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Caviar-Black Shawl from Srinagar with Hand-Embroidered Maple Tree

Caviar-Black Shawl from Srinagar with Hand-Embroidered Maple Tree

This powerful black shawl from the heart of Srinagar would be a statement addition to your ethnic wardrobe. Fashioned from the superior homegrown wool of the region - indeed, Kashmiri woollens are among the most sumptuous in the world - it is dyed a thick, inky black that is sure to stand out. It is the perfect backdrop for the colour palette of the superimposed embroidery - fiery reds and oranges, interspersed with vibrant pinks and greens.


The motifs in question are quintessentially Kashmiri. Profuse vines breaking into delicate tendrils and chinar (maple) leaves large and small. The maple leaf motif is to Kashmiri textiles what paisleys are to the rest of (traditional) North Indian fashion. Zoom in on the same to appreciate the flawless handiwork, the skill for which is arguably endemic to the Himalayan valley artisans. Also, through the translucence of the fabric, one could make out the high-precision, superbly uniform weave of the fabric.

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The Flying Plaits Of Lord Nataraja

The Flying Plaits Of Lord Nataraja

Copper is the forte of the Nepalese sculptor. Among brass, bronze, and wood, it has its own special place as proof of the regional artisan’s penchant for difficult media. The one you see on this page is a fine example of the same. It depicts the Lord Shiva in His Nataraja-roopa, in the midst of His destructive tandava. It is avidya (ignorance) He destroys through His dance, which is the breeding ground for every imaginable affliction that besets the human psyche. The very image of such debilitating ignorance is the apasmara, the figure that the Lord crushes to death beneath His feet, agony writ large on His face.


A number of aspects set this work apart from your run-of-the-mill Nataraja sculptures. It is a compact composition - the flame-spewing aureole is a perfect round, the asymmetrical dancing figure placed therein filling it up completely. The Lord’s hair is in a bunch of plaits that are flying about His face despite the weight, conveying the intensity of His divine motion. The shringar is minimal but substantial. A cobra dangles from one of His limbs, its hood raised, stance as dynamic is Lord Shiva’s itself.


The lotus pedestal with its petals turned downward is the only suggestion of gentleness in this sculpture. The same is complemented by the Lord’s composure of countenance - calm and drawn in, the very picture of stability and omniscience.

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Nritya Ganesha, Dancing Against The Sunset

Nritya Ganesha, Dancing Against The Sunset

Let a lifelike Lord Ganesha adorn the walls of your space. He is a child-deity, the son of Shiva-Parvati, adorable in both form and stance. In this mural, He is depicted in the midst of His nritya (dance) in mid-air, with one ankle raised high above the other. His chubby form is adorned with gold and pearls, as befits a divine being, and a fine dhoti of solid green silk. On His brow sits a bejewelled crown, behind which shines monotone halo with hints of green glamour.


The vibrancy of this painting lies in the expression of the Lord as well as the characteristic colour palette. His gaze is directed straight at the onlooker, a comforting reassurance in His large brown eyes for the devotee seeking His blessings. In one of His four hands is, of course, a freshly made laddoo. He is dancing on the soft petals of a peachy pink lotus blooming on inky blue waters, amidst a bed of lilypads. Add to that the rich olive yellow of His skin and the fiery glow of the sunset in the backdrop, and you have a palette that is unmistakably Kerala mural.


Like all Kerala murals, this one is a brightly coloured number with a markedly cheerful theme, albeit a devotional one. So dynamic is this composition that the Lord looks like He will break out of the painting any moment now.

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Ghagra Skirt from Kutch with Multicolor Thread Embroidered Patch Border and Mirrors

Ghagra Skirt from Kutch with Multicolor Thread Embroidered Patch Border and Mirrors

This skirt is a typical Kutch ghagra - a solid pastel base, richly embroidered patches along the border studded with large mirrors, and ample volume contained within the pleats. The cheerful variations this lovely ghagra comes in would allow you to team it with a wide range of shirts and blouses, ethnic and otherwise.
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Namaskaram Lord Garuda With The Majestic Wings

Namaskaram Lord Garuda With The Majestic Wings

Lord Garuda is a falcon-deity. As the vahana of none other than Lord Vishnu, He ferries the creator across the multitude of lokas (realms of existence) and presides over winged creatures Himself. In Indian art, He has evolved to acquire a predominantly human form, as could be seen in this brass sculpture. He has the body of a super-strong man, a yogi in terms of form and temperament; and has retained only the wings of His eagle form.


The majestic wings set this Lord Garuda composition apart from other vahana iconographies. They spread wide lateral to His broad shoulders, and close down around His torso such that the tips of the wings graze His dhoti-clad hips. Zoom in on the same to observe the sweeping serrations made by the artisan - it is a fine example of high-precision handiwork. Note the lifelike angle of curvature of the silhouette, which betrays the sculptor’s fine attention to detail.


The Lord Garuda is seated with one knee on a simple pedestal. He is wearing a short dhoti that reveals the musculature of His powerful limbs. His hands are in the Namaskaram mudra, which He uses to greet Lord Vishnu. An elaborate crown and halo grace His head, from beneath which emerge a cascade of thick locks. His handsome face bears an expression of fierce, unwavering devotion.

