mother goddess is Ananta-Rupini, one who has boundless forms. However,
according to the celestial events she empowers, Hinduism provides her with a
name and a discernible form, so that the devotee can begin to comprehend
Ma-Shakti’s divine aura. Among her innumerable forms is- Uma, the enchantress
of the great yogi- Shiva. Shiva represents the passive, male energy and Uma is
his counterpart, the active, and female. When Shiva enters into deep meditation
and the interplay of female-male energies is stopped, the world order faces the
danger of an imbalance. This is when the great-goddess, Mahadevi takes the form
of Uma or Bhogashakti, bringing Shiva out of his meditation, towards the
process of Creation.
Once Uma unites with Maheshwar, with every Leela (cosmic play) they perform, life blooms, and balance is restored. Uma thus is the most exquisite and sensuous form of Parvati, the Bhuvana- Mohini, who has mesmerized the whole Universe.
This large bronze from Swamimalai is the representation of the majesty of Uma, who sits on a two-tiered platform, the base of which is a cuboid, with an upturned lotus placed on its top. The detailing of a secondary element- the platform, can be observed to get an idea of the hard work of the artists of Swamimalai. The reversed lotus is accurately treated by showing the ends of the petals of the flower by moulding the bronze accordingly. Uma is
seated in a variation of Lalitasana (posture of royal ease) with one leg
dangling while the leg resting on the platform is slightly raised, owing to the
support Devi has placed under it as well as the shifting of her body weight
onto her left hand. Her grand form feels impressive with her long jatamukut-
hair knotted in a long conical shape and held in place by hair ornaments. A
tiara with Makara motif (the mythical composite animal with body parts of an
elephant, a crocodile, and a lion) perfectly sits on her hair which forms a
series of beautiful coils over her forehead. The entire hairdo is secured by a
round and floral Sirachakra at the back. Her ears are elongated from the weight
of the jewelled earrings that are missing in this bronze statue. Their absence
and the Yajnopavita Devi is wearing suggests that she has taken the form
similar to her husband Shiva, devoid of any heavy ornamentation. On her neck
are three rows of simple neckpieces made of metal and beads. The stylized
Makara motif of her tiara is repeated in her armbands, bringing symmetry to the
adornment of Uma. Below the Makara armlet, Devi wears another jewelled string
and bracelets on her wrists, all enhancing the beauty of her creeper-like
slender hands. Her right hand is in the Katakamukha gesture, for holding a
lotus flower, usually offered to the Devi by her devotees. The consort of Shiva
has rounded breasts, whose full shape is pleasingly contrasted by her slim
waist, deep navel, and wide hips. A waist belt is tied over Devi’s antariya
(lower body garment) which is draped in the Kaccha style, with a part of the
garment passing between her legs, from front to back. Long anklets and folds of
Uma’s dhoti that fit tightly to her body, have emphasized the graceful placing
of her legs in the Lalitasana.
(form) of Uma is also called Bhogashakti – the goddess of Pleasure. Made amply
clear by her sensuous posture and the details of the sculpture, Uma is the
embodiment of desire and passion. Idealized versions of the Indian standard of
feminine beauty are clubbed together to create the visual depiction of the
daughter of Himalaya who succeeded in making a householder out of the ascetic
sensuality in the body of Uma is contradicted by the inward-looking expression
on her face. With her almond-shaped eyes, lotus lips, and the overall softness
of her countenance Uma reminds us of the Sadashiva of Elephanta caves, the numerous
Chola Shiva sculptures, and the more imaginative ones among us, of the Buddha.
The Swamimalai craftsmen present the intricate philosophical imagery of
Mahadevi, the great goddess through their artwork. Uma is passionate, but she
is simultaneously dispassionate. Shiva’s Shakti pulls him into the functioning
of the mortal world, but she also becomes the unseen yogic energy that sustains
Shiva when he is in Dhyana (deep meditation). Those who can understand the vast
and paradoxical nature of the Great Goddess are able to see that she and Shiva
are not separate. Such is the oneness of Shiva-Shakti that the artist could not
help but carve a visage for Uma that reminds the devotee of Shiva that resides
in Shivani (a name for Parvati).
WHAT IS PANCHALOHA BRONZE AND HOW TO TAKE CARE OF IT ?
Bronze is a metal alloy that has the primary composition of Copper and Tin. There is also an addition of other metals such as Manganese, Aluminium, Nickel, and some non-metals such as Phosphorus. This composition of several metals and non-metals makes Bronze an extremely durable and strong metal alloy. It is for this reason that Bronze is extensively used for casting sculptures and statues. Since Bronze has a low melting point, it usually tends to fill in the finest details of a mould and when it cools down, it shrinks a little that makes it easier to separate from the mould.
" If you happen to have a bronze statue, simply use a cotton cloth with some coconut oil or any other natural oil to clean the statue. "
A village named Swamimalai in South India is especially known for exceptionally well-crafted Bronze icons of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The skilled artisans of this place use Panchaloha Bronze for casting the icons. Panchaloha Bronze is made of five metals; Copper, Zinc, Lead, and small quantities of Gold and Silver. Zinc gives a golden hue to the finished figure and Lead makes the alloy softer for the easy application of a chisel and hammer. The common technique for producing these statues and sculptures is the “Lost-wax” method. Because of the high durability of bronze sculptures and statues, less maintenance is required, and can still last up to many decades.
Exotic India takes great pride in its collection of hand-picked Panchaloha Statues. You will find the murtis of Gods (Krishna, Hanuman, Narasimha, Ganesha, Nataraja, and Kartikeya) and Goddesses (Saraswati, Lakshmi, Durga, and Parvati), and Buddha statues. You can also buy Ritual paraphernalia (Wicks lamp, Puja Kalash, Cymbals, and Puja Flag) on the website. All these statues and items have been made with a lot of care and attention, giving them a flawless finish. Their fine carving detail represents the rich tradition of India.
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