This murti has been handpicked for the brilliant handiwork of the artisan who has poured into it the entirety of his devotion to Buddha. His lissome proportions are fit for a divine being; so is the intricately engraved robe that descends down His shoulders. His beauteous countenance, framed with kundalas dangling from His long earlobes, is such as to inspire a meditative trance in the onlooker. The throne He is seated on is the mystical picture of His enlightenment. From the elaborate aureole, the silhouette of which resembles wave layered upon wave, carved with a number of celestial beings; to the multi-tiered pedestal. Note the ethereal vines and creatures that have been sculpted onto each layer of the pedestal, the topmost one of which comprises of a row of lifelike lotus petals.
In fact, this is what defines the kilim weave. The background, a creamy ivory colour in the field and pastel reds and oranges in the panels along the edges, has been woven in mechanically afterwards. Given the vibrant colour palette, it would be an eye-catchingly colourful item to add to your home decor; a cheerful start to your day as you roll it out prior to your yoga practice. It is fashioned from pure homegrown jute, a durable medium that would last long enough for this piece to become a family heirloom. Do not miss the miniscule white tassels along the edges, adding to this dhurrie an earthy, home-like appeal.
Devi Tara is the spiritual protectress against the "eight great terrors" (as lore would have it), each of which is symbolic of spiritual impediments: lions (pride), elephants (delusion), fire (anger), snakes (envy), robbers (misguided notions), captivity (avarice), shipwreck (attachment), and demons (self-doubt). She is as much a virgin and a queen as She is a mother. Her virginity has little to do with the western theological emphasis on womanly chastity. Devi Tara's is a purity of the metaphysical level; She is unstained by the gross and the mundane. She arises out of the void as whole and independent. This mask of the wondrous Buddhist Devi inspires the devotee - its superbly precise handiwork does justice to Her visualisation.
A peacock with an elaborate, layered plumage constitutes the foreground. Its tiny body is made up of motifs, some of which are strategically filled in with paint, to create patterns that are seemingly hallucinogenic. On each corner of the bottom edge of the canvas is a scampering deer looking up at the gracious plumage in the centre. Two more peacocks with slightly less glamorous plumages grace the corners of the upper edge of the painting. The spaces amidst these gentle faunal motifs is filled in with more peacock feathers and coconut vines. Not how similar vines run along all four edges of the painting, which lends the composition some sort of a frame.
It is the kantha embroidery that dominates the border and pallu that gives personality to this saree. Kantha is the term for fabrics finished with running stitches done by hand, a technique perfected by Bengali women seeking to recycle old fabrics lying around the house. As could be made out from this saree, it results in homogeneous embellishments that are rich in colour and texture. The motif chosen is of a wedding procession, stitched repetitively in rows along the fabric. This would be a great saree to wear to daytime gatherings such as on casual luncheons with family and shopping trips with friends.
This South Indian temple-style wood sculpture depicts the Lord Shiva in the glory of His natya (dance). The hips and a knee are jutting out laterally, while the other leg is raised till the hem of the thigh-length dhoti. A great deal of detail has been carved onto the same, and dyed pastel reds and greens that complement the natural colour of the wood in question. A world of shringar graces His torso, and curvaceous vines descend from either side of His hips to even out the mass of the composition. Part of His tresses cascade down the back, cradling the kundalas dangling from His lobes; part of it flails on either side of His head as he motions, framing the implements in His posterior arms; and the renaming part of it is coiled into the jatamukuta that towers above His sharply chiselled brow.
Few images are as beauteous and inspiring of devotion as that of padmasana Sarasvati Devi. She is seated in lalitasana, with a hand raised in blessing. The heavy drape of Her pristine silk saree is superbly lifelike, the weight of the zari-laden border and booties lying against Her glowing roseate skin. A densely bejewelled crown adds to the glamour of Her pale verdant halo. Note the natural tones that make up the gradient of the sky in the background. It is as if the sun would be conspicuous any moment now in the lap of those mountains, illuminating the beauty of our subject in full measure.
The colour palette of this rug is what makes it a statement choice for home decor. A pale creamy red in the centre gives way to more full-bodied shades of the same colour. Lain along the length of your dining table or at the foot of your bed, it would set a gathered, almost sombre, tone to your space. It is the perfect conversation-starter for when you have guests over, given that it is a one-of-a-kind work of art made in a remote recess of North India. Having been handpicked for its beauty and workmanship, this is one buy you cannot go wrong with.
The dynamic brass figurine you see on this page is one such work of art. It captures a quintessential aspect of Indian tribal life. Foraging, hunting, and gathering are their primary means of livelihood, so it is imperative that their menfolk know their way around the woods and the mountains. This young man is clad in a coarse dhoti, short enough to facilitate agility, and a turban to hold back his curls. Bracelets, anklets, and danglers constitute his adornments, which are probably the hallmarks of his clan. From the stance of his arms, he seems to be taking a short-distance aim at a small unsuspecting animal. He has three more arrows behind his back, the tips of which are visible from above his lean shoulders. Note the sharp curves that define his face - the large eyes, the handsome nose, and the barely-there moustache.
The proportion of detail packed into this painting is superb, a hallmark of the painter's skill. The intricate carving of the wooden door, against which the subject leans almost helplessly. The pristine flowers in the foreground that add a generous hint of romance to the composition. Despite the limited perspective of this oil, a sense of distance is induced in the viewer (and it is not merely the lamp that is not within view). Her unblinking gaze reaches out into the distance, as she awaits the arrival of a mysterious entity. Clearly he loves him, and the wait for him is driving her mad. She clutches at the door in her ardour. Perhaps that hint of a smile on the corners of her lips are indicative of a deliciously familiar figure emerging in the distance.
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