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Buddha In The Upper Realms Of Dhyana, His Hands In Dharmachakra Mudra

Buddha In The Upper Realms Of Dhyana, His Hands In Dharmachakra Mudra

Images of the meditating Buddha abound, but there is something about this one. Made using the ancient batik painting technique, it depicts the seated Buddha right till the navel. He is clad in a robe of deep, vivid red that hangs loosely from the shoulders against His radiant ivory skin. His large eyes, beneath brows like the unshut wings of the albatross, are closed, indicating that He is steeped in meditation. His mouth is full and red, His lobes lengthened from His kundalas. His hair is braided and piled on top of His head. It is an inimitable composure of countenance - calm and gathered, almost powerful. The halo that has flared up behind His head resembles in form the third eye of the yogi.

A very complex process has gone into this seemingly simple painting. Batik painting originated in India a long time ago and involves waxing the foundation fabric, dyeing it using endemic pigments and techniques, and then dewaxing it. Each of these takes hours to be done to perfection, which result in a degree of beauty and perfection that could be gleaned from this painting. It is the batik technique itself that sets this image of the Buddha apart from others. His hands are in the dharmachakra mudra. In the lower background is a sea of light - alternating white and green and orange that the Enlightened One is seemingly merging into in the upper realms of dhyana.

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Padmapani Avalokiteshavara Gau-Box Pendant, Manjushri On The Cover, Made With Coral And Turquoise And Lapis Lazuli (Made In Nepal)

Padmapani Avalokiteshavara Gau-Box Pendant, Manjushri On The Cover, Made With Coral And Turquoise And Lapis Lazuli (Made In Nepal)

The gau box of Tibetan Buddhism is a one-of-a-kind dharmic implement. It is, simply put, a portable shrine inside which the devotee houses the icon of one's choice. The gau box that you see on this page houses none other than the resplendent Avalokiteshvara. It could be worn around the neck or the waist or the arm, with the subject of one's devotion keeping watch everywhere one goes. This unique gau box has been handpicked for the beauty and complexity of the handiwork - the instantly recognisable, sword-wielding Manjushri is superimposed on the filigree of the gau box cover.

More filigree is to be found inside the gau box, against which sits Avalokiteshvara. While the make of the Manjushri figurine is dominated by corals, a bunch of turquoises and lapis lazuli graces Avalokiteshvara. He is seated in poorna-padmasana, steeped in meditation within the precinct of His gau box. From the gorgeous filigree to the spiritual message it contains, this pendant is a fine example of Nepalese aesthetics and workmanship. Should you be spiritually inclined, it will add to your presence the calm, gathered aura of Avalokiteshvara.

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Tri-Color Five-Piece Patchwork Bedspread from Banaras

Tri-Color Five-Piece Patchwork Bedspread from Banaras

The beauty of dupion silk lies in its complex weaving technique - a fine warp against an uneven weft, the latter often being reeled from two different cocoons. The resulting finish is crisp and lustrous, of which this bedspread is a fine example. Handpicked from the looms of Banaras, it is made up of patchworked fabrics of multiple pastels. Blues and greens interspersed with reds and browns make for a combination that is earthy and natural, a refreshing retreat to come home to at the end of a long, hard day.

This bedspread set comprises of five pieces that includes two pillowcases and two cushion-cases over and above the cover. Done in matching colours, the patchwork on each of the pieces is seemingly hemmed in by a thick maroon border. This bedspread is going to set the tone in your bedroom for quiet and calm, which would make for a restful mood when one most needs it. The interesting texture of the dupion silk as well as the ethnic glamour of this bedspread set would be sure to remind you of home every day.

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The Confident Gaze Of The Enchantress, The Mohiniattam Dancer (Dances Of India)

The Confident Gaze Of The Enchantress, The Mohiniattam Dancer (Dances Of India)

It is to the patronage of the young King Swati Tirunal, followed by the arduous efforts of art poet laureate Vallatol, that mohiniattam was preserved as the only solo dance form among India's classical dances. It originated in the temples of Kerala, wherein female dancers assisted in temple ritual by adding gestures to the chants of the priests. This evolved into a dance form that is markedly expressive and feminine. Such is the doll that you see on this page, a classical mohiniattma dancer who enchants onlookers with the seductive beauty of her skill. Indeed, the word 'mohiniattam' translates to 'the dance of the seductress', and this exotic doll has all the characteristics of the celestial mohiniattam dancer.

