The three images, rendered with exceptionally sensitive hands and gold ornaments’ like fine details, accuracy and precision, each cast independent of other and then set on one pedestal constituting one of the most popular Vaishnava imagery-groups, Lord Vishnu and his consorts, Shridevi, flanking him on his right, and Bhudevi, on his left, are reminiscent of the timeless South Indian bronzes, a tradition still pursued by bronze-casters in South though now confining to just Swamimalai like one or two seats.
In brass such
accuracy, fineness of details, graciousness and sculptural quality as
reveal these tiny images in their ornaments, ensembles, attributes
that they are carrying, anatomy, iconographic features and
body-gestures, and even in subordinate forms like ‘prabhavali’ –
fire-arch, and the Kirtimukha motif, are rarely seen.
In Vaishnava iconographic tradition the two female images flanking the
four-armed image of Lord Vishnu are identified as Shridevi, Lakshmi’s
other name though in context to this image-group she is called only as
Shridevi, and Bhudevi, the earth goddess, both Lord Vishnu’s consorts.
As he had the responsibility of maintain the creation he was bestowed
with Shri after she was obtained in ocean-churning. As Varaha, the
Great Boar, Lord Vishnu had rescued the earth from the clutches of the
demon Hiranyaksha and thus the earth goddess was his consort. The
artist has given priority to the image of Vishnu which has been
treated with greater resplendence than the other two. Unlike the
ensembles : simple pleated ‘antariyas’ of Shridevi and Bhudevi, the
pleats of the ‘antariya’ of Lord Vishnu have been adorned with laces
of pearls. With exclusive ornaments on arms and bellyband, a greater
number of necklaces and more elaborate girdle with extra strings and
tassels the image of Lord Vishnu has been ornamented more lavishly
than the other two. The images of Shridevi and Bhudevi have been
identically cast except that Shridevi on Lord Vishnu’s right has her
breasts covered with a ‘stana-pata’ – breasts-band, whereas Bhudevi
has them fully exposed, perhaps suggesting her prime role as the
goddess of fertility to endlessly feed. Her breasts filled with milk
might be her identity symbols as the mother-earth.
Humbler of the two Bhudevi stands on Vishnu’s left, a humble wife’s
place, while the vane Shridevi stands on his right, a position of
priority. The characters and the roles of Lord Vishnu’s two consorts
best reveal in a related myth. Once, Indra gifted to Vishnu the
Parijat tree, the tree of never fading celestial flowers. Both
Shridevi and Bhudevi argued to have it planted in their gardens and a
wall to be raised for separating one from the other. Convinced with
Bhudevi’s argument that fertility being her domain to have Parijat in
her garden was her natural privilege Vishnu decided to plant it in
Bhudevi’s garden, though with the condition that Bhudevi would have
the tree but its flowers, when it bloomed, would fall in Shridevi’s
garden. Mocking Bhudevi Shridevi said that rearing and maintaining the
tree was Bhudevi’s responsibility whereas its flowers were her. Vishnu
heard vane Shridevi and said that Parijat would bloom only during the
period when he was with Bhudevi in her garden.
The myth illustrates
the earth-goddess’s zeal to grow, though not without the divine help,
perhaps rains, a function of Vishnu, and bestow its fruits on others,
and Shri priding over what she does not create, and further that
riches are the earth’s bounties, and when undeservingly reaped and
used them to inflate one’s arrogance, divine powers desert their
The three images : Lord Vishnu in the centre, Shridevi, on his right,
and Bhudevi, on the left, are installed on independent circular lotus
seats laid over a rectangular platform consisting of a plain
base-moulding rising to half of the upper moulding’s height in taper,
and the rest, straight. The top of the platform is again a plain
moulding. From the two corners on the longer side of it elevates a
beautifully wrought ‘prabhavali’, the base-parts on the two sides
being aesthetically incised dwarf-pillars over which rises its upper
section consisting of corbels and an elaborate Kirtimukha motif with
beautiful tassels and strangely styled whiskers releasing from its
The four-armed image of Lord Vishnu is holding in his two
upper hands the disc and conch, the normal right is held in ‘varad’ –
bliss and redemption imparting posture, and the normal left,
suspending as in thoughtful mode. Both, Shridevi and Bhudevi are
normal two-armed figures. As prescribe texts, Bhudevi is carrying a
lotus in her right hand, and Shridevi, in her left, that is, towards
Lord Vishnu, though while Bhudevi’s lotus looks like a bud,
Shridevi’s, like a ‘Purna-ghata’.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.
How to keep a Brass statue well-maintained?
Brass statues are known and appreciated for their exquisite beauty and luster. The brilliant bright gold appearance of Brass makes it appropriate for casting aesthetic statues and sculptures. Brass is a metal alloy composed mainly of copper and zinc. This chemical composition makes brass a highly durable and corrosion-resistant material. Due to these properties, Brass statues and sculptures can be kept both indoors as well as outdoors. They also last for many decades without losing all their natural shine.
Brass statues can withstand even harsh weather conditions very well due to their corrosion-resistance properties. However, maintaining the luster and natural beauty of brass statues is essential if you want to prolong their life and appearance.
In case you have a colored brass statue, you may apply mustard oil using a soft brush or clean cloth on the brass portion while for the colored portion of the statue, you may use coconut oil with a cotton cloth.
Brass idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses are especially known for their intricate and detailed work of art. Nepalese sculptures are famous for small brass idols portraying Buddhist deities. These sculptures are beautified with gold gilding and inlay of precious or semi-precious stones. Religious brass statues can be kept at home altars. You can keep a decorative brass statue in your garden or roof to embellish the area and fill it with divinity.
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