Tag Archives: art history of India

Sunga art of ancient India: some images

 

     The Sunga  dynasty was established by  Pushyamitra Sunga in 2nd century, around 185 B.C, in Magadha and extended up to Malwa. The last king was Devabhuti who ruled between 83 and 73 B.C. The Sunga dynasty has many contributions. They were patrons of art and knowledge. They were culturally more aligned to Hinduism. The Patanjali yoga-sutras and Mahabhasya were composed during this period.

     The Bharhut stupa at Madhya Pradesh  from the Mauryan times saw the railings reconstructed by the Sunga dynasty, many parts of it are presently at museums in India. Additions like the railings and modifications to the Great stupa at Sanchi ,Madhya Pradesh(which was built under King Ashoka of the Mauryas),  was also done under them. The decorations on the railings of the Bharhut stupa are ornate and depicted with yakshas, yakshis and Kubera, their leader. Medallions with floral patterns, busts of kings, Jataka tales and scenes from the life of the Buddha. The yakshas are depicted on the uprights. The art was executed over a period of time by different craftsmen and artisans from India. The style is a continuation of the Mauryan period. The human figures are seen wearing heavy and elaborate jewellery having metal beads. Though the early Sunga rulers were against Buddhism, Buddhist art flourished with the Mathura school.

     At Bhaja caves in Western Ghats was a Buddhist monastery for the monks to stay during the rainy months. The caves have  yaksha depictions on sides of the doorways, a deity on a chariot drawn by four horses etc. The railing at the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya has mythical animals on medallions used on it for decoration.

Yakshi. Bharhut, Satna, C. 2nd cent BC. Bhopal Museum.jpg

Medallion from the balustrade (vedika), Bharhut stupa, Bhopal Archaeological Museum, Madhya Pradesh.

By Ismoon (talk) 17:42, 10 February 2013 (UTC) – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24580803

Balustrade and staircase, Great Stupa,Sanchi, Sunga period.

By Vivek Shrivastava – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29038176

       At Chandraketugarh in West Bengal, many archaeological finds of different historical periods have revealed some interesting statuettes and terracotta plaques from the Sunga period. Some are depicted below. As mentioned the figures are seen wearing elaborate jewellery and with elaborate head-dress.

Amourous royal couple Sunga 1st century BCE West Bengal.jpg

Amorous royal couple,1st century B.C, Chandaraketugarh,West Bengal.

By Uploadalt – Own work, photographed at the MET, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12572072

Chandraketugarth, epoca sunga, dea della fecondità, II-I sec. ac. 02.JPG

Fertility deity, 2nd -1st century B.C,Chandraketugarh, West Bengal.

By I, Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22568769

Chandraketugarth, epoca sunga, dea della fecondità, II-I sec. ac. 01.JPG

Mother and child, 2nd-1st century B.C,Chandraketugarh,West Bengal.

By I, Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22568766

KITLV 87926 - Unknown - Relief on the Bharhut stupa in British India - 1897.tif

Relief , Bharhut stupa,British India image, Madhya Pradesh.

By Unknown – Leiden University Library, KITLV, image 87926 Homepage media-kitlv.nl KITLV, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39953719

Yakshi on elephant.Bharhut.Bharat Kala Bhavan.jpg

Yakshi on elephant mount, red sandstone,Bharhut, 2nd century B.C, Bharat Kala Bhavan, Varanasi.

By Ismoon (talk) 19:25, 25 January 2013 (UTC) – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24188082

SungaAtalante.JPG

Balustrade-holding yaksha, Sunga period, 2nd -1st century B.C, Musée Guimet,Paris.

By No machine-readable author provided. World Imaging assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=337076

Jetvan bharhut.JPG

Bharhut sculpture, 2nd-1st century B.C., British Library,U.K.

By Beglar, Joseph David, 1875 – British Library, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25887679

File:Terracotta - Sunga Period - Showcase 10-16 - Prehistory and Terracotta Gallery - Government Museum - Mathura 2013-02-24 6316.JPG

Terracotta, Sunga Period,2nd -1st century B.C,  Government Museum,Mathura.