Celestial, because it is said that Lord Vishnu Himself had transformed into a woman of exceeding beauty in His quest to play with the minds of the asuras. This happened in connection with both the samudramanthan and the Bhasmasuravadh episodes. This lifelike doll captures the grace of mohiniattam to perfection. Beneath the signature cream-coloured gold-bordered silk drape are a pair of long legs caught amidst dexterous motion. Her delicately moulded hands are arranged in the hamsaysa and the ardhachandra mudras. Her gold shringar complements her pristine complexion to perfection. From her lifelike, skilfully made-up face to the stance of her lissome roopa, this doll on a shelf would add dynamicism to your space.

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The Gaze Of Mother Kali

The Gaze Of Mother Kali

When one thinks of Devi Kali, a wrathful image occurs in the mind's eye. Inky black skin, flaming tresses, a bloodthirsty stance. She vanquishes adharm like no other deity of the Hindu pantheon, and looks the part. In this oil painting, however, we see a different side of Kali Mata. Dusky and dashabhujadhari (ten-armed) indeed, She is dressed here like the peaceful Hindu devis, which is quite unlike Her given the nakedness that is associated with Her fearsome iconography. Her form is clad in an abundance of statement gold jewellery, including the sturdy hands that wield all those weapons. This roopa of the Kali Mata exudes a balance between calm and wrath like no other work of art.

The cool blue of Her skin, as well as the blue of the background, is set off by the huge flame that is Her halo. From beneath the crown comes a gaze that could only be described as sthirasnigdha (Sanskrit word used to convey stability and calm), despite the signature determination and ferocity that one cannot overlook. Her form, including that cascade of black tresses and the rest of Her beauteous features, is divine and maternal. Her gaze is directed at the devotee, like the mother's to Her child - that gaze will shield the dharmee from adharm, and burn down the adharm in the adharmee. This unusual Kali Devi oil is proof that the svaroopa of the Mother lies primarily in Her eyes.

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Five-Strand Kundan Jadau Choker With Black Gem Drops, Statement Pendant, And Matching Danglers

Five-Strand Kundan Jadau Choker With Black Gem Drops, Statement Pendant, And Matching Danglers

Nothing like a statement kundan set to set off an ethnic outfit. Kundan jadau work has a place amongst the oldest, and the most beautiful, of traditional Indian jewellery. It is characterised by slivers of gold foil placed between the gems employed in the piece and their mount. This one is a fine example of this style, a five-stranded choker made of glassy silver gems and a row of shining black drops. One could see a lot of gold betwixt the profusion of gemstones, the colour of the copper alloy from which this set has been fashioned. Zoom in on the same to gauge for yourself the high-precision jadau that is the hallmark of Indian kundan handiwork.

The statement pendant completes the beauty of the chunky choker. A mass of more of those matching silver gems, punctuated with copper gold and lined with a miniscule row of black drops. Similar drop gems characterise the accompanying danglers. Note the preceding gold-coloured, silver gem-studded temple-like structures that add to the traditional ethnic appeal of the whole set. The rest of the danglers comprise of tinier versions of the same black and silver gemstones, arranged to form a petal motif before the drop and vine-and-drops throughout. Teamed with a neutral coloured evening saree, this kundan necklace set would make you feel like a queen at gatherings with a traditional spin.

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Beetroot-Purple Bridal Anarkali Suit with Crewel Embroidered Bolero Jacket

Beetroot-Purple Bridal Anarkali Suit with Crewel Embroidered Bolero Jacket

This four-piece suit would be a superbly feminine addition to your wardrobe. A rich pink colour set off by glittering silver embroidery, classic Anarkali cut that makes for an irresistible silhouette, and clinging chiffon as the foundation fabric, which together make for a buy you cannot go wrong with. The skirt is long and flowing and gorgeous - layers upon layers of rustling chiffon flirtatiousness - and the fitted bust that complements it comes with a rim of luxuriant embroidery at the waist, cinching it in place. Matching pink choodidar trousers complete this Anarkali suit.

