The Ganesha Panel

Item Code: RM67
South Indian Temple Wood Carving
Height: 14 inch
Width: 36 inch
Depth: 2.3 inch
Weight: 8.47 kg
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Shipped to 153 countries
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This exceptionally colourful wood-panel represents three forms of Ganapati, one in the centre and other two on sides. The inner space that the panel frames within : a representation of cosmos or the holy expanse that the presence of Lord Ganesha consecrates, is undivided but the superstructure with separate lotus-apexes and the ground plan with separate lotus-divisions identify its three spatial zones symbolic of three worlds or cosmic regions illustrated sometimes in visual arts by the temple form with three niches. Thus, as is the well settled Indian doctrine, what appears to be many : the deity or the space that the deity enshrines, is just one, plurality being merely unity’s diversity. The wood-panel represents three forms of Ganesha and three outward divisions of space which in its own context and in the context of the presiding deity is a unified whole.

Though the Shiva’s son and a deity in Shaivite line, Ganesha is not linked to dissolution – primary cosmic function of his father; he rather renders the process of creation detriments free and helps sustain it by his sheer benevolence and auspices without directly operative against any, good or evil. Thus, Lord Ganesha is far more but essentially the deity who sustains and protects by his mere presence. Whatever the weapons in hands, four or any number of them, wisdom is the main tool of Lord Ganesha by which he operates and which he infuses into his devotees. Hence, it is not strange that both, Lakshmi : the goddess representing sustenance, and Saraswati : the goddess of wisdom, are alike associated with Parvati’s son, the valiant Ganesha.

In its simple portrayal the wood panel illustrates this essence of Lord Ganesha. Of his abundant iconographic forms the carver has used three, all four-armed, carrying alike in them goad, noose, broken tusk and a piece of sweet, all, pot-belled, wearing identical crowns, ornaments, belly-bands and antariyas except their colours, golden for the central figure and green for those on sides, and the same gesture of arms and an identical seating posture, but the dimensional breadth of the representation is immense and as far goes its symbolism.

The presiding form of Lord Ganesha, one enshrining the axis of the defined space, symbolic of the known cosmos, is lotus-seated Ganapati. Lotus being the manifest form of Lakshmi, this form of Ganesha represents his Lakshmi-Ganapati manifestation. Ganesha representing benevolence, auspiciousness and freedom from detriments and inauspicious, and Lakshmi, prosperity, abundance, fertility and beauteous, Lakshmi-Ganesha is thus the most potent instrument of sustenance. Flanking the central deity on the left is the lion-riding form of Ganesha. The mount of Durga, in her all manifestations, Parvati and others, lion represents the avenging goddess and the nurturing mother Durga. This form of Ganesha represents him as the valiant protector and destroyer of the wicked, another aspect of sustaining the creation and maintaining cosmic balance. The form on the right of the centre is the Ganapati’s own mouse-riding form. As the mouse pierces all material layers in between and reaches its target, wisdom, with its deep penetrating insight resolves the mysteries facing it. As Saraswati is the wisdom’s presiding goddess, this form of Ganesha is ‘Saraswati-Ganesha’.

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.

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Sculpting Serenity: Unveiling the Art of Crafting Wood Statues

Wood has been a preferred material for sculptures and statues since ancient times. It is easy to work with than most metals and stones and therefore requires less effort to shape it into any desired shape or form. The texture of the wood gives an element of realism to the sculpture. The selection of an appropriate wood type is necessary for carving. Woods that are too resinous or coniferous are not considered good for carving as their fiber is very soft and thus lacks strength. On the other hand, wood such as Mahogany, Oakwood, Walnut wood, Weet cherry wood, etc., are preferred by sculptors because their fiber is harder. A wood sculptor uses various tools such as a pointed chisel in one hand and a mallet in another to bring the wood to the desired measurement and to make intricate details on it. A carving knife is used to cut and smooth the wood. Other tools such as the gouge, V-tool, and coping saw also serve as important tools in wood carving. Although the wood carving technique is not as complex and tough as stone carving or metal sculpting, nonetheless, a wood carver requires a high level of skills and expertise to create a stunning sculpture.

1. Selecting the right wood

The process of wood carving begins with selecting a chunk of wood that is required according to the type and shape of the statue to be created by the sculptor. Both hardwoods and softwoods are used for making artistic pieces, however, hardwoods are preferred more than softer woods because of their durability and longevity. But if heavy detailing is to be done on the statue, wood with fine grain would be needed as it would be difficult to work with hardwood.

2. Shaping the wood

Once the wood type is selected, the wood carver begins the general shaping process using gouges of various sizes. A gouge is a tool having a curved cutting edge which is useful in removing large unwanted portions of wood easily without splitting the wood. The sculptor always carves the wood across the grain of the wood and not against it.

3. Adding detailing

When a refined shape of the statue is obtained, it is time for making details on the statue using different tools. This is achieved by using tools such as a veiner to make and a V-tool to create decorative and sharp cuts.

4. Surface finishing

Once finer details have been added, the sculptor is ready to smoothen the surface and give it a perfect finish. Tools such as rasps and rifflers are used to get a smooth surface. The finer polishing is obtained by rubbing the surface with sandpaper. If a textured surface is required, this step is skipped. Finally, to protect the statue from excessive dirt accumulation, the sculptor applies natural oils such as walnut or linseed oil all over it. This also brings a natural sheen to the statue.

How to care for Wood Statues?

Wood is extensively used in sculpting especially in countries like China, Germany, and Japan. One feature that makes the wood extremely suitable for making statues and sculptures is that it is light and can take very fine detail. It is easier for artists to work with wood than with other materials such as metal or stone. Both hardwoods, as well as softwood, are used for making sculptures. Wood is mainly used for indoor sculptures because it is not as durable as stone. Changes in weather cause wooden sculptures to split or be attacked by insects or fungus. The principal woods for making sculptures and statues are cedar, pine, walnut, oak, and mahogany. The most common technique that sculptors use to make sculptures out of wood is carving with a chisel and a mallet. Since wooden statues are prone to damage, fire, and rot, they require proper care and maintenance.


  • Wood tends to expand and contract even after it has been processed, thus it is always recommended to keep the wooden sculptures in rooms with little humidity. Excess moisture can harm your masterpiece.


  • Periodical dusting of the finished piece is necessary to maintain its beauty as dust accumulation on the surface takes away the shine of the sculpture. You can use a clean and soft cloth or a hairbrush for this purpose.


  • You must avoid applying any chemical-based solutions that may damage the wood from the inside. Instead, you can apply lemon oil or coconut oil using a cotton rag to the sculpture to bring out its natural shine. Lemon oil also helps to clean any stains on the sculpture.


  • Applying a layer of beeswax protects the wood from sun damage and hides even the smallest imperfections on the wood.


It is extremely important to preserve and protect wooden sculptures with proper care. A little carelessness and negligence can lead to their decay, resulting in losing all their beauty and strength. Therefore, a regular clean-up of the sculptures is a must to prolong their age and to maintain their shine and luster. 

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