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

File:Male Playing Mridanga - Sunga Period - ACCN 57-4264 - Government Museum - Mathura 2013-02-24 6198.JPG

Man playing mridanga, Sunga Period, Government Museum,Mathura.

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

File:Winged female deity, Chandraketugarh, India, 2nd-1st century BC, terracotta, view 2 - Ethnological Museum, Berlin - DSC01685.JPG

Terracotta plaque,female deity, 2nd-1st century BC, Chandraketugarh, Ethnological Museum, Berlin.

By Daderot (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

References :

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

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

Jaina kalpasutras: some manuscript images

        Kalpasutra literally means book of rituals. Some say it is a wish-fulfilling book  It is a sacred Jaina text, one of the Cheda sutras. They mainly contain the biographies of the Jain tirthankaras Mahavir and Parshvanatha. Bhadrabahu  is the author who composed the text one hundred and fifty years after the nirvana of Lord Mahavira in the sixth century. They were illustrated with miniature paintings from the 14th century; and written on paper mostly in Gujarat in India. The Kalpasutra is an important text for the Svetambara sect of Jainsim.

      The Kalpasutra has three sections. The first  deals with the lives of 24 Tirthankaras, the Jain spiritual teachers. The second is about the life of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara. The third part deals with rules for ascetics and laws during four months of the rainy season, when they temporarily abandon their wandering life and settle down amidst the ordinary people. This is the time of the year  when the Kalpasutra is recited and the festival of Paryushan is celebrated.

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Rishabhanatha, Kalpasutra, 15th century,Gujarat, LACMA,USA.

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

  The Kalpasutras depict the events in a Jina’s life. The folio below depicts how Parsvanatha endures torments from evil God Kamatha and is protected by serpent god Dharnendra and his consort Padmavati.

File:Parsva and Dharnendra.jpg

Parsvanatha, Kalpasutra ,manuscript, 15th century,Patan, Gujarat.

By Anishshah19 (15th Century art) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A depiction of Queen Trishala’s dream is shown  in the folio below. She had 14 auspicious dreams before Mahavira’s birth. They are depicted as an array of emblems above her in the illustration.

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Queen Trishala’s dreams, Kalpa Sutra ,15th century, Jaunpur,Uttar Pradesh, Metmuseum, USA.

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=628466

In order to decode the dreams King Siddhartha, father of Mahavira summoned dream interpreters. This is depicted in the manuscript folio below.

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King Siddhartha summons  dream interpreters, Kalpasutra LACMA, USA.

Source : flickr.com/photos/wikimediacommons/16386642566 Image by :Ashley Van Haeften

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Birth of Mahavira, Kalpasutra, Prakrit Manuscript,1503, Wellcome images, U.K.

See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 The manuscript below depicts varsidana or Mahavira giving away his personal belongings for a year, before his enlightenment.

 

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Mahavira’s varsidana, Kalpasutra, manuscript, 15th century,Patan, Gujarat.

By Anishshah19 (15th Century art) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Captive Gardabhilla. Kalpasutra. C.1375, Western India.JPG

Gardabhilla presented before Kalakacharya, folio,Kalpasutra and Kalakacharya Katha, 14th century, Western India, CSMVS, Mumbai.

By Ismoon (talk) 14:57, 25 February 2012 (UTC) (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

References :

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

Manjusri in art : painted depictions

     Manjusri is a bodhisattva; a yidam in Tibetan Buddhism and associated with prajna. Manjusri  means gentle glory, he is considered a youth Manjusrikumarabhuta. He is an important Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism. He figures in the Prajnaparamita sutra  and symbolises prajna. He is accorded Vimala,his pure land as per the Lotus sutra  located in the East. He is a meditational deity and is a fully enlightened Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. He figures in Manjusrimula-kalpa and Manjusrinamasamgiti. His consort is Sarasvati in some traditions.

