The name of the Devi is derived from the Sanskrit root of the verb that means 'to ferry across'. So Green Tara is the saviouress, She ferries the devotee across the ocean of samsara to nirvana. She reaches out to us to enable us to transcend the world as we know it, the very picture of Enlightenment in a form that is relatable and beauteous. She is none of and more than the numerous Taras that you could see on this thangka, each with Her own aureole, seated in poorna-padmasana and dressed in raiment fit for the otherworldly devis. They look down at us with infinite compassion and patience, no matter who you choose to fixate on at any given point in time.
This gorgeous ballgown-esque Anarkali suit is just the thing to wear to parties and gatherings with a traditional spin. The dominant black colour sets the mood of the ensemble to one of reserved and overpowering elegance. The signature bust comprises of black meshwork over a fiery red, more of which is to be found in the embroidery on the full sleeves. Luxuriant patches of zardosi punctuate the ensemble at the waist, along the neckline, down the bust, and at the hems of the sleeves. Zoom in on the same to appreciate the beauty of the Persian-origin silverwork.
This murti of the Lord has been cast in bronze. India's bronze sculptural tradition dates back to the Pallava rule in the third century, when it started to produce icons for the magnificent temples of the South. With the later patronage of the Chola dynasty rulers, the skill to work with bronze truly flourished. Today, South India is the home of bronze, this one having been handpicked from Swamimalai. From the tapering crown that towers above His head to the inverted lotus pedestal He is on, this fne sculpture bears all the signs of authentic Southern workmanship. Note the lifelike portraiture of the digits as well as the spiritually engaging composure of countenance.
It is not likely that her younger counterpart is her equal in form. The elder daughter-in-law is an olive-skinned beauty, set off by the shimmering gold-bordered pink of the lehenga she has chosen for the occasion. Her eyes are a soft brown and large, their expression somewhat withdrawn. It is the raised brow and the subtly pursed mouth that betray the goings-on of her heart. It is the norm in large Indian families to fawn over the latest addition by marriage to the clan, in terms that could be either exalting or demeaning and even both. It is the attention being bestowed upon her that is making the subject of this painting a tad out of place. Perhaps she will take it out on her when they are engaged in domestic tasks together, by chiding her on some excusable pretext but also by helping her make herself at home.
Of that finish and make, this sterling silver set is a fine example. It consists of a three-tiered necklace of silver beads, from which a series of solid silver spikes jut out. It would look superbly elegant as it sits against your decolletage, teamed with those matching drop earrings. Each comprises of a couple of those identical silver spikes smithed together to drop from a complex silver stud. A brilliant pink gemstone of miniscule proportion has been studded at the head of each silver spike in the whole set, infusing to this ensemble a much-needed dash of femininity and colour.
The composite motif of bouqueted foliage conveys a stillness that is also dynamic. Pale greens, blues, oranges, and reds have been interspersed with bits of white and black, each hue being brought out to perfection by the background. Amidst the tips of the tendrils on top flit about a couple of huge butterflies. From the shape of the vase the arrangement is in, it is the kind that is woven at home by grandmothers and grandaunts in Kashmiri homes. Note how one of the tendrils, burdened by a particularly heavy-petalled flower, has broken off and now lies at the foot of the vase.
The medium captures the Devi's gorgeousness to perfection. An elite medium to work with, bronze has flourished in the hands of Southern sculptors since the Pallava and especially the Chola ruling periods. Today, South India is the home of bronze where the best of contemporary examples of India's great sculptural tradition are put together. Not only does this take a significant degree of skill to work with bronze to produce something like this, but also this composition has been suffused with the artisan's personal devotion. Note the sthirsnigdha composure of countenance, the towering crown that sets off Her stature, and the beauteous angulature of Her limbs. From the vines that frame Her form to the layered lotus pedestal, it bears the hallmark of Southern workmanship.
Every square inch of this thangka comprises of the gorgeous colours and motifs that are to be found in these traditional paintings. Flowers of ethereal shapes and tints grace the religious flora. The leaves have a distinctive shape, so do the clouds and the canopies. The foreground features a series of hills and shrubbery in romantic pastels and a stream of thick Himalayan snowmelt making its way to us mortals down below. A fire-spewing dragon is at the Lord's side, a popular motif in art that belongs to this part of the world. It has a long serpentine body, a vicious set of teeth, and fire in place of brows and whiskers. It is a stark contrast to the calm exuded by the deva by its side.
The glassy, translucent water sapphires that have gone into finishing this pendant have been picked for their brilliance. Cut and faceted to maximise their natural aesthetic appeal, they have been smithed onto the gold with a great degree of skill. While these gems are regarded as a more reasonable substitute to sapphires, cordierites stand in a class all their own because of their durability and pleochroism. Watch heads turn towards your decolletage as you walk in anywhere with this pendant gently motioning against your skin.
The field of this saree is luxuriantly done up in woven images of the gorgeous Shakuntala in her garden. The rest of the story is in the pallu, as is the norm with Baluchari sarees, where she is shown with Raja Dushyant. More such figures have been woven onto the moderately thick border as well. The inky black of the foundation together with the glimmering gold of the zari in the foreground, makes for a colour combination that you cannot go wrong with. Teamed with your newest gold possessions, this silken number is as bridal as they get.
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