Category Archives: sculpture of india

Chalukyas of ancient India : glimpses from Badami caves

        The Gupta dynasty and its successors had declined by the end of the 6th century and several changes took place in the Deccan and Southern India. By the time the Vakatakas had collapsed the early Kaluchuris dynasty established itself  around 520 A.D and flourished till 600 A.D.  The Kaluchuris are noted for Pasupata Saivism, a religious  movement in the Deccan and South Asia. They excavated the Jogeswari caves,Mandapeshwara,Elephanta and the Dhumar Lena at Ellora. They were overtaken by the Western Chalukyas of Karnataka. The Kadambas of Banavasi ruled in South Karnataka and were also overtaken by the Western Chalukyas, who were Dravidian and ruled from Badami (ancient Vatapi) and called Badami Chalukyas. Their ruler Pulakesin I fortified the area of Badami in 543 A.D.  Pulakesin II was its most notable ruler. He defeated Harsha on the banks of the Narmada. He expanded the kingdom to the northern limits of the Pallava kingdom. However in  642 A.D Pallava king Narasimhavarman occupied Badami for some time. Pulakesin died fighting. However the Chalukyas regained power under Vikramaditya I. Later Vijayaditya (696-733) ruled for 37 years and built many temples. Vikramaditya II ruled 733 – 744 A.D and was victorious over Pallava king Nandivarman II. He was a kind ruler, made temples at Kanchipuram too. Thus this early Chalukyan dynasty ruled most of the Deccan for 200 years; from mid 6th century to mid 8th century.  They were overthrown by the Rashtrakutas.This dynasty is remembered for it rock-cutting sculpture and later structural temples. The rock cut tradition is found at Aihole and Badami in Karnataka. The Ravana Pahadi Cave at Aihole was excavated in 550 A.D.

    The Badami caves were excavated under the Chalukyas who were patrons of art. Badami was the capital of the Early Chalukyas. Badami is 5 km from the Malaprabha river.The rock is sandstone and the caves are next to an artificial lake, Lake Agastya. There are four main caves.

Badami Caves, 6th century,Karnataka.

By SUDHIR KUMAR D – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28398778

File:Badami-cave-temple.JPG

Badami Caves,6th century, Karnataka.

By rajeshodayanchal (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

      Cave 1 is Saivite. The forecourt of the cave is barely there. A mandapa with pillars and a small shrine are part of the cave. The facade has frieze of dwarfs. The sculpture of Nataraja with Ganesha and a drummer is seen at this cave. The image is 5 feet tall. The different arms are in different mudras and holding different objects. Nandi, the bull, the vehicle of Shiva can also be seen.  Adjoining the Nataraja is Goddess Durga as Mahisasuramardini.  This cave also has Ganesha, Kartikeya sculptures carved on its walls. There is also Harihara (half Vishnu, half Shiva) with Goddesses Lakhsmi and Parvati. There is also a relief sculpture of Shiva as ardhanarishwara, the androgynous Shiva along with consort Parvati. The verandah which is 75 feet by 65 feet has four columns with various carvings of Shiva. two dwarapalas guard the entrance. The carvings of this cave are ornate with the figures having borders around them with more reliefs of birds and animals. The ceiling has Vidyadharas. Lotus motifs have been much used. The roof has five carved panels with shesha,  yaksha figure, apsara and lotuses.

Nataraja at Badami caves, 6th century,Karnataka.

By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France – Temple troglodytique dédié à Shiva (Badami, Inde), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37213652

Harihara,Badami Caves,6th century,Karnataka.

By Ismoon (talk) 21:54, 10 June 2013 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Cave 2 is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Steps lead to this cave which lies west of Cave 3. The entrance verandah is divided by four pillars with brackets further having sculptures. many Hindu deities are carved in this cave. Lord Vishnu as Trivikrama or Vamana is depicted in this cave. One foot is on the earth and one is directed north.Vishnu as Varaha too is depicted in this cave.  The dwarapalas of this cave are shown holding flowers. the columns are sculpted too showing mythological scenes including those from Lord Krishna’s life. The ceiling has a wheel with 16 fish spokes along with flying couples and swastikas.