    Manjusri is male and wields  a flaming sword in his right hand which is symbolic of cutting down ignorance. In his left hand he holds the Prajnaparamita sutra supported by a lotus symbolising attainment of ultimate realisation from the blossoming of wisdom. In Japanese and Chinese art, his sword is replaced by a ruyi  scepter. In China he is called Wenshu and is associated with the mountain Wutai. In Tibet he manifests in many Tantric forms; Yamantaka is popular in Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. He is called Monju in Japan. In Indonesia he was revered by the Sailendra dynasty,patrons of Mahayana Buddhism, during the 8th century.

   The non-tantric forms of Manjusri have one head and two arms.The usual form is white or yellow, seated in dhyanasana, meditative posture with left hand holding a pustaka or book,right hand holds khadga or sword,maybe seated on a lion;sometimes in dhyanasana vitarka mudra, holding stem of lotus with pustaka on the flower,right hand having the khadga. 

   The dharmachakramanjusri  is depicted in dhyanasana , in dharmachakramudra,  with stems of lotuses supporting khadga and pustaka. Another form  Manughosa is white,seated in dhyanasana,vitarka and varada mudras, holding lotus stems with pustaka and khadga at shoulder level. The other forms include maharajalilamanjusri Dharmasankhasamadhimanjusri.  The tantric forms have one head and more than two arms or more than one head and two or more arms. Manjuvajra is also a tantric form having three heads ,six arms. Yamanataka  rhas nine heads,34 arms,16 legs and is fierce from to conquer Yama, the God of death.

File:Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Manjusri Bodhisattva.jpeg

Painting of Manjusri, Prajnaparamita Sutra manuscript, Ranjana script, Nalanda, Bihar,  700-1100 CE.

By Asia Society created the file. Artwork created by an anonymous ancient source. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Manjusri,Yulin Caves,7th -14th century, Gansu, China.

By Anonymous artist-craftsmen of the Tang-Yuan Dynasties (Yulin Caves, Gansu Province, China) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Manjusri debates Vimalakirti,  Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra,  Mogao Caves,Tang Dynasty,Dunhuang,7th-8th century, China.

By File created by user “pandahermit.” Artwork created by anonymous ancient source. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Hachiji-Monju/Ashtasikha Manjusri with eight attendants,13th century, Japan.

By English: Unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Manjusri with another bodhisattva and donors,painting,13th century,Tibet,Walters Museum.

By Anonymous (Tibet) – Walters Art Museum: Home page  Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18843075

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Mandala of the forms of Manjusri,14th century,Tibet.

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

File:Mural of Manjusri at Namdroling.jpg

Manjusri and Sarasvati,mural, Padmasambhava Buddhist Vihara, Namdroling Monastery,20th century,Karnataka,India

By Christoper J. Fynn (Own work (photograph)- artist of mural anonymous) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Manjusri Painted.jpg

Manjusri,painting by Cecilia at Buddhafield Festival, 2006

By John Wigham (originally posted to Flickr as Manjusri) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org
  • Fisher,Robert E./Buddhist art and architecture,London : Thames and Hudson,1993.
  • Gordon,Antoinette K/The iconography of Tibetan Lamaism,New Delhi : Mumshiram Manoharlal Publishers,1998.

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Bodhisattvas in art : painted images

    Bodhisattva is a Sanskrit term for anyone who has generated bodhichitta, motivated by great compassionwhich is an intense wish to attain buddha-hood for the benefit of all. Bodhisattva is a being who has not attained enlightenment, and may refrain from nirvana in the hopes of aiding others to reach it. The term is applied to hypothetical beings with a high degree of enlightenment and power. Bodhisattvas are an important subject in Buddhist art.

