The Ethereal Devi Tara

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The queen of the Buddhist heavens, Devi Tara is the embodiment of the feminine principle. She is the merciful and compassionate mother, and gives birth to life and affirms it with Her nourishment. She is like a mother to Her devotee, extending to the mortal Her unconditional love and protection from adharma that permeates the cycle of existence as we know it. In Her beauteous face and Her queenly stance, the Devi Tara has all these qualities writ large in this composition.

She stands on the receptacle of an inverted lotus, as is the norm with peace-loving deities of the Hindu and Buddhist pantheons. Her body language is dynamic, Her gaze turned lovingly to the realm (existential) beneath Her. Her sashes and the ample train of Her silken dhoti float about Her lithe, yogini’s form. On the palms of both hands is the cakshurindriya, as is characteristic of Devi Tara’s many roopas. In Her left hand is a blooming, larger-than-life lotus. The solid gold of the devi’s roopa, from her skin to Her lush clothing and vine-like crown and ornaments, is punctuated by the dreamy black of Her shoulder-length curls.

This murti is a fine example of Nepalese handiwork. Gold-gilded copper being an elite medium, Buddhist lord- and devi-sculptures like this one are signature collectibles for the spiritually inclined.

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Item Code: ZEM716
Copper Sculpture gilded with 24 Karat Gold
Height: 15.5 inch
Width: 5.7 inch
Depth: 8.5 inch
Weight: 3.38 kg
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How are Nepalese copper statues made?

Nepalese statues and sculptures are best known for their unique small religious figures and ritual paraphernalia for over two thousand years. These are mainly cast in copper alloy. Nepal draws influences from the artistic styles of Buddhism and Hinduism, and therefore the sculptors of the country specialize in making the icons of both these religions. Over the years, Nepalese sculptures evolved into their own distinctive iconography. Some characteristic features of these sculptures that differ from other pieces are exaggerated physical postures, youthful and sensual features, languid eyes, wider faces having serene expressions, and ornate flourishes. The Buddhist deity icons of Nepal have tremendous demand in countries such as China and Tibet for ritual purposes in their temples and monasteries.

Nepalese statues and sculptures have a high copper content and therefore develop a slightly reddish patina on the surface as they age. However, the most unique feature of Nepalese copper statues is their decorative detailing. The pieces are heavily gilded and sometimes inlaid with semi-precious stones. This embellishment protects them from getting tarnished. The traditional lost-wax method for casting Nepalese copper statues remains the most practiced technique in Nepal for many centuries. This process involves many steps and requires skilled artists.

The first step in lost-wax sculpting is to make a wax replica of the desired Buddhist deity to be cast in copper. This replica is created by hand and therefore needs excellent artistic skills otherwise fine features will be lacking.

Once the wax replica is made, it is then coated with a special mixture of clay with a brush. This layer of clay is hardened when left to dry. A small hole is made on the base of the wax mould so that the wax flows away when it is heated.
At this stage, a hollow mould in the shape of the deity is obtained.

This is the time to pour liquid copper into the hollow mould which is then allowed to cool and harden inside a container of cold water. When the liquid metal has hardened, the mould is removed and the statue within is revealed.
The artist works on the details of the statue using various tools. It is then polished to get a shiny and lustrous surface.

Now comes the most important part of Nepalese art which is gold gilding. This is done by the traditional fire gilding method. A mixture of mercury and 18K gold is applied on the surface of the statue and heat is applied using a flame torch. The result is that mercury evaporates along with impurities, leaving a pure 24K gold finish.

The lost-wax method of sculpting is the most preferred technique

for artists to cast a metallic statue having intricate details. Since Nepalese copper sculptures require extraneous effort for giving a majestic look by adding special embellishments, it takes several weeks to complete one masterpiece. A 24K gold gilded copper sculpture retains its brilliant luster for many years and appears as like before. Nepalese sculptures continue to remain one of the finest specimens of the art of the East that have a strong aesthetic appeal that other sculptures cannot match.
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