The Madanika or heavenly maiden of Channakeshava temple from
Belur is some of the most awe-inspiring and exquisite representations of the
female form in Indian art. This life-size wooden statue of Madanika or Apsara
is a classical recreation of Hoysala sculpture, where grace, beauty, youth, and
divinity all condense into ethereal femininity.
The wooden Apsara statue is placed on a platform with the
Kalpa-vallari or the wish-fulfilling vine whose delineation gets richer on the
vegetation aureole that surrounds and complements the youthful suppleness of
the Hoysala maiden. Near the right shoulder of the Apsara, the mouth of Makara
(a mythical animal that symbolizes divinity and beauty) becomes the origin of
the Kalpa vallari, giving the composition a unique combination of motifs.
Outlined by the sinuously flowing vine, the Hoysala Apsara is ornamented beautifully,
with an ornate hairstyle and heavy Mekhala or girdle. She holds a Chanvara (fly
whisk) and a mango fruit in her hands which are carved painstakingly, giving them
a true-to-life effect. A stillness plays on her exquisite face as a monkey
playfully pulls at the tassel of her waist ornament, probably demanding the
mango in her hand. Markata or monkey as a troublemaker and mischievous company
is seen in Hoysala sculpture, representing Chanchalta or youthful anxiousness
which troubles the hearts of these delicate ladies. Another heavenly maiden,
much smaller in size but beautifully presented strikes a graceful posture near
the right foot of the Apsara.
Brimming with the beauty of youth and aesthetics, this wooden
panel is your portal to the celestial world of Apsaras, who are known to bestow
abundance, regalia, and charisma wherever they go.
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.
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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