In the belly of the wilderness, the great Sage Kasyapa carries on his sadhana (austerities). An integral part of Hindu austerity is the worship of the cow, the equivalent of the maternal figure because of her deeply compassionate nature. The Tanjore painting that you see on this page depicts the Sage engaged in ritual worship of the bovine.
The abode of Kashyapa in the middle of the forest is particularly glamorous. Executed in pure gold-inlaid gessowork studded with jewel-like red and green stones, it is symbolic of the inner wealth of a great sage. Kashyapa is seated in siddhasana, a superior contemplative stance, on a tigerskin mat. He is looking at the object of his worship with the finest devotion.
The bovine form predominates the canvas. It is made of solid gold embossed on a traditional Thanjavur art canvas. A multitude of Hindu iconographies are etched on her body, which indicates that a single creature as loving and giving as she is encompasses them all. On her taut, pink teats is an image of Gopala.
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