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Nandi

12 March, 2013 (07:00) | medieval, sculpture, south asia | By: xensen

Nandi - Asian Art Museum - P3120420

 

Nandi the bull is the mount of the Hindu god Shiva. I took this photo at the Asian Art Museum, where, unfortunately, the bull is less prominently displayed than it was at the museum’s old location in Golden Gate Park.

A few garlands would help. The museum’s label informs us that

In southern India, a large sculpture of Nandi would usually be placed in front of the main sanctuary of a temple to Shiva. It would face toward the sanctuary, so that Nandi could gaze adoringly at the representation of his master enshrined there. Because of this orientation, worshippers entering the temple compound would approach the sculpture of Nandi from behind.

Here Shiva’s bull is decked with garlands, strings of bells, an elaborate blanket, and other decorations carved in the stone. In the temple, it would also have been wreathed in real flowers and fabrics.

Still, Nandi remains much beloved, and this massive statue 15th-century granite statue is readily accessible in the museum’s south court, where it is well worth a visit.

 

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Ai Weiwei, 1983

15 August, 2011 (05:00) | ancient, china, contemporary, prints/photographs, sculpture, south asia | By: xensen

This fellow in a New York mood is Ai Weiwei, self-photographed in 1983. His show at Asia Society just completed, but there is still what looks like an excellent exhibition of Buddhist sculptures from Pakistan at the Asia Society Museum, including this handsome Gandharan bloke, on loan from the Lahore Museum:

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Indian Summer

7 May, 2009 (05:00) | south asia | By: xensen

Kew Gardens and the British Museum have teamed up on a project called Indian Summer that sounds very cool.

J. S. Marcus writes in the WSJ:

Kew has … installed a special Indian garden in the museum’s forecourt. Designed by Kew horticulturalists Steve Ruddy and Richard Wilford, “India Landscape” transforms 440 square meters of lawn into a concise overview of the Indian subcontinent’s three main habitats: the Himalayan Mountains, the temperate woodlands of the Himalayan foothills and the humid subtropical lowlands.

The Himalayas are conjured up with a vertical rock garden, surrounded by pine trees and cranesbill. The temperate zone includes a Himalayan walnut tree and a blue poppy, one of the world’s truly blue flowers. The subtropical regions come to life thanks to a lotus filled pond, and a mature banyan tree. The winding path, in the shadow of the British Museum’s neoclassical façade, has a dense but spacious quality, and the gardeners have somehow managed to create a sense of north-south travel as we make our way from barren rocks to the spidery lushness of the banyan.

The British Museum will collaborate with Kew on:

  • Garden and Cosmos: the Royal Paintings of Jodhpur, May 28 to August 23.
  • India Landscape, May 2 to September 28, British Museum forecourt, free.
    Culture of import
  • A Bollywood film festival
  • Evenings of Indian performance, dance, music, and food
  • Lunchtime lectures in the new garden, by museum curators and Kew gardeners, on Indian medicinal plants, horticulture, landscapes and ecology
  • Painting and printing workshops, recreating traditional Indian craft techniques

A nice program!

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The Portland Ganesha

17 February, 2009 (05:00) | ceramics/metal/stone, medieval, south asia | By: xensen

Portland Art Museum Ganesha

Yesterday the Portland Art Museum unveiled a recent purchase: an eleventh-century stone Ganesha from northeastern India.

The Portland Ganesha is shown seated in the posture of “royal ease,” with one knee raised. His rat mount looks up from below, a wisdom bearer (vidyadhara) reaches down from above with a garland of flowers. One of Ganesha’s hands is held in the gesture of reassurance, while the others hold various objects.

How was this object removed from India? No one seems sure.

Read more »

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Ganesha

16 July, 2008 (05:00) | ceramics/metal/stone, medieval, south asia | By: xensen

ganesha, walters art museum, baltimore

Here’s another great Ganesha from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimor. This one was made in Bihar in the eleventh century, during the Pala dynasty. The material is muscovite biotite schist. Gift of J. Gilman d’Arcy Paul, 1967, 25.49.

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Dancing Ganesha

14 July, 2008 (05:00) | ceramics/metal/stone, medieval, south asia | By: xensen

dancing ganesha from the collection of the walters art museum, baltimore

Here’s another great dancing Ganesha. This one is in the collection of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. From Uttar Pradesh, it dates from the ninth or tenth century. I took this photo of a detail of the sculpture when I was visiting Baltimore recently. The label includes this charming commentary:

Like his father [Shiva], Ganesha combines opposing traits: he is a leader of Shiva’s troops, but he is also lovable (there is a bowl of sweets beneath the tip of his trunk). He dances in imitation of his father’s cosmic dance. Ganesha became the lord of beginnings for Hindus and is prayed to at the start of an endeavor. [See early posts on this blog.] Images such as this one were placed in the southern exterior niche of a temple, to be encountered first in a ritual walk around the outside of a temple.

