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The Majestic Lord Sadashiva, Of Great Cosmic Beauty

The Majestic Lord Sadashiva, Of Great Cosmic Beauty

Lord Sadashiva is the very picture of the multiplicity that Indian deities are all about. A number of texts expounding such a form of Lord Shiva could be traced from Southeast Asian and Eastern Indian scripture, which variously describe Him as a multifaceted Mukhalingam. Despite the fact that the texts expound a five-faced deity, the numberlessness of similar deities in the Hindu pantheon has more to do with their superhuman capacities than with mere numbers.


Lord Sadashiva is more of a Southern deity. This explains why He is to be found in some abundance amongst the artisan-studios in that part of the country. The one you see on this page has been handpicked from the studios of Southern bronzeworkers, the home of which is in present-day Swamimalai. From the one-of-a-kind subject to the high-precision artisanry the same has been captured in, this one is a fine example of the region’s workmanship.


A plethora of handsomely sculpted faces, the heads crowned, bear a composure of divine bliss. The Lord is possessed of numerous weapons to fight adharma with, apart from the anterior two meting out blessings to devotees. The tallness of His stature is complemented by the gracious pedestal that lies beneath His feet, a multitiered structure engraved with lotus petals all over. The gold finish of the murti features green undertones that are highly characteristic.

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The Birth Of Lakshmi, A Symbolic Pot Of Wealth In Her Hand

The Birth Of Lakshmi, A Symbolic Pot Of Wealth In Her Hand

Lakshmi is the Vedic deity that presides over resources. She is the wife of Vishnu, Who is responsible for the preservation aspect of the existential cycle. She is aptly depicted in this watercolour in all Her heavenly glory. The resplendent silks of Her saree are set off by the matching rubies and emeralds on Her ornaments. Streams of pearls cascade down Her torso, touching the elaborate kamarband that wraps around Her gracious hips. Her gold neckpiece goes well with the chunky, studded gold on Her four wrists, but even more so with the gorgeous crown on Her head. In Her left anterior hand, She holds a richly adorned pot with a lid to protect the wealth within. She is the very picture of plenty.

Every time Her husband has been incarnated as Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, and Krishna, She has accompanied Him as Kamala, Dharani, Sita, and Rukmini. Hence, She has come to embody the especially feminine virtues of beauty and devotion. She is as inseparable from Him as knowledge from intellect, coherence from words, and dharma from righteousness. A divine sense of calm is writ across Her supremely beautiful brow, the rest of Her form as rubescent as the lotuses She holds up in Her tender (posterior) hands. The right anterior hand is the ashirvaad mudra, what with Her chosen devotees amongst the most fortunate of our realm of existence. Her four arms stand for dharma (ethics), artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), and moksha (deliverance).

While the Puranas describe the birth of Lakshmi as the daughter of the sage Bhrigu and his wife Khyati, She is deified as having been born from the oceans during the all-important samudramanthan. Artist Kailash Raj depicts Her as such, emerging from the tempestuous waters. Complex brushstrokes in limited shades and tints of blue illustrate withh great skill the prevailing turmoil in the heavens. Note the graduated halo that surrounds Lakshmi - the gold glow of knowledge, followed by the pink ringlet of beauty, and finally the pristine layer symbolic of ethical purity.

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Caviar-Black Pure Pashmina Handloom Shawl from Kashmir with Sozni Embroidery All-Over

Caviar-Black Pure Pashmina Handloom Shawl from Kashmir with Sozni Embroidery All-Over

The wonders of sozni on pashmina are brought to life in this exquisite shawl. Handpicked from the season's latest offerings straight from the looms of Kashmir, the inky black of the foundation colour goes well with the gossamer translucence of the pashmina. The embroidery is dense, and depicts a variety of foliage that could be found in the valley. This stunningly decorative style of embroidery is endemic to the artisans of the region, and does great justice to a fabric as rare and beautiful as pashmina. Throw this over a gorgeous evening saree to look your best; indeed a wide variety of colours would go with this one.
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Serpent-Crowned Shaktisamagama Mahakala

Serpent-Crowned Shaktisamagama Mahakala

In the Shaktisamagama Tantra, Lord Mahakala is the terrific deity that dwells at the juncture of eight cremation grounds. Common to Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, He is the husband of Devi Mahakali and Her equal in terms of beauty and ferocity. The handpicked mask that you see on this page is the most apt depiction of the deity to be found in contemporary art, as described in the aforementioned text.


