Also, the floral motif is an undying bridal statement. Zoom in on the kameez to truly appreciate the intricacy of the embroidery, which is done with zari (gold thread), a style of embroidery that defines traditional Indian fashion. Similar sequined motifs in gold grace the translucent peachy pink dupatta, which matches the hemline of the kameez. The super-flared style of salwar that completes this dress, popularly called the sharara, is what makes this an unusual wedding dress.
Clad in a loincloth, His shringar comprises of a bunch of snakes (He is considered the archenemy of death, of which the snake is a symbol). In fact, He is called Nagantaka, the devourer of snakes. According to Indian mythology, it stems from the acrimony between His mother, Vinata, and Kadru, Her sister/co-wife and the serpent-queen. He is seated with a knee touching the grand lotus pedestal, His hands folded in all humility in the Namaskaram mudra.
The dark burnished finish on the insides of His wings add to the beauty of His imposing wings. From the macrostructure of the same to the plumage and stance, they have been sculpted with a great deal of skill and imagination, the kind that stems from the heart of the Vishnu devotee. From the raw lines that make up the countenance to the rugged texture of the overall composition, the primal strength of Lord Garuda has been conveyed well in this workl
The primary identifying aspects of the Mahishasuramardini iconography is the Mahishasura (bull-demon) brought to his knees at Her feet. It is a powerful portrayal of adharma’s defeat - She has him by the hair, Her trishool piercing His very being, while the head of his mahisha has rolled off from the body that is dangling by the tail from another of Her hands. The tremors that could be read in his body language are the result of a skill that lends dynamism to even a static form of art.
The typical Nepal-style crown rests upon a brow lined with determination and invincibility. The kundalas from Her ears give way to a garland of severed demon-heads that reaches all the way down to her skirts. She is flanked by Her numberless arms, each bearing a divine weapon (note the damru in one, indicative of Her husband). The entire composition is framed by an aureole from which coils of fire are jutting out into space.
As expressive as the emotional current flowing between them is, this is a watercolour of multifaceted beauty. Krishna's majestic turban, the colour of a field of marigolds in the Indian countryside, has been secured with strings of pearls. The miniscule rubies and emeralds that punctuate the pearls have been painted in with rich, irresistible colours. Krishna's skin has been given the colour of cool twilight, His fingers long and slender, His attire regal. Radha shields Her face with Her bootie-studded dupatta, Her tattooed and bejewelled hands holding it in place against Her flawless skin. Her shringar is elaborate, becoming Her great beauty. Her jet black tresses fall about Her frame, the slender curves of which are revealed rather than concealed by the translucent dupatta. Both have been given classically handsome features by the artist.
Do not miss the frame painted around each profile. Characterised by soft pastels, gold and silver tendrils set off the beauty of the subject. Note how the royal green background is darker in the case of Radha, in harmony with Her fair complexion. Pristine marble railings in the respective foregrounds indicate that the two lovers are enjoying each other's company on a moonlit terrace.
The art of the South has an inimitable character. The media used in this sculpture is locally grown cedarwood, whose natural creme colour does justice to the divine glory of the subject. His dhoti and angavastram fall upon and around His chaturbhujadhari frame in superbly realistic drapes, which is a distinguishing mark of the workmanship. His bare torso and arms are adorned with a world of shringar, sculpted with crisp attention to detail and symmetry.
The distinguishing aspect of this standing Lord Vishnu sculpture is the presence of Sheshanaga, who raises its five-hooded head above His crown. It is the same naga that He usually makes a bed of, in terms of His more conventional iconography. Note how the pleasant composure of His haloed countenance seems to be offsetting the ferocity of the serpent behind Him.
The Kashmiri artisan's way with crewelwork makes for striking results. From the continuous chain stitches one could observe by zooming in on the motifs to the signature colour palette of natural pastels, ari embroidery is instantaneously recognisable and inimitable. It finds its way into most of the much-coveted produce of the region, from shawls and stoles to jackets and sarees, and is the very picture of Kashmiri aesthetics and traditional elegance. Indeed this one-of-a-kind robe is for those of us for whom glamour is a habit.
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