Dancing Ganesha, 9th-10th century, India: Uttar Pradesh, sandstone, gift of John and Bertha Fora, 2004, 25-253.

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Birth

16 June, 2008 (05:00) | 20th c, paintings, south asia | By: xensen

birth by francis newton souza

Indian painting is hot these days. Francis Newton Souza’s Birth (oil on board, 48 x 96 in., 1955), shown above, recently sold for $2,487,931 at an auction at Christie’s London, a record price for modern Indian art.

Souza spent much of his life in London and is the only Indian artist to have a room dedicated to his works at Tate Britain. He was born on April 12, 1924, in Saligaon, Goa, India and died on March 28, 2002 , in Bombay, India. His website is maintained by his estate.

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Photo Wednesday: the Taj Mahal

11 June, 2008 (05:00) | architecture/public, premodern-modern, south asia | By: xensen

taj mahal

This image of the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the seventeenth century, is from Stuck in Customs‘s photostream.

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Photo Wednesday: Indian bride

21 May, 2008 (05:00) | prints/photographs, south asia | By: xensen

indian bride

This photo of a bride bedecked and bejeweled for her wedding is from riceFR’s photostream.

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Auspicious Tree with Birds and Two Elephants

17 January, 2008 (05:00) | contemporary, paintings, south asia | By: xensen

auspicious tree with birds and elephants

This painting comes from the region of Mithila in India, where domestic wall painting is traditionally practiced by village women on the occasion of marriages and festivals. Since the 1960s, thanks to an initiative launched by the Indian government, the women have also been painting on paper (and are sometimes now joined by men)

This is an image of an auspicious tree with colorful birds and two elephants (22 x 30 in.) The artist’s name is Nidhi, of whom I know nothing. I bought this painting from someone who had recently returned from the region. The elephants with their garland probably express a marriage motif. This image is rather unusual in Mithila painting.

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Related: an auspicious tree of life from a Mesoamerican context.

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Dancing Ganesha

11 December, 2007 (05:00) | medieval, sculpture, south asia | By: xensen

dancing ganesha from the State Archaeology Museum of IndiaHere’s an interesting dancing Ganesha for comparison with the one from the Asian Art Museum shown at right. Both works are from the tenth century. This one, now in the State Archaeology Museum of India, comes from Padhawal, Morena. The Ganeshas wear similar crowns, are surrounded by similar implements, and hold similar poses. The most obvious difference is in the positions of the legs. While the Asian Art Museum Ganesha leans at a jaunty sideways angle, this one is coiled in a complicated, dynamic pose, his weight more centered.

Ganesha is generally considered to be the son of Shiva and Parvati. There are several stories of how he got his elephant head. Most commonly, it is said that he was beheaded by Shiva, who then in remorse replaced his head with that of an elephant.

Despite his stocky form and big belly, Ganesha often dances. He is carefree and cheerful, yet he is also a patron of scholars and students. It is not difficult to image lively music inspiring this Ganesha to dance.

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Indian art auction in Paris

6 December, 2007 (05:00) | contemporary, paintings, south asia | By: xensen

farhad-hussain.jpg paintingFarhad Hussain, a 30-year-old artist from Calcutta, is among the Indian artists being featured at an auction in Paris. The auction is being billed as the first major contemporary Indian art auction in that city. The auction is organized by Artcurial of France. The company’s Indian art consultant, Herve Perdriolle, explains:

After successfully entering the Chinese market with two auctions of contemporary Chinese art, Artcurial is now ready to focus on the Indian art market and is planning to stage two auctions per year.

We have decided to start the Indian sale now considering the growing interest among French collectors in this field for more than a year now. This strong and deep interest is illustrated by several important events like the Indian Summer in Paris in 2005 and Lille 3000 in 2006 to name a few. In step, we know of the famous relationship between Subodh Gupta and Francois Pinault. Pinault, the French billionaire and collector, has been picked by ArtReview as among the 100 most influential people in the international contemporary art world.

asian art newsHussein is also the subject of an article in Asian Art News by Uma Prakash, entitled “The Mundane Uncovered.” And he will appear in From the Everyday to the Imagined: An Exhibition of Indian Art at the Singapore Art Museum, November 16 – January 16.

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Ganesha images

23 November, 2007 (17:27) | prints/photographs, south asia | By: xensen

charming collection of popular Ganesha images.

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