Cave 3  is again a Vaishnavite cave with giant figures of Lord Vishnu as Trivikrama,Anantasayana,Varaha,Paravasudeva,Harihara and Narasimha. The cave faces north and is sixty steps away form Cave 2. The verandah is 70 ft. by 65 ft. and has four free standing pillars with carvings. this cave is fifteen feet high. There are fresco scenes on the ceiling,mostly mythological. Lord Brahma, the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati are depicted. The roof of the verandah has seven panels with paintings in circular compartments of Hindu deities and  images of dwarapalas.

Lord Vishnu,Badami Caves,6th century,Karnataka.

By Ismoon (talk) 17:00, 10 June 2013 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Sculpture2 near pillar bracket in Vaishnava cave temple no. 3 in Badami.jpg

Sculpture,Vaishnava cave temple,Badami Caves, 6th century.

By Dineshkannambadi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia CommonsImage result for badami caves

Carvings,Badami caves,6th century,Karnataka.

By Naane.naanu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Lord Vishnu as Trivikrama,Badami Caves,6th century,Karnataka.

By Ismoon (talk) 15:49, 12 June 2013 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Cave 4 is located to the east of Cave 3, higher than the other caves. It is dedicated to Jaina deities. Like the others this cave is also richly carved. The entrance to the cave has five bays with four columns having brackets.  The verandah of this cave is smaller compared to the other caves.A hall behind the verandah has two free and two joined pillars. The sanctum sanctorum is reached through steps where Lord Mahavira is depicted seated on a lion throne. On two sides are attendants holding fly whisks. Parshvanatha is carved with a snake hood. This cave has Indrabhuti Gautama, Bahubali,Padmavati and also yaksha and yakshi figures.Temple troglodytique jaïn (Badami, Inde) (14352949993).jpg

Lord Mahavira,Badami Caves, Karnataka.

By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France – Temple troglodytique jaïn (Badami, Inde), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37213634

Badami 06.jpg

Tirthankaras,Badami Cave 4, Karnataka.

Cave 5 is not yet dated, small natural cave and can be approached only by crawling with a sculpted figure seated on a throne.

File:Badami caves carvings16.JPG

Badami caves, 6th century,Karnataka.

By Raamanp (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

References :

  • The art of ancient India/Huntington,Susan,New York : Weatherhill,1985.
  • wikipedia.org

 

Posted by

Soma Ghosh

© author

 

Kushana art : views from ancient India

         Between the late 1st century to 3rd century the Kushanas ruled parts of Central Asia,northern India,ancient Gandhara (Pakistan and Afghanistan). They had arrived in Bactria in 135 B.C a branch of the Yuch-chih, called Kushana or Kusana; residents of Kan-su region of China. They were forced westward by policies of the Chinese Han dynasty. The Kushanas founded an empire. Their deities and kings were depicted on coins. They had issued coins in gold. The Kushanas believed that the emperor was a divine being. Shrines were built for them. The Mat shrine near Mathura is one of them.

      Kushana art depicts princes, royal portraits, images of Lord Buddha, scenes from his life etc. The art is influenced by Persian, Greco-Roman and Indian styles. The Gandhara and Mathura styles have unique characteristics. Under Kanishka I Buddhist art flourished, and many stone images were produced. He was responsible for the spread of Mahayana Buddhism from Gandhara to China.

        The Gandhara school of sculpture produced very natural looking figures influenced by the Hellenistic and Roman styles. Many  motifs were from Roman art, eg. vine scrolls,centaurs,cherubs bearing garlands etc. The sculpture was done in green phyllite and blue-green mica schist. Originally they were painted and gilded. The Buddha figures have youthful faces and resemble the Roman imperial statues.

       A gold coin below shows Oisho or Shiva with the ΑΔϷΟ (adsho Atar) on the left and Kanishka’s dynastic mark is seen on the right.

Kanishka I coin with Oisho/Shiva.