What sets this apart from your run-of-the-mill evening suits is the pink jacket it comes with. Long-sleeved, front-open, almost kissing the hem of the kameez itself, it is superimposed with silver crewel-embroidery that would glitter as you motion. With that being the centre of attention of the whole dress, the dupatta has been kept relatively simple and fuss-free. It is a length of translucent pink chiffon that you may effortlessly throw over the shoulder such as not to block the statement-making jacket from view. Wear this on an evening do with some chunky, youthful silver pieces, and this suit would make you the talk of the town for some time to come.

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The Glamour Of Tribhanga Uma

The Glamour Of Tribhanga Uma

A swaying sense of motion, a heightened awareness of deviroopa. This Swamimalai bronze conveys a universe of sensuousness and divinity. Handpicked from the recesses of the South, the home of the Indian bronze tradition, this sculpture captures as much of Devi Uma's beauty and presence as is humanely possible. She is tall and lissome, the characteristic tribhang (the spinal column of Her body breaks - 'bhang' - at three - 'tri' - places) of Her stance exuding elegance and stateliness. She is wife to none other than Shiva, and Her gaze onto the world is laced with fearlessness and wisdom. Note how well the sharp lines of Her shringar go with Her superbly defined proportions.

The iconography of Shiva's wife is replete in this independent Devi Uma composition. The crown that towers above Her head has been sculpted with superb detail, and adds to Her gorgeous stature. Her countenance and the features that grace it are full and lotus-like, a signature of contemporary Chola-style bronzes. Long, vine-like kundalas and a bunch of necklaces complement the dhoti of thin silk that reveals rather than conceals Her yogic musculature. The pedestal is an important aspect of Indian religious sculptures. This one comprises of multiple tiers of lotuses of downward ascending surface area. Indeed this work of superfine art is fit to be consecrated and housed in a temple in your space.

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The Bride's Unhappiness

The Bride's Unhappiness

A rustic newlywed sits within the cool precincts of her mud home. It is the height of summer, and she has just emerged from her bath. She has draped the white and gold-bordered saree only partially on her barely dried body, probably owing to the heat. She was in the middle of her shringar, and had just put on a clutch of necklaces and some studs on her lobes when she must have remembered the basket of fruits. Yet to put on the all-important sindoor, she swept up the fruits as she glided across the courtyard. As she entered the kitchen, she was struck by the strangeness of her surroundings. She paused and sat down on the nearest stool, staring out into the distance.

This lifelike oil captures the essence of bridal sorrow, an unhappiness so ungovernable that dharm has assigned it to be borne by the woman. The figure you see in this painting is of a nubile woman, married off by her parents into probably a village like theirs some distance away. Her mouth is pursed; pensiveness, writ large on her beauteous brow. For probably the first time amidst the bustle of her new duties, she has had a moment to herself. How far away she is from everything she has ever know or that has made her who she is. She is glowing in the quiet afternoon light that has stolen into the kitchen. Any moment now the turmoil within her would come out in a torrent of womanly tears.

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Aspen-Gold Banarasi Sari with Woven Bootis and Brocaded Pallu

Aspen-Gold Banarasi Sari with Woven Bootis and Brocaded Pallu

Figured silks of Banaras are the most sumptuous of sarees. Every Indian woman dreams of getting wedded in one; and given the beauty and splendour of these statement-making silks, it is no wonder why. The saree you see on this page is a wearable work of art. It is fashioned from pure homegrown silk and given the signature colour of spring, a vibrant shimmering yellow. It takes weeks and months of painstakingly executed skill and labour to put together a single, unique Banarasi saree, and this brocaded number is no exception.

While Banarasis have traditionally been made on endemic naksha drawlooms, it is now jacquard equipment that produces the characteristic weave. The exquisite yellow of the foundation is superimposed with booties of red thread and pale gold brocade. More of that brocade could be found on the border and at the edge of the endpiece, a superbly intricate weave done in a gracious tone that complements the base colour of the saree. Wear this on the choicest of ritual gatherings to turn the maximum number of heads.

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