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Devi Lakshmi, The Very Picture Of Opulence

Devi Lakshmi, The Very Picture Of Opulence

Of the Devi of plenty, this piece of folk art is a fine expression. The Devi Lakshmi is seated in lalitasana on a lotus-throne of golden petals. Her silk saree is hemmed with gold, more of which is to be found in Her ample shringar - from necklaces and floral kundalas, to amulets and anklets. She holds a lotus in each of Her posterior hands, Her anterior alta-painted ones held up in blessing. Except for the arrangement of Her fair limbs, from Her person to the durbar that surrounds Her the whole composition is in perfect symmetry. Her throne is flanked by a pair of bejewelled pillars, and topped by a richly engraved roof. A black velvet curtain with minimal white motifs makes up the backdrop. The feet of Her pendant limb nuzzles a lotus that is blooming in a small freshwater pool afore Her asana.


The gold-and-silver colour palette of the painting makes a statement of abundance. In fact, Devi Lakshmi presides over resources because it is quintessential to the preservation of the universe, for which Her husband, Lord Vishnu, is responsible. The face of Vishnupriya is beauteous and tattooed, the sumptuous gold crown sitting on Her head befitting the same. A composure of life and vibrance characterises Her countenance.

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Wood-Ash Bomkai Handloom Sari from Orissa with Woven Bootis and Temple Border

Wood-Ash Bomkai Handloom Sari from Orissa with Woven Bootis and Temple Border

The Bomkai variety is the crown jewel of sarees of Orissa. A region of the Eastern delta known primarily for its sarees and temples, the produce of its handlooms make for stylish additions to the wardrobes of traditional yet fashionable women everywhere. The one you see on this page is a pure cotton number, handpicked for its solemn colour palette and the signature finish.


The dominant colour is a creamy ivory dye across the field. The same is set off by the dense fuschia border and the ample proportions of rich, dark black in the endpiece. Sparsely placed booties in fuschia and black go well with the luxuriant embroidery along the entire length of the endpiece, done in pristine white thread. Of course a regional saree such as this one would be incomplete without the signature templetop border, the characteristic weave of which is best appreciated by zooming in. The instantly recognisable silhouette is derived by local weavers and artisans from the plethora of temples that the state is known for.

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Mother Cow Nourishes Her Young One

Mother Cow Nourishes Her Young One

This decorative work of art would be a valuable addition to any Indian home or office. Crafted in Aligarh, a Northern city known for its metal and alloy artisanry, it depicts a mother cow in all the beauty and sturdiness of youth. Her little calf stands beneath her, reaching out for her robust teats. She nuzzles him as he stands there on his little legs, gently prying into his mother’s udders, too little to even accomplish the process without the support of her head behind him.

While the holy cow is a favourite subject with devout artists and sculptors to this day, this one stands apart from the majority of such works. This is because it is the dynamic depiction of an inimitably divine moment between mother and child. From the angle of the mother’s substantial neck to the stance of her young one, this sculpture is a picture of life in motion and the maternal fervour that sustains it.

The composition is inlaid with high-quality stones in richly hued pastels and poised on an inlaid pedestal. The credit for such tasteful, high-precision handiwork goes to the local artisans of Patan, Nepal. A rudimentary but discernible image of Devi Lakshmi lies on the cow’s back. She presides over resources and plenty, in the stock and growth of which the cow plays a crucial role. This explains the reverence accorded to the cow-mother in India’s predominantly agricultural economy.

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Heavenly Shivatandava (Tibetan Buddhist Thangka, Brocadeless)

Heavenly Shivatandava (Tibetan Buddhist Thangka, Brocadeless)

The art of Nepal is dominated by the thangka. An age-old style of painting done on the finest of fabrics, it is a most demanding skill in terms of complexity of technique and the years required to master the same. The one you see on this page is a contemporary example of this superfine art, handpicked for the way it conforms to the venerable painting tradition of Nepal. It is brocadeless, which makes for a compact work of art that would infuse your space with gravity and devotion.


It is a depiction of Lord Shiva after the Tibetan Buddhist style. He is in the midst of His destructive tandava, His pristine yogic musculature exposed to view but for the tigerskin loincloth He wears. A venomous snake slides down His torso and raises its hood. His jata (dreadlocks) are held in place by the typical five-spire crown of Tibetan Buddhist iconography, matched by the characteristic facial features and kundalas.
A wide halo burns bright behind His head. Further behind it lies a flaming aureole befitting His divine presence. He dances on the soft bed of a lotus, its petals curling up from the force of His motions. The setting serves to tone down the powerful influence of the tandava. A gently flowing stream in the foreground; sublime verdure and azure; and the soothing - almost feminine - strokes of the brush that define the clouds.

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Victoria-Blue Kashmiri Long Jacket with All-Over Hand-Embroidered Paisleys

Victoria-Blue Kashmiri Long Jacket with All-Over Hand-Embroidered Paisleys

No outerwear makes a statement like the Kashmiri jacket. The crown jewels of traditional Indian fashion, Kashmiri shawls, jackets, and kaftans would uplift the wardrobe of any fashionista with ethnic leanings. This long button-down jacket has been fashioned from pure homegrown silk, and would look great at a party over a saree or a suit, or even formal western attire. Note the elegant, straight-shaped fit of the jacket, which makes for an inimitable silhouette.

The colours that have gone into this work are singular and feminine in an unusual way. On a foundation of electric blue is a coat of dense embroidery in slate-green colour, comprising of paisleys in a multitude of proportions, interspersed with delicate leafy tendrils. A characteristic panel is layered along the frontal edges, wherein lie the solid green buttons. The fact that the embroidery on this number is done solely by hand makes this a wardrobe investment.

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