In Indian Buddhism, the term bodhisattva referred to the Buddha in his former lives. The Jataka tales, which are the stories of the Buddha’s lives, depict the various trials of the bodhisattva to develop self-sacrifice and imbibe high moral values. In fact Mahayana Buddhism is based on the path of a bodhisattva.  It is believed that this term is synonymous with Bodhisattvayana. The list of Bodhisattvas include AkasagarbhaAvalokitesvara, Ksitigarbha,Mahasthamaprapta,Maitreya,Manjusri,Nio,Padmasambhava,Samantabhadra,Sangharama,Sitatapatra,Skanda,Tara,Vajrapani and Vasundhara. Suryaprabha and Supushpachandra are other bodhisattvas.

Bodhisattva Akasagarbha is related to space, Avalokitesvara is the bodhisattva of compassion and the most universally acknowledged bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism.  Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha is  revered in East Asian Buddhism and  depicted as a Buddhist monk. His name may be translated as Earth Womb. He is the guardian of children and patron deity of deceased children and aborted fetuses in Japanese culture. Mahasthamaprapta represents the power of wisdom.Maitreya is regarded as the future Buddha. Maitreya is a bodhisattva who will appear on earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment, and preach pure dharma or religious righteousness. Gautama Buddha before being born on earth was a Bodhisattva having attained this position by taking a vow for enlightenment, and then went through various births and was in Tushita heaven as the reigning Bodhisattva.

Manjusri is a bodhisattva associated with prajna or transcendent wisdom. Nio are two muscular guardians of the Buddha standing today at the entrance of many Buddhist temples in East Asia. Padmasambhava or Lotus-Born, also known as Guru Rinpoche. Samantabhadra is associated with action and he has made ten great vows .Sanghrama are revered in Chinese Buddhism and Taoism, a group of devas who guard viharas. Sitapatra or the white parasol is a protector against supernatural danger. Skanda is regarded as a devoted guardian of viharas and the Buddhist teachings. Tara is a female bodhisattva, or set of bodhisattvas, in Tibetan Buddhism. She represents success in work. Vajrapani is protector of Gautama Buddha and rose to symbolize the Buddha’s power.Vasudhara means stream of gems in Sanskritand she is the bodhisattva of wealth, prosperity, and abundance, similar to Goddess Lakshmi in Hinduism.

   The Bodhisattva path is an arduous, difficult monastic but glorious path one can take, as described in Buddhist texts. The bodhisattva has to take vows to work for the enlightenment of all beings by practising six imperfections.A bodhisattva is one liberates beings from samsara, cycle of death, rebirth and suffering. A bodhisattva’s mind is known as the bodhichitta or awakened mind .

Hinayana Buddhism recognizes only Maitreya.The painted images of Boddhisatvas have been made in countries wherever Mahayana Buddhism has  flourished.

Mural depiction of worshipping bodhisattvas, Wei Dynasty,6th century, China.

By unknown ancient Buddhist artist(s) – Cave 285. Wei Dynasty (535-556 A.D.), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9557200

Cave mural of Avalokitesvara, worshipping bodhisattvas,Tang Dynasty,618-907 A.D.

By unknown ancient Buddhist artist(s) – Cave 57. Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9557135

File:Amitabha with Eight Great Bodhisattvas (Tokugawa Art Museum) 2.jpg

Amitabha with  bodhisattvas,10th-14th century, Tokugawa Art Museum, Japan.

By Goryeo-Dynasty artist [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Painting of Akasagarbha, 13th century, Kamakura period,Japan.

By unknown artist – zAHGDjCz55_mHg at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22564534

Avalokitesvara painting,palm-leaf manuscript ,12th century, India.

By Asia Society created the file. Artwork created by an anonymous ancient source. – http://asiasocietymuseum.org/region_object.asp?RegionID=1&CountryID=2&ChapterID=10&ObjectID=479, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12596710

Ksitigarbha painting,  late 14th century,Goryeo, Korea.

By Unidentified artist – http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ho/07/eak/hob_29.160.32.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2826252

Mahasthamaprapta.jpg

Mahasthamaprapta,painting,13th century,China.

