as the blue of the background, is set off by the huge flame that is Her halo. From beneath the crown comes a gaze that could only be described as sthirasnigdha (Sanskrit word used to convey stability and calm), despite the signature determination and ferocity that one cannot overlook. Her form, including that cascade of black tresses and the rest of Her beauteous features, is divine and maternal. Her gaze is directed at the devotee, like the mother's to Her child - that gaze will shield the dharmee from adharm, and burn down the adharm in the adharmee. This unusual Kali Devi oil is proof that the svaroopa of the Mother lies primarily in Her eyes.
The statement pendant completes the beauty of the chunky choker. A mass of more of those matching silver gems, punctuated with copper gold and lined with a miniscule row of black drops. Similar drop gems characterise the accompanying danglers. Note the preceding gold-coloured, silver gem-studded temple-like structures that add to the traditional ethnic appeal of the whole set. The rest of the danglers comprise of tinier versions of the same black and silver gemstones, arranged to form a petal motif before the drop and vine-and-drops throughout. Teamed with a neutral coloured evening saree, this kundan necklace set would make you feel like a queen at gatherings with a traditional spin.
What sets this apart from your run-of-the-mill evening suits is the pink jacket it comes with. Long-sleeved, front-open, almost kissing the hem of the kameez itself, it is superimposed with silver crewel-embroidery that would glitter as you motion. With that being the centre of attention of the whole dress, the dupatta has been kept relatively simple and fuss-free. It is a length of translucent pink chiffon that you may effortlessly throw over the shoulder such as not to block the statement-making jacket from view. Wear this on an evening do with some chunky, youthful silver pieces, and this suit would make you the talk of the town for some time to come.
The iconography of Shiva's wife is replete in this independent Devi Uma composition. The crown that towers above Her head has been sculpted with superb detail, and adds to Her gorgeous stature. Her countenance and the features that grace it are full and lotus-like, a signature of contemporary Chola-style bronzes. Long, vine-like kundalas and a bunch of necklaces complement the dhoti of thin silk that reveals rather than conceals Her yogic musculature. The pedestal is an important aspect of Indian religious sculptures. This one comprises of multiple tiers of lotuses of downward ascending surface area. Indeed this work of superfine art is fit to be consecrated and housed in a temple in your space.
This lifelike oil captures the essence of bridal sorrow, an unhappiness so ungovernable that dharm has assigned it to be borne by the woman. The figure you see in this painting is of a nubile woman, married off by her parents into probably a village like theirs some distance away. Her mouth is pursed; pensiveness, writ large on her beauteous brow. For probably the first time amidst the bustle of her new duties, she has had a moment to herself. How far away she is from everything she has ever know or that has made her who she is. She is glowing in the quiet afternoon light that has stolen into the kitchen. Any moment now the turmoil within her would come out in a torrent of womanly tears.
While Banarasis have traditionally been made on endemic naksha drawlooms, it is now jacquard equipment that produces the characteristic weave. The exquisite yellow of the foundation is superimposed with booties of red thread and pale gold brocade. More of that brocade could be found on the border and at the edge of the endpiece, a superbly intricate weave done in a gracious tone that complements the base colour of the saree. Wear this on the choicest of ritual gatherings to turn the maximum number of heads.
Indeed, these danglers would make you look like a Hindu devi Herself (in Hindu dharm, every woman is considered a svaroopa of the devi). Teamed with a South Indian-style pooja saree that come with thick gold borders, these danglers would look great at a gathering with a traditional spin. Zoom in on the work to appreciate the precision with which this rare skill has been executed - the statement lattice-work, the gorgeous leaf- and petal-motifs, and the richly coloured glass gems that have been used to complete the work. Do not miss the super-miniscule pearls at the absolute bottom of the danglers.
Amidst the sun-bathed moors, the rulers of svargaloka stand before the powerful Devi with their hands folded in namaskaram. Brahma, the chaturmukha and the chaturbhuja (a kamandalu and the pothi in the posterior hands), is followed by Vishnu whose complexion gives away His Krishna avatara, Shiva in His signature loincloth and the naga wound around His neck, and finally Indra with a thousand eyes on His skin. Apart from Shiva's moon-trimmed jatamukuta, the studded gold crowns sprouting blooming pink lotuses of the entities in this watercolour are characteristic of Basholi paintings.
The symbolic kettle that you see on this page is therefore more than a work of art. It is sculpted from copper and gilded with gold and silver, with a finesse that is the hallmark of Nepalese workmanship. Embossed on the surface are images with a spiritual significance in Tibetan Buddhism, such as the four harmonious brothers. However, there is more to this buy than just the irresistible aesthetics. The kettle conveys the lesson that through anger, your mind is indicating to you that something needs to be done. You need to take control of the situation that angers you instead of venting it and doing away with whatever harmony that is left. Like taking the kettle off the fire, that decisive action - if it is the right one - would satiate your anger such that you would no longer suffer from it.
Traditionally phulkaris were not commercially produced. They were the domain of women who made these wonderful textiles at home for the daughters and other women of the subsequent generation. It is no wonder then if this gorgeous dupatta, should you decide to buy this, becomes a precious hand-me-down in your family. It is long and luscious, decidedly youthful in its appeal, and fashionable in a way that will not fall out of trend. An ethnic classic, this piece of folk fashion would more of an investment in your wardrobe.
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