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  • Thumbnail for Bhajan singing 3
    Bhajan singing 3

    As noted in Bhajan singing 1 and 2, the warmly dressed singers from the Rama Temple are singing songs of praise to Vaishnava deities. Women and men sing together in these groups.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Gandharvas accompanying Kamadeva and Rati
    Kailash Cave Temple, Gandharvas accompanying Kamadeva and Rati

    Next to an image of Kamadeva, god of desire, and his consort, Rati, is this panel containing apsarases and these gandharvas, heavenly creatures also associated with sensuality, music, and desire.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple, gray Makara
    Ellora, Datta Temple, gray Makara

    On a pillar of the temple is this gray makara, a mythical aquatic beast associated with the Ganges gharial, a species of crocodile. The makara is associated with Kamadeva, god of desire, as well as the goddess Ganga and the Vedic god of the sea, Varuna.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple, stylized peacock
    Ellora, Datta Temple, stylized peacock

    On a pillar of the temple is this stylized peacock. The peacock is sometimes associated with the god Brahma and his consort, Saraswati.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Hindu Caves, wedding of Shiva and Parvati, close-up
    Ellora Hindu Caves, wedding of Shiva and Parvati, close-up

    A closeup of the wedding ceremony of Shiva and Parvati. See also cbind0102.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Hindu Caves, mango detail
    Ellora Hindu Caves, mango detail

    Mango tree limbs, laden with fruit, are carved over doorways in the caves as auspicious symbols of fertility and good fortune.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Manu Stambha
    Kailash Cave Temple, Manu Stambha

    The Manu Stambha stands just inside the temple courtyard.

  • Thumbnail for Hindu temple
    Hindu temple

    Looking inside the front door of the Hundu Temple.

  • Thumbnail for Indian Text Written on Palm Leaves entitled: Rahasya (Mystery) (leaves in tube)
    Indian Text Written on Palm Leaves entitled: Rahasya (Mystery) (leaves in tube)

    Width: 37 cm. Material: wood and green palm leaves; housed in a silk-covered hammered metal cylinder Date of text, 18th century; container possibly Chinese-made later to house this document. This Sanskrit text is entitled “Rahasya†or Mystery and it is ascribed to Brahma. The Mystery contains religious legends. The Mystery is written on palm leaves in Grantham characters. The palm leaves were allowed to yellow to make the written characters more visible.

  • Thumbnail for Standing female figure wearing skirt and headdress - closeup view
    Standing female figure wearing skirt and headdress - closeup view

    Wood-carved with added white paint.This handsome figure is another Manderman folk piece. She seems to most closely resemble what are often called bhuta figures from 19th-20th-century Karnataka. Bhuta is another term that is used in various ways; in the orthodox tradition it has meaning associated with ghosts, with evil forces, with potentially malevolent spirits. Bhuta has been used as a term to signify those malevolent spritis outside the orthodox traditions of Hinduism and thus has also come to signifiy, more generically, folk deities, powerful forces outside the pantheon of the Hindu tradition; but in this sense these are not necessarily malevolent or destructive; rather they are beings/ forces/ spirits of limited and often highly localized powers. What this figure shares with other Karnataka figures that have been termed bhutas are the material and general form: she is made of wood, rather simply carved, with a strongly stylized, geometric body. Her body is contructed of a series of geometric shapes, with tubular arms, a cylindrical trunk pinched at the waist, her face strongly circular with large ears that project at a direct perpendicular from the cheeks. The details of the face are simplified in a manner that is shared with the marble Jina. There are several details that set this figure apart from better-known so-called bhutas from Karnataka: she seems to wear a garment that covers her upper body, a feature quite unusual in the depiction of females in Indian art in general and in typical bhutas from Karnataka, in which the upper body is also usually nude except for jewelry; her skirt falls in wide gores with only a few folds, while in most bhuta figures from Karnataka the skirt is rendered in a continuous series of thin folds that create a more detailed pattern of vertical forms along the lower body; and rarely are typical Karnataka bhutas painted, as this figure is. Further research may suggest a different provenance, as wooden 'folk' figures hail from many regions.

  • Thumbnail for Dasavataras, Visnu's ten incarnations - one of set of ten
  • Thumbnail for Dasavataras, Visnu's ten incarnations - one of set of ten
  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, entrance
    Kailash Cave Temple, entrance

    In the 8th and 9th centuries CE, the Kailash Cave Temple was carved out of the volcanic rock that formed countless plateaus in the western ghats (small mountain range), part of the geological formation known as the Deccan Plateau. Part of a group of 34 caves carved into the side of this plateau, Kailash, cave number 16, is monumental by any standards. The Kailash rock-cut temple stands 30 meters (99 feet) high, 52 meters (170 feet) in length, and 33 meters (108 feet) wide. The other 33 caves, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain, were created by digging into the side of the plateau much like other cave dwellings, but Kailash appears to have been literally excavated from the top in order to create a free-standing temple encircled by smaller cave shrines.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Bhagiratha's Penance
    Kailash Cave Temple, Bhagiratha's Penance

    This wall sculpture tells the story of Bhagiratha who practiced penance for eons to purify the sins of his ancestors.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Mata Ganga
    Kailash Cave Temple, Mata Ganga

    Mata Ganga stands in this shrine niche on top of her vahana, the makara. A representation of the River Ganga, she stands next to two other river goddesses, Yamuna and Saraswati.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Gajalakshmi
    Kailash Cave Temple, Gajalakshmi