By I, PHGCOM, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2233710

 

 

Sculpture of a man, Kushana pertod.

Publiek domein, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=309963

      The sculpture below depicts from left to right, a Kushan devotee, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, Lord Buddha, the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and a Buddhist monk.

File:BuddhistTriad.JPG

An early Buddhist triad. 2nd-3rd century CE. Gandhara. Musée Guimet.,Paris.

By No machine-readable author provided. World Imaging assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

    The Mathura school evolved in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh with its unique stylisations. The figures were made in red mottled sandstone available from the quarries at Sikri.The Buddhas produces are large in size, standing in abhaya posture, head is shaven with a ushnisa; a small tiered protuberance in the form of a spiral. The drapery is close to the body and the left shoulder is bare. As the school developed the hair got depicted as flat, tight curls on the head. Jaina images are similar. The Kushana  kings are shown wearing long boots, a conical cap and a belted tunic.

File:Jain Votive Plaque made in spotted red sandstone, Kushana artefacts, National Museum, New Delhi 03.jpg

Jaina votive plaque, red sandstone,Mathura,National Museum, New Delhi

By Nomu420 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The women figures carved during this period were sensuously beautiful with stylised proportions, depicted on pillars and gateways, yakshi-like in association with trees as symbols of fertility  or in toilet scenes.

 

File:Toilet bearer, Kushana.BKBhavan.jpg

Toilet bearer, Mathura,Bharat Kala Bhavan, Varanasi.

By Ismoon (talk) 23:50, 23 January 2013 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Kushana period Sculpture of an intimate couple.jpg

Mithuna, 2nd century.

By Nomu420 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

      The sculpture below depicts Queen Maya with female attendants and guards, one of whom holds a sword,  sleeping on a bed covered with a textile having floral scroll motif. Maya dreams of a six-tusked elephant that descends from heaven to enter her womb through her right side. the broken disc would have had an elephant. This miraculous conception marks the Buddha’s final birth into the world.

Dream of Queen Maya. Gandhara.Met.jpg

Dream of Queen Maya , Schist, Gandhara, Kushan period, 2nd century,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

By Ismoon (talk) – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46247608

References :

  • The art of ancient India/Huntington,Susan,New York : Weatherhill,1985.
  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

Jain tirthankaras : depictions in art

 

       The term tirthankara in Jainism refers to a saviour who has crossed the samsara or cycle of birth and rebirths and made a path for others to follow. Jain cosmology mentions that the 24 tirthankaras grace this part of the universe in each half of the cosmic time cycle. A tirthaankara teaches dharma, the righteous path,organises sangha with sravakas and sravikas, male and female monastics. There teachings are similar and their blessings are available to all beings. The teachings are found in the Jain canons.

 The tirthankaras are arihants  or jinas meaning conquerors of one’s inner enemies such as anger, attachment, pride and greed. They attain kevalajnana or pure infinite knowledge.  Then they guide others through their darshana or divine vision and deshna or divine speech towards kevalajnana and moksha or liberation.

  A tirthankara is usually depicted in the seated padmasana or lotus position and in kayotsarga if depicted in standing posture. One can recognise them through their symbols because they look similar. The two sects of Jainas depict the tirthankaras differently. The Digmabara sect depicts them unclothed while the Svetambara sect depicts them with clothes and  some ornaments.

Rishabhanatha, 1st Jaina tirthankara,7-8th century, Uttar Pradesh.

By I, Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17563963

Parshvanatha,15th century,Ranakpur,Rajasthan.

By Gérard Janot – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=610652

 The 24 Jaina tirthankaras are Rishabhnatha,bull symbol,Ajitanatha,elephant symbol,Sambhanatha, symbol horse, Abhinandananatha,monkey symbol, Sumatinatha,goose as symbol, Padmaprabha, lotus symbol, Suparshvanatha,swastika, Chandraprabha, moon symbol, Pushpadanta, makara or crocodile symbol, Shitalanatha , srivatsa symbol, Shreyanasanatha, rhinoceros symbol, Vasupujya, buffalo symbol, Vimalanatha, boar symbol, Anantanatha, porcupine or falcon, Dharmanatha, vajra symbol, Shantinatha deer or antelope, Kunthunatha, goat symbol, Aranatha, fish symbol,Mallinatha ,kalasha  symbol, Munisuvrata, tortoise as symbol,Naminatha,blue lotus as symbol, Neminatha, conch as symbol, Parshvanatha, snake as symbol and Mahavira with the lion symbol.

