An otherworldly nymph adjusts the parting of her hair. Her beauty is ethereal - slenderly formed in the finest proportions of her sex, with a face as expressive as a tropical sunset. The word nymph is only a crude translation of the Indian apsara. Resident of Indraloka, the realm of existence (loka) of Lord Indra, muse of the gandharvas (celestial artists), the apsara’s beauty lies in the poetry of her being and the finesse of her mind as much as in the allure of her youthful form.
The statue that you see on this page is a dynamic composition. It depicts a tribhanga apsara, which means that her body is jutting out (‘bhanga’) at three (‘tri’) different junctures. In her left hand she cradles a miniscule vessel, just big enough to fit into her delicate palm. With her right hand she extracts a pinch of powdered vermillion from its humble depths and colours the parting of her gorgeous hair. There is great beauty and grace in the gesture of a sadhva (married woman). Her long braided hair cascades down her back, its tasselled end resting delicately upon the undulation of her hip.
The apsara is naked but for her jewellery and the celestial snakes wound around her limbs. Necklaces layered over her full-figured torso, amulets and wristlets and anklets that highlight the finesse of her shape. Circular karnakundalas frame a round, youthful face. She stands on a high plinth engraved with lotus petals.
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