It captures to spine-chilling perfection the frightening demeanour of the cross-cultural deity. His skin is adorned with the ashes of the cremation grounds. A wild, bloodthirsty gaze characterises the eyes. He bares His teeth at the onlooker, the twin fangs on either side of the jaws making a picture of the doom that adharma deserves. For a moustache He has the slithering bodies of two snakes sculpted on His upper lip.


It is not just iconographical perfection that makes this a must-have for the Lord Mahakala devotee. Dual rows of serpents with their hoods raised constitute the crown of Mahakala. It is a complex work, a sharp pointed spire punctuating the snakes that seem to be as fierce as the deity whose head they are sitting on. This could be a powerful visualisation aid for highly advanced sadhana or a remarkable item of home decor.

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The Iconographic Perfection Of Devi Saraswati

The Iconographic Perfection Of Devi Saraswati

Devi Saraswati has no equal in terms of learning and refinement. As such, these attributes of Brahmapriya (the favourite of Her husband, Lord Brahma) find expression in Her unmistakable iconography. This classical painting of Saraswati Mata is replete with the same, of which the veena in Her delicate hands and the white of Her saree are the most prominent.

In fact, the colour white dominates the palette of this work. Her skin is dewy, the unusual colour of crushed olives. A milk-white swan, Her vahana, is seated in perfect stillness behind Her. Her asana is a gigantic lotus in full bloom, its pristine petals featuring undertones of powdery pink and gold. The waters flowing underneath are calm and clear as crystal.

There is so much of the dynamic in this painting. If you gaze into this painting long enough, you could almost observe the displacement of the swans flying in the background and see the flora in the foreground sway in the breeze. The brushstrokes employed at the waters convey a sense of gentle motion. From the tilt of Her neck and the direction of Her gaze, it seems that She is in close communion with the miniscule swans and lotus-buds in the stream, as if She is playing to infuse them with life and nourishment.

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Neutral-Gray Long Kashmiri Jacket with Ari Hand-Embroidered Paisleys and Florals

Neutral-Gray Long Kashmiri Jacket with Ari Hand-Embroidered Paisleys and Florals

The long Kashmiri jacket is the ethnic equivalent of the unputdownable trench coat of the west. It makes a statement that is unique; comes with a silhouette to die for; and adds personality to the rest of your ensemble, no matter how indifferently put together. The silk jackets of Kashmir are a unique work of art. Firstly, they are made from pure homegrown silk that is endemic to the region. Secondly, the skill to work with such delicate fabric including spinning into yarn, dyeing, and embroidering lies exclusively with local artisans in the valley. Finally, the colours and motifs that go into finishing these jackets are exquisite.

The one you see on this page is a gorgeous silk number that you could layer over Indian as well as western outfits. The base colour is a pale grey that takes on a silvery shimmer from the silk make. Superimposed on the same is a luxuriant network of ari embroidery. It is a kind of continuous chain stitch technique done with miniscule crewels. Its jet black and verdure makes for an appeal that is at once earthy and ethnic. Let this be your signature jacket this winter as you add a traditional spin to any gathering you walk in wearing this one.

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The Unusual Mahakali With Ten Heads, Ten Arms, And Ten Legs (Made In Nepal)

The Unusual Mahakali With Ten Heads, Ten Arms, And Ten Legs (Made In Nepal)

The ferocious deity, Mahakali, is the quintessential image of the destructive power of Her spouse, Shiva (from the Hindu trinity comprising of Brahma who creates, and Vishnu who preserves). The name Kali is derived from the Sanskrit 'kal', which means time; hence, Kali lords over time itself. Like time She is all-devouring as well as all-encompassing. Such superlative destructive power over existence as we know it calls for awe-inspiring iconography, like in this flawlessly sculpted Mahakali icon made in the recesses of Nepal.