    This auspicious image of the goddess, Gajalakshmi, framed by her royal elephants stands at the entrance to the Kailash Cave Temple complex. Gajalakshmi, along with her elephants, was churned fully formed from the Milky Ocean. She indicates good fortune and wealth for all who enter.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Gandharva
    Kailash Cave Temple, Gandharva

    This carving of a gandharva or celestial musician on an outside wall behind the main part of the temple appears to be attached to the wall with a post. This depiction makes the gandharva appear to be flying in mid-air, an appropriate pose for a celestial musician not bound by the gravity of earth.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Ramayana scenes
    Kailash Cave Temple, Ramayana scenes

    Familiar scenes from the Indian epic, the Ramayana, cover one outer wall of the main temple. The parallel wall on the other side tells the story of the Mahabharata in carved vignettes of well-known episodes.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couple 1
    Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couple 1

    Auspicious figures of amorous couples in small stone niches adorn the magnificent Kailash Cave Temple, cave #16 in the series of Ellora Caves. These figures represent fertility and good fortune for all who see them.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Ganapati Temple, rat vehicle
    Ellora, Ganapati Temple, rat vehicle

    The rat is the vehicle of Ganapati, reflecting the god's ability to overcome all obstacles. Ganapati is revered as the god of good fortune and prosperity, as well as the lord of beginnings.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Ganapati Temple, puja with flowers
    Ellora, Ganapati Temple, puja with flowers

    Performing puja to the deity, Ganapathy, the priest and a worshipper offer flowers.

  • Thumbnail for Brahma and swan
    Brahma and swan

    Miniature of Brahma riding on his sacred vehicle, the swan.

  • Thumbnail for Indian Text Written on Palm Leaves entitled: Rahasya (Mystery) (leaves spread out)
    Indian Text Written on Palm Leaves entitled: Rahasya (Mystery) (leaves spread out)

    Width: 37 cm. Material: wood and green palm leaves; housed in a silk-covered hammered metal cylinder Date of text, 18th century; container possibly Chinese made later to house this document. This Sanskrit text is entitled “Rahasya†or Mystery and it is ascribed to Brahma. The Mystery contains religious legends. The Mystery is written on palm leaves in Grantham characters. The palm leaves were allowed to yellow to make the written characters more visible.

  • Thumbnail for Santali tribal figure of Kali, for Shiva base
    Santali tribal figure of Kali, for Shiva base

    Cast bronze with gilding, 20 x 7 inches. Santali refers to tribal groups; sometimes it is used to mean tribes of a certain region, but it is also used generically to reference tribals, that is, indigenous Indian peoples who were never fully assimilated into Hindu India. In this sense, images such as these are relevant to discussions of the caste or varna system of South Asia and the official government policy of reservation for Untouchables, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that formed a part of the Constitution of the Republic of India. This is comparable to what in the US would be called Affirmative Action, but with much more specific initiatives. The notion that there are indigenous peoples of India who are regarded as having inhabited the subcontinent prior to the appearance of the Aryan tribes who brought their Sanskritic traditions can provide provocative possibilities for discussion in a range of disciplines (Religious Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, History, Art History). These are relatively large (Ganesha is over 3 ft. in height; Siva-Kali about 2 feet) and quite handsome pieces which follow more or less standard Hindu iconographic schemes (the Hindu deities Siva, Kali, Ganesha) but in style depart from the styles of sculpture practiced in Hindu states and courts. Thus they lend themselves to discussions of standard Hindu iconography as well as to the nature of tribal traditions in South Asia; they could also generate interesting discussions of 'classical' versus 'tribal' in Asian art: what makes a work' folk' art (that is, its origin, its makers or patrons, its formal qualities?). And how have tribal and classical traditions come to intersect and interact in the last century? While these are designated as 19th century they may in fact be more recent in manufacture.

  • Thumbnail for Santali Ganesha - detail
    Santali Ganesha - detail

    Cast bronze figure, 44 inches in height. Santali refers to tribal groups; sometimes it is used to mean tribes of a certain region, but it is also used generically to reference tribals, that is, indigenous Indian peoples who were never fully assimilated into Hindu India. In this sense, images such as these are relevant to discussions of the caste or varna system of South Asia and the official government policy of reservation for Untouchables, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that formed a part of the Constitution of the Republic of India. This is comparable to what in the US would be called Affirmative Action, but with much more specific initiatives. The notion that there are indigenous peoples of India who are regarded as having inhabited the subcontinent prior to the appearance of the Aryan tribes who brought their Sanskritic traditions can provide provocative possibilities for discussion in a range of disciplines (Religious Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, History, Art History). These are relatively large (Ganesha is over 3 ft. in height; Siva-Kali about 2 feet) and quite handsome pieces which follow more or less standard Hindu iconographic schemes (the Hindu deities Siva, Kali, Ganesha) but in style depart from the styles of sculpture practiced in Hindu states and courts. Thus they lend themselves to discussions of standard Hindu iconography as well as to the nature of tribal traditions in South Asia; they could also generate interesting discussions of 'classical' versus 'tribal' in Asian art: what makes a work 'folk art' (that is, its origin, its makers or patrons, its formal qualities?). And how have these traditions come to intersect and interact in the last century? While these are designated as 19th century they may in fact be more recent