This spellbinding bronze Deepalakshmi is a superfine
representation of the aesthetic qualities of Hoysala artwork in which the
human, especially the female body finds an alluring depiction. The lady with
the lamp, Deepalakshmi is standing on the topmost section of a multi-leveled
circular pedestal with several Diyas (lamps). An inverted lotus platform serves
as the stage for the beauty of the bronze Deepalakshmi to be revealed. The
Deepalakshmi has a well-proportioned body adorned with a regal dhoti (lower body garment), Kuchabandha (breast ornament), and a variety of ornate
pieces of jewelry. Her hair is tied in a neat pleat ornamented with fineries.
The youthful lady has an angelic countenance with perfect features and animated
eyes framed by the curling locks of hair on her forehead. A mynah bird is
perched on her left shoulder; an attribute seen in South Indian iconography.
One can merely imagine the glorious scenic beauty of this superfine brass
Deepalakshmi, when the multitude of diyas around her and the one in her hand is
lit, creating an otherworldly divine atmosphere.
Lakshmideepa, Kamakshi (one with lovely eyes),
Amman (mother), or Pavai Vikkau (lady lamp), these terms are used to denote
magnificent South Indian lady figures in sculpture, holding a large oil plate
in their hands, serving as stunning oil lamps in the sanctum sanctorum of a
shrine. The prefix “Lakshmi” attached to Deepa (lamp) is a
generic Indian term for youthful maidens or women of the household, who are
believed to embody auspiciousness and fertility, aspects related to the Goddess
Lakshmi. Placed in proximity to the central deity, Deepalakshmi lamps are
votives, donated by affluent devotees after fulfilling their wishes.
Standing eternally in the court of their lord, a
Deepalakshmi represents the woman of the household and her unbounded
gratefulness toward the god for their benevolence toward her family.
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