Goddess Rati is aptly named, for she symbolizes love, passion, and sexual desire. The Sanskrit meaning of her name is the pleasure of love/amorous enjoyment. She is the daughter of Prajapati Daksha, a divine king-rishi, and an agent of creation. This extremely beautiful and sensuous woman is also the consort of Kamadeva, the God of Love. She is always to be found by his side in Hindu temple carvings and sculptures.
This Tanjore-style painting presents Rati in a dancing posture. It brings to memory the charming courtesans of yore, who used to adorn the durbars/courts of Rajahs and Maharajahs. Similar to them, Rati lures the attention of the viewer with her delicate grace, glowing skin, and mesmerizing eyes. The face is serene and smiling. Her fingers and toes are hennaed. The unique arrangement of the glittering ornaments on the head and body, amulets and bracelets, anklets, waistband, and choker necklace – all serve to enhance her exquisite charm. Similar to her husband, Rati uses a green parrot as her mount. The fingers of her right hand seem to symbolize it. Rati’s weapon is a sugarcane bow. Sugarcane is sweet and signals auspiciousness. She shoots floral bows at the victims that her husband chooses.
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