Cool and endowed with moonlike translucent soothing complexion Heramba Ganapati is represented in colours as white or with pearl-like body colour, which in stone or metals is alternated with the expression of quiescence that enshrines his face and the entire being. One and sometimes even two of his hands impart ‘abhaya’ which defines in a way Heramba Ganapati’s leading emotion. As varies the number of his hands so vary the attributes he carries in them. In this statue in five of his hands he is carrying goad and noose in upper right and left, trident and sword, in middle right and left, and the lower right, he is holding in ‘abhaya’, while with the lower left, he is holding snake.
A magnificent metal-cast, perhaps the most difficult form of the iconography of Ganesh, it wondrously manages five elephant heads, and almost all front-facing, on a single neck and torso. The artist has avoided using lion’s icon for his mount, which is one of the conventional features of Heramba Ganapati iconography, perhaps because a detached and unsupported figure imbalanced by five heads, as is this statue, a difficult form, could not conveniently rest on the lion’s back. All five trunks, though revealing symmetry, have been differently conceived. One in the centre has been cast as inverted, those flanking it are upwards turned as in Gaja-Lakshmi iconography, and those on extreme right and left, as fully stretched. Besides other jewels, he is wearing a long thick garland down to his navel, a prescribed feature of Heramba Ganapati iconography, and a beautifully patterned loincloth, something like a sewn half trousers of these days.
The figure of the great Lord has been installed on a beautiful lotus pedestal. He is supporting his entire body on the toe of his left foot the rest of which, lifted above the ground, is engaged in dance. A snake supports his other feet, also in dance mode, on its hood. The entire statue reveals sensuous warmth, refined plasticity, unique luminosity and a kind of spiritual serenity. It has tremendously succeeded in maintaining formative proportions, unity of form, symmetry of parts and its overall aesthetics.
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.