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  • Thumbnail for Hevajra and Nairatmya
    Hevajra and Nairatmya

    As described by the museum label,"This sculpture represents the Esoteric Buddhist deity Hevajra dancing and embracing his spouse, Nairatmya, whose name means 'No-soul.' Paired male and female deities usually symbolize compassion and wisdom in Vajrayana Buddhism, but in this instance Hevajra himself signifies both. His multiple hands hold various creatures of the universe, including animals, humans, and other gods. It is clear from this iconography that Hevaijra is a deity of all-pervasive, universal power." -- Nepal, Kathmandu Valley -- Gilt bronze and pigments -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, 768.1978)

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, older siblings entertaining the infant
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, older siblings entertaining the infant

    Older siblings and cousins entertaining the infant while he waits for the weighing to be completed. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, family members waiting for ritual
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, family members waiting for ritual

    Family members wait to perform the ritual thanking the saint for helping them to conceive a healthy child.

  • Thumbnail for Aurangzeb Mosque main clock
    Aurangzeb Mosque main clock

    Every mosque prominently displays a clock. The clock reminds Muslims of the injunction to pray five times daily. This colorfully painted and decorated clock is located on a pillar just in front of the mehrab and notes the subsequent prayer time.

  • Thumbnail for Goddess
    Goddess

    The museum label reads, "Because she is missing both her head and arms, this figure is impossible to identify. She may be Uma, Sarasvati, or Lakshmi, all popular Hindu goddesses in Cambodia. Typical of the Cambodian sytle, the female figure is unadorned except for the lavishly carved details of her sarong." Angkor Vat style Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, 226.1997)

  • Thumbnail for Shokokuji, dry landscape garden at back of hojo
    Shokokuji, dry landscape garden at back of hojo

    Kare sansui garden -- dry landscape garden -- located behind the hojo at Shokokuji, Kyoto. With pebbles laid in the bed of the “stream†to represent water, it is a fine example of dry landscape garden. However, the editor does not know the date of this garden, whether it dates from Muromachi, as does Shokokuji, or whether it is a later addition.

  • Thumbnail for Khuldabad, Aurangzeb Mosque
    Khuldabad, Aurangzeb Mosque

    Before entering this verandah area, men remove their shoes and perform the ritual ablutions before prayer. On this open platform, men from the community pray at the five designated times during the day.

  • Thumbnail for Aurangzeb Mosque, multiple clocks
  • Thumbnail for Ellora Buddhist Caves, Chaitya Hall entrance, far view
    Ellora Buddhist Caves, Chaitya Hall entrance, far view

    This Chaitya Hall or place of assembly for monks and pilgrims is adorned with figures of amorous couples across the top, gandharvas and apsaras over the balcony doorway, and bodhisattvas at door level. All of these figures are auspicious symbols, appropriately adorning a place of religious practice. A popular destination for school field trips, children learn about the early history of these sites.

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah Mosque
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah Mosque

    Within the inner courtyard of the dargah, just oustide the tomb of the saint, is a mosque where men pray five times a day. This mehrab marks the direction of Mecca, the direction faced during prayer. On the two plates above the mehrab, on either side of the clock, are written the names of the two most revered figures in Sufi practice, Muhammad and Ali. Written in gold underneath the clock is the credal statement, the shahada, "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God."

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Hindu Caves, viewed from a distance
    Ellora Hindu Caves, viewed from a distance

    Part of a series of caves carved into the basalt rock of these hillsides are the Hindu caves offering particularly beautiful images of such favorite scenes as the weddings of Shiva and Parvati, and Rama and Sita. Cave 29 known as "Sita ki nanahi" or "Sita ki kunda", the bathing place of Sita, draws honeymooning couples who take their pictures in front of the magnificent waterfall. During the monsoon season, this waterfall falls into a beautiful pool between two caves.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Kamadeva and Rati with sugarcane bow
    Kailash Cave Temple, Kamadeva and Rati with sugarcane bow

    The god of desire, Kamadeva, and his consort, Rati, are carved on the inside of the couryard wall for visitors just entering, or just leaving the temple complex. Between Kama and Rati is the god's weapon, a sugarcane bow, which is sheltering them with its bower of leaves.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Ardhanarishvara
    Kailash Cave Temple, Ardhanarishvara

    