Naminatha,Mathura,12th century, Government Museum,Uttar Pradesh.

By Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30298466

 

      The statues depicted below are on the Gopachal Hill in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh which were carved around 15-16th century A.D. by the Tomar dynasty rulers.  These colossal  statues were built during the reign of Tomar Kings  :Viramdev, Dungar Singh and Kirti Singh. the front side of the hill has 26 caves having rock cut carvings. The Parshvanatha  image is 47 feet in height, present in one of the caves, the Rishabhnatha one is 58 feet tall, outside of the Urvahi Gate,the Suparshvanatha image is 35 feet high in a cave in the padmasana posture. The images have survived in spite of invasions. Parshvanatha is believed to have delivered a deshna or discourse on Gopachal Hill where the Gwalior Fort also stands.

File:247 Gwalior.jpg

 Jain tirthankaras, 15th-16th century,Gwalior,Madhya Pradesh.

By YashiWong (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

        As per Jain beliefs time has no beginning and end. The tirthankaras were royal figures and Jaina texts have their past lives’ records.  The first tirthankara Rishabhanatha is believed to have founded the Ishkavaku dynasty from which 21 other tirthankaras also rose over time. Two tirthankaras; Munisuvrata, the 20th, and Neminatha, the 22nd belonged to the Harivamsa dynasty.

File:Lord Mahavir Gold.jpg

Mahavira, gold statue.

By Sidparakh (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The 24 Jain tirthankaras, painting,19th century,Jaipur.

See page for author [Public domain ], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

References :

  • The peaceful liberators : Jain art from India/Pal, Pratapaditya, Los Angeles : LACMA,1996.
  • wikipedia.org

 

Posted by :

 

Soma Ghosh

 

©author

Prithvi in art : some images of Goddess Earth

            Prithvi or Goddess Earth is revered in Hinduism and some branches of Buddhism. She is Mother Earth. She is also associated with the cow. Prithu, a form of Vishnu milked her as a cow. In the Rigveda she is addressed along with the sky or dyaus pita and she is prithvi mata. She is a national personification in Indonesia, where she is known as Ibu Pertiwi. Pṛithvi Sukta or Bhumi sukta is a  hymn in  the Atharvaveda dedicated to Prithvi. As per Buddhism Prtihvi protects and is witness to Gautama Buddha’s enlightenment. The Buddha is seen in bhumisparsa mudra or earth touching gesture at many places.

     The sculpture below is in high relief and is carved in a shallow niche at Udaigiri in Madhya Pradesh. The relief depicts Varaha, the boar incarnation of Vishnu, rescuing the Earth Goddess ,Bhu devi or Prithvi from the engulfing ocean. Varaha lifts Bhu Devi on his massive shoulder, his foot subduing a naga who folds his hands in obeisance,while gods and sages surround Varaha in recognition of the miracle. A circular lotus flower appears above the god’s head.

File:WLA lacma Varaha the Boar Avatar of Vishnu Mathura.jpg

Varaha with Bhu devi,sculpture, red sandstone,3rd century,Mathura,LACMA,USA.

By Wikipedia Loves Art participant “ARTiFACTS” [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

File:Udayagiri 8-11.jpg

 

Varaha lifting Bhu devi or Prtihvi,5th century, Udayagiri Caves, Madhya Pradesh.

By Michael Gunther (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

            The sculpture below too depicts the Varaha, incarnation of Vishnu. Goddess Prithvi is also depicted; being lifted by Varaha in this sculpture.  The sculpture is located at inner walls of the sanctum area of the Lakshmana temple.

Image result for prithvi goddess earth

Varaha with Prithvi, Lakshmana temple,12th century,Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh.

By Rajenver (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Prithu - Crop.jpg

Pruthu chasing the goddess Earth or Bhu ,illustration, Bhagavata-purana,Guler,18th century.

By Attributed to: Manaku, Indian, ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Varaha avtar, killing a demon to protect Bhu, c1740.jpg

Varaha killing demon Hiranyaksha and lifting Bhu devi or the Earth above the ocean,Chamba,18th century.
By Anonymous (British Museum [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

References :

  • wikipedia.org
  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporevala and Sons.

 

Posted by

Soma Ghosh

© author

Hanuman in art : some depictions

        Hanuman is Lord Rama’s greatest devotee,  is his chief support after his brother Lakshmana, in the Hindu epic Ramayana. He has been depicted in art;sculpture and paintings over the centuries.He is also mentioned in many ancient texts, including the Mahabharata,the Puranas and certain Jaina texts.Hanuman participated in Rama’s war against the demon king Ravana to liberate his wife Sita.

     Hanuman is the son of Anjana and Kesari and also referred to as Pavanputra or son the the wind-God Vayu or Pavan who has played a role in his birth. Hanuman is known by many names; Anjaneya, Kesarinandan, Bajrang Bali, Jitendriyam, Marutinandan, Sankat mochan among others.

     Hanuman was born to Anjaneri mountain. His mother Anjana was an apsara who was born on earth owing to a curse. She was however freed from it after she gave birth to a son. As per the Ramayana of Valmiki his father Kesari was the son of Brihaspati and the King of a place named Sumeru. Anjana prayed for 12 long years to Lord Shiva for a child and Hanuman was the son they got.It is also believed that Hanuman is the incarnation or reflection of  Lord Shiva.

           Hanuman is also called the son of Vayu or Pavan. As per one version mentioned in the 16th century Bhavartha Ramayana by Eknath it is said that when Anjana was worshipping Shiva, the King  Dasaratha of Ayodhya was also performing Putrakama yagna in order to have children. As a result, he received some sacred payasam (sweet pudding)to be shared by his three wives, which led to the birth of Rama, Lakshmana and Bharata. However a kite was flying past and took away a fragment of the pudding and dropped it into the hands of Anjana while she was praying in a forest, and the wind God or Vayu facilitated this. It is also believed that by  Shiva’s direction, Vayu transferred his male energy to Anjana‘s womb. So Hanuman is also called Pavanputra or son of the Wind.

 

Image result for ramayana

Hanuman carrying the mountain of herbs,sculpture,10th century, Madhya Pradesh,LACMA,USA.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

        As a child Hanuman was fascinated with the sun and thought it was a ripe fruit. He tried to reach it to eat it and was stopped by the Vedic planet Rahu. However Hanuman beat Rahu who approached Indra for help. Indra threw his weapon Vajra at him and this hurt his jaw or Hanu, thus he also got his name, Hanuman. However Vayu, the wind-God got angry and withdrew which suffocated everyone. Indra had to remove the effect of his vajra and the devas revived Hanuman.

   Hanuman‘s role in the Ramayana is mentioned in Sundarakanda in the epic. Hanuman is also mentioned in the Mahabharata;he is Bhima’s brother.

File:Hanuman before Rama.jpg

Hanuman worshipping Lord Rama and Sita,painting, 17th century,Smithsonian collection,USA.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

            Hanuman meets Lord Rama during his exile.With his brother Lakshmana, Rama is searching for his wife Sita who had been abducted by demon king,Ravana. Their search brings them to mountain Rishyamukha, where Sugriva, along with his followers  are hiding from his elder brother Vali.Sugriva sends Hanuman to ascertain their identities. Hanuman approaches Rama disguised as a brahmin. However he reveals his identity and falls at his feet. Hanuman then forges  friendship between Lord Rama and Sugriva; Rama helps Sugriva regain his honour and makes him the king of Kishkindha. Sugriva and his vanaras, most notably Hanuman, help Rama defeat Ravana at Lanka and liberate and reunite with his wife Sita.

    Many incidents take place  during the search for Sita . Hanuman reaches Lanka through air jumps and finds Sita in captivity in a garden, Hanuman reveals his identity to her, reassures her that Rama has been looking for her,  offers to carry her back to Rama, but she refuses his offer, saying it would be an insult to Rama as his honour is at stake. In order to reassure  Sita,  Hanuman gives her a ring that Rama  had sent through him.

Image result for ramayana

Hanuman being taken to Ravana,illustration,17th century,Mewar,Rajasthan.

By Maharaja of Jagat Singh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When Lakshmana is badly wounded during the battle against Indrajit, Hanuman is sent to fetch the sanjivani, a powerful life-restoring herb, from Dronagiri  in the Himalayas, to revive him.

File:Hanuman fetches the herb-bearing mountain, in a print from the Ravi Varma Press, 1910's.jpg

Hanuman with the mountain of herbs ,print,1910.

By Ravi Varma Press [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsHanumanImage result for ramayana

Hanuman visits Sita,bazaar art,early 20th century.

By bazaar art [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

              After his coronation after returning to Ayodhya following his victorious battle against demon king Ravana, Rama decides to reward all his well-wishers.  Hanuman approaches without wanting any reward. Rama embraces him warmly, declaring that he could never  repay Hanuman for the help a received from the  vanara army. Sita, however, insists that Hanuman deserved honour more than anyone else, and Sita gives him a necklace of precious stones which she herself was wearing. Hanuman tears it apart, and inspects each stone. Everyone asks why he is destroying the precious necklace. Hanuman says he was looking into the stones to make sure that Rama and Sita are in them, because if they are not, the necklace is of no value to him. People laugh at Hanuman, saying his reverence and love for Rama and Sita could not possibly be as deep as he says. To this, Hanuman tears his chest open, and everyone is astonished to see Lord Rama and Sita in his chest.

File:Pushpakviman.jpg

Pushpakviman, bazaar art,1910.

By Modern Litho Works, Bombay [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

      Hanuman is worshipped by many; by wrestlers for his strength.There are many temples of Hanuman, and his images are  installed at all temples where images of avatars of Lord Vishnu are present. His temples free the area of evils like the rakshasas or demons. He is believed to protect from accidents and his images are found on mountain roads.

     Many prayers, mantras are dedicated to Hanuman. These include  Hanuman Chalisa, Bajranga Baan, Maruti Strotam, Anjaneya Dandakam , Vadvanal Strotam, Hanuman Sathhika, Hanuman Bahuk, Hanuman Dwadesha, Bhimrupi Strotam, Sundara Kanda, Maruti Gayatri Mantra, Hanumansahasranam stotra , Ek-mukhi Hanuman Raksha Kavacham, Pancha-mukhi Hanuman Raksha Kavacham and Sapta-mukhi Hanuman Raksha Kavacham.

Amulette Rajasthan 2.jpg

Hanuman, silver amulet,early 20th century,Rajasthan.

By Vassil – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1877418

File:Hanuman showing Rama in His heart 2.jpg

Hanuman showing Lord Rama in his chest,oleograph,1945.

By Anant Shivaji Desai, Ravi Varma Press (http://www.barodaart.com/oleographs-ramayana.html) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

References :

  • wikipedia.org
  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporevala and Sons.

Posted by:

Soma Ghosh

© author

 

 

 

 

Vidyadharas in art : joyous spirits

File:Vidyadharas.jpg

Vidyadhara ,sculpture,North India.

By Nomu420 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

  Vidyadharas are a group of supernatural beings in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. They are semi Gods. They attend on Lord Shiva. They are spirits of the air and are believed to fly. They have magical powers and can decrease their size. They live in the  Himalayas along with the Kinnaras, another group of semi-divine beings.

    They also live on Mount Krauncha, on Chitrakoota where Lord Rama saw vidyadhara women playing, in the hills of Malabar and in the Khandava forest. They are also present in Kubera’s court, along with their leader Chakradharman and in Lord Indra’s palace under Viprachitti. Another  leader of the Vidyadharas is described to the wise Jambavan.  The Agni Puranas describe them as flying in the sky wearing garlands. The Bhagavata-purana the king of the Vidyadharas as Chitraketu. The Kathasaritsagara by Somadeva, Brihatkathamanjari and Brihatkathasloka-samgraha has some stories on Vidyadharas. Jaina texts regard  Vidyadharas as advanced human beings or Aakashagochari.  Jainas describe the vanara and rakshasa clans as Vidyadharas. 

Flying Vidyadhara, sculpture, 11th century.

By Walters Art Museum: Home page  Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18833903

References :

  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Sheshasayi in art : images of Lord Vishnu

  Lord Vishnu is known as Sheshasayi or Anantasayana when he is recumbent on the the king of nagas (serpents), Anantashesha. He is also called anantasayana in this recumbent posture.

      Lord Vishnu is part of the Hindu trinity of gods along with Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. He is a lovable deity, considerate towards his devotees. He is depicted with his wife Goddess Lakshmi at his feet, recumbent on the coils of serpent Shesha. He is dark, blue skinned. A lotus stem shoots up from his navel on which Brahma is seated. His vahana or vehicle  is Garuda, the man-bird. Lord Vishnu has a thousand names,  sahasranama. His abode is Vaikuntha with lotus filled pools. His devotees are called Vaishnavas. He is worshipped in his different avatars; Matsya,Kurma,Varaha,Narasimha,Vamana,Parasurama,Rama,Krishna and Buddha as believed in Hinduism. It is believed that he will be reborn as Kalki, his last avatar according to the Vishnu Purana,.when the world will probably be destroyed and rebuilt.

  Lord Vishnu  is seen in different contexts and moods when he is reclining on Anantasesha.He is called yogasayana when he is meditative and the sages Bhrigu and Markandeya are with him. Brahma is seen emerging from his navel. He is Bhogasayana when he has four arms and is bejewelled. His consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi are seen along with sages Bhrigu and Markandeya. He is Virasayana when he is holding a sankha or conch, a chakra or discus in two of his four hands. The demons Madu and Kaitabha are depicted at his feet.In Abhicharikasayana, he is depicted in a weak and emaciated form with no attendants. The Padmanabhaswamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram is an important shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu in Kerala. Lord Vishnu as Ranganatha is also a recumbent Vishnu but does not depict Brahma rising on a lotus from his navel.

        The recumbent Lord Vishnu has been depicted both in sculpture and painting as seen in the magnificent images from different centuries.

File:Narain 2.JPG

Sheshasayi, rock-cut sculpture,5th century,Udayagiri, Madhya Pradesh.

By Zippymarmalade (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Image result for sheshasayi

Sheshasayi, Mahishasuramardini Cave,7th cenutury, Mahabalipuram,Tamil Nadu.

By Jenith (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
File:Ku Phra Kona-021.jpg

Sheshasayi,Ku Phra Kona temple,11th century,Roi Et,Thailand

By Ddalbiez (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Image result for sheshasayi

Sheshasayi,sculpture,13th century,South India, LACMA,USA.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,LACMA,USA.

Image result for sheshasayi

Sheshasayi,painting, Kashmir, 1800.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Anantavishnu.jpg

Sheshasayi,painting,18th century, India.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Sheshsayi Vishnu and Lakshmi enjoying festivity, National Museum, New Delhi.jpg

Sheshsayi enjoying festivities,painting, Chamba,1810, National Museum, New Delhi.

By Yann (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Image result for sheshasayi

Sheshasayi,painting, late 18th century,Mehrangarh Museum Trust,

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,attributed to the Durga Master.

Image result for sheshasayi

Sheshasayi,painiting,1941.

M. V. Dhurandhar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Image result for sheshasayi

Sheshasayi,sculpture, 5th century,Dasavatara Temple, Deogarh,Uttar Pradesh.

By Bob King [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

References :

  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • hindupedia.com

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author