A community of artisans and devotees, the Newars of Nepal are known for their bold lines, unabashed use of monotone, and strong statement-making themes. The thangka that you see on this page is an example of Newari painting. It depicts the dadashabhujadhari Lord Ganesha in the midst of a dance routine (‘nrtya’) that conveys great strength and valour as well as wrath and invincibility.
Peach and vivid ochre predominate the colour palette. A gigantic mouse, its body a bright jewel blue, lies at the feet of Lord Ganesha. Crouched upon a lotus with multi-hued petals, the vahana (divine mount) looks like some of the ferocity of wrathful Ganesha may have carried over to its soul. Mythical figures flank the lower half of the central dancing figure. Within the temple pillars on either side are the miniature figures of seated Bodhisattvas, while more mythical creatures are to be found along the archway that rises high above the haloed head of Ganesha.
The characteristic five-spired crown and the especial shape of the eyes. The density of detail in terms of the number of sacred Buddhist figures accommodated across the canvas. The intricate patterns upon the solid-coloured sections of the painting, such as the immediate backdrop to the Lord’s figure and the charcoal-coloured sections in the background.
Ganesha is clad in a delightful pink dhoti fringed in gold and held at the waist by an elaborate waistband. A deadly serpent forms his necklace. In his hands he holds a noose, axe and a bowl full of modakas which he is busy emptying. This is what is responsible for his portliness. Rolypoly children are adored in the Indian subcontinent and hence this charming image of our beloved Ganesha dancing on a lotus.
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