This tall brass statue, an artefact endowed with great aesthetic beauty and rare craftsmanship, represents Deep-Lakshmi, the courier of divine light, and thereby prosperity and abundance. Contrary to what its name suggests, the statue does not represent a form or manifestation of the goddess Lakshmi, or a goddess in Hindu pantheon. At the most, the image might be seen as personifying the ‘auspicious’ aspect of Lakshmi synthesizing into its being with auspice the divine light and abundance.
As the Deep-Lakshmi tradition now prevails, it is a subordinate altar image in Lakshmi’s annual Diwali rituals. It harbours light, keeps it up, and accepts offerings in behalf of both, Lakshmi and light, and only in such restricted sense Deep-Lakshmi is a votive image.
When and how the form of Deep-Lakshmi evolved in the tradition – literary, theological, sculptural, popular, or any, is not known, for neither the early texts talk of her nor temple-carvings or independent sculptural panels portray an image corresponding to a Deep-Lakshmi form. Deep-Lakshmi is largely a recent innovation though in all likeliness born of an ages’ long condition of mind that had always worshipped a woman and had always celebrated the birth of light. This reverence for woman and exuberance for light seem to synthesize in the form of Deep-Lakshmi, a woman with divine appearance and with a lamp carried in her hands, and in associating it with Diwali, the festival of light, abundance and happiness.
The actual tradition of Deep-Lakshmi icons, as becomes known from various records, goes back to the later half of the sixteenth century. While celebrating Diwali by illuminating houses with lights, to which were subsequently added also crackers, the custom of exchanging gifts – lighted lamps being in greater favour, came in prevalence. It gave birth to designer lamps, and every person began looking for the kind of lamp suiting to his rank in the society. This encouraged a kind of professionalism, especially at centres of art and culture like Vijayanagara and Madurai, and there emerged a massive variety of specially designed lamps. Female icons, conceived like divine figures, gracious, young, endowed with lustrous beauty, and well costumed and bejeweled, carrying in their hands lamps, from a single one to any number, were cast in various mediums, metals and clay. Irrespective of when these lamps-carrying females came to be known as ‘Deep-Lakshmi’, the name ‘Deep-Lakshmi’ was certainly derived from Lakshmi, the presiding deity of Diwali.
Minute details, sharp features, angular chin, rounded cheeks, cute lips, deep thoughtful eyes, blissful composure, an expressive face, a well defined neck, sensuously moulded breasts, subdued belly, broad shoulders and a proportionate tall figure adorned with elegant jewellery and gems, characterise this Deep-Lakshmi image. Her hair floats beautifully on her shoulders and her lips seem to cradle a gentle smile. A more richly adorned Deep-Lakshmi statue is believed to assure a more prosperous coming year. Accordingly, this Deep-Lakshmi statue has been clad in an expensive ‘antariya’ – lower garment, artistically folded and secured with ornamental cords rounding all along her legs from waist down to feet. It has been secured with a multi-laced elaborate rich girdle with a beautiful buckle, bells and frills. An ornamental stan-pata – breast-band, covering the apexes of her breasts, is the only other wear on her figure. She has been represented as wearing a lavish crown. Characteristic to a Deep-Lakshmi icon, the resplendent divinity is carrying in her hands a large lamp. Another auspicious icon, a pair of peacocks, perch on her shoulders giving her form universality.
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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