Her skin, the colour of the inky tropical skies at dusk, is the embodiment of tamas. The usual aspects of the Kali iconography include the long garland of the heads of adharmees She has just slayed, the skirt of severed human arms She wears that are an offering by Her devotees of their karma, and Her luscious tongue protruding out of Her mouth in a stance that is decidedly bloodthirsty. What makes this a signature, one-of-a-kind Mahakali are the ten crowned heads and the ten limbs each. While the composure of each of Her beauteous countenances is superbly fierce, it is set off by the sheer variety of weapons and ritual implements in each of Her intricately sculpted hands. With five pairs of legs to match, the deity is in the middle of a tandava ritual on a battlefield lain with vanquished adharmees and their fallen weapons, embossed on Her enormous shield. Her luxuriant, dishevelled tresses complete the iconography, a symbol of Her untramelled freedom (this lends Her the name, Muktakesi).

Her form is characteristically naked punctuated by hints of shringar at the neck, waist, wrists, and ankles. Despite Her divinely fierce portrayal, it is impossible to miss the supple beauty of Her figure and the feminine appeal of Her sookshma features. Note how the third eye has been carved onto the temples of each Kali head in this Mahakali statue.

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Chilling With The Peacock

Chilling With The Peacock

This complex watercolour depicts a moment in the private life of Mughal court-maidens. Three friends, handpicked from across the country for their beauty and bearing, have gathered in their chamber to talk about their day and amuse themselves with their fourth friend, the peacock. It is well-past dusk, as could be gleaned from the beauteous night outside the window, painted with the most skilled and imaginative brushstrokes.


In the privacy of each other’s company, the ladies have let their hair and dupattas down. The peacock is eating out of the hands of one of them, while the other two look on. The painting boasts of a remarkable level of attention to detail - the gold booties on their richly coloured lehengas, the lush rugs and cushions they are sitting on, and the lifelike candle burning steadily in the foreground.


Upon gazing at each of the ladies in turn, one finds that each of the splendidly dressed ladies is fairer than the other. They are youthful and lithe, their irresistible figures enhanced by the skimpy cholies and low-cut lehengas they are wearing. Together, they are no less than the sultry glimpse of the skies in the background, the jewels on their flaxen bodies competing with the resplendence of the moon.

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Summer-Melon Flared-Palazzo Salwar Kameez Suit with Zari-Woven Florals and Motifs

Summer-Melon Flared-Palazzo Salwar Kameez Suit with Zari-Woven Florals and Motifs

This one is a distinctively bridal number. The three-piece Indian salwar-kameez is as revered of a wedding-wear tradition as sarees and lehengas, thanks to the influence of the foreign, northwestern cultures. And it is not simply about the unputdownable colour palette of gold, enhanced by the sheen of the silk fabric, and ultra-feminine peach bordering on pink. The sheer proportion of bling that graces this dress makes this fit to be spotted at a wedding.

Also, the floral motif is an undying bridal statement. Zoom in on the kameez to truly appreciate the intricacy of the embroidery, which is done with zari (gold thread), a style of embroidery that defines traditional Indian fashion. Similar sequined motifs in gold grace the translucent peachy pink dupatta, which matches the hemline of the kameez. The super-flared style of salwar that completes this dress, popularly called the sharara, is what makes this an unusual wedding dress.

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Namaskaram Lord Garuda With Imposing Wings

Namaskaram Lord Garuda With Imposing Wings

The evolution of Lord Garuda in Indian art is an interesting one. As the vahana (mount) of the great Deva Vishnu, He is observed to have been shedding His aquiline characteristics towards a form that is more human than eagle. The sculpture you see on this page has been handpicked for the balance that the artisan has struck up between eagle and human, making for an image that is at once powerful and relatable.


Clad in a loincloth, His shringar comprises of a bunch of snakes (He is considered the archenemy of death, of which the snake is a symbol). In fact, He is called Nagantaka, the devourer of snakes. According to Indian mythology, it stems from the acrimony between His mother, Vinata, and Kadru, Her sister/co-wife and the serpent-queen. He is seated with a knee touching the grand lotus pedestal, His hands folded in all humility in the Namaskaram mudra.
The dark burnished finish on the insides of His wings add to the beauty of His imposing wings. From the macrostructure of the same to the plumage and stance, they have been sculpted with a great deal of skill and imagination, the kind that stems from the heart of the Vishnu devotee. From the raw lines that make up the countenance to the rugged texture of the overall composition, the primal strength of Lord Garuda has been conveyed well in this workl

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