By China, Tangut State of Hsi Hsia, Khara-Khoto, 13th century – http://www.arthermitage.org/Painting/Mahasthamaprapta.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7754845

Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Maitreya Detail.jpeg

Maitreya ,illustration,manuscript,early 12th century, India.

By Metropolitan Museum of Art created the file. Artwork created by an anonymous ancient source. – http://www.nysun.com/arts/oases-of-color/83047/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11608769

Manjusri,illustration, palm leaf manuscript,Nalanda,700-1100, Bihar.

By Asia Society created the file. Artwork created by an anonymous ancient source. – http://asiasocietymuseum.org/region_object.asp?RegionID=1&CountryID=2&ChapterID=10&ObjectID=479, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11441578

Padmasambhava,wall painting,14th century,Bhutan.

By Baldiri – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2164202

Brooklyn Museum - Bodhisattva Samantabhadra.jpg

Samantabhadra,painting,late 18th-early 19th century.

By Unknown – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1993.192.2_transp4510.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10967395

Skanda as portrayed by Zhao Mengfu,Yuan Dynasty,13th-14th century, China.

By Prajnyaapaaramitaa_Hridaya_by_Zhao_Meng_Fu.JPG: Zhao Meng Fuderivative work: Tengu800 (talk) – Prajnyaapaaramitaa_Hridaya_by_Zhao_Meng_Fu.JPG, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9608296

White Tara, Tibet, 1644-1911 AD - Sichuan Provincial Museum - Chengdu, China - DSC04498.jpg

White Tara,painting,1644-1911,Tibet, Sichuan Provincial Museum,China.

By Daderot – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51626216

Vajrapani, painting on one side of the Buddha, Cave 1,Ajanta,7th century,Maharashtra.

By Indischer Maler des 7. Jahrhunderts – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=153071

Vasudhara Mandala, by Jasaraja Jirili, Nepal, dated 1365. Sotheby's.jpg

Vasudhara mandala,14th century,Nepal.

By Jasaraja Jirili – Sotheby’s, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15195963

 

 

 

 

 

 

References :

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

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

 

© author

 

 

 

 

 

Raslila in art : celebration of divine love

         Raslila is a celebratory dance done in the form of a ras mandala by gopis along with Lord Krishna  Gopis are cowherd maidens who are smitten with Lord Krishna, Radha being the main among them.The Raslila is described in the Bhagavata-purana and Jayadeva’s Gita -Govinda. The word lila means play or act, whereas ras refers to emotion or essenceflavour/mood etc. It is difficult to find an exact synonym in the English language; raslila is a dance of  divine love.

       It is believed that one night, on hearing Krishna playing on his flute, all gopis of Vrindavan left their homes and joined him in a dance in the forest or grove where they danced through the night. Lord Krishna manifested himself in multiple form and each gopi believed that he was dancing with her. A unique circle is formed in the raslila called the ras-mandala. The Bhakti tradition followers believe that the earthly romantic love  between human beings is a dilute form and the intense love for Krishna felt by the gopis is like the soul searching for the ultimate , the God divine in the spiritual realm. The gopis are believed to be shadows of Lord Krishna’s own form.

     The Raslila is popular theme in many Indian dance forms like Kathak,Odissi,Manipuri and Bharatnatyam.

Krishna's Dance of Delight (Rasa Lila) LACMA M.75.66.jpg

Rasalila, Bundi,17th century, Rajasthan, LACMA,USA.

By Image: http://collections.lacma.org/sites/default/files/remote_images/piction/ma-31957887-O3.jpgGallery: http://collections.lacma.org/node/241131, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27286100

Brooklyn Museum - Rasa-lila (Drawing).jpg

Raslila, drawing, 19th century,Brooklyn Museum, USA.

By Anonymous (India) – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 80.278.3_IMLS_PS4.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14620825

Raas Lila.jpg.jpg

Raslila,painting, probably 21st century.

By Raj441977 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47791760

 

 

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • Dehejia, Harsha.V/Radha: Gopi to Goddess,New Delhi :Niyogi Books,2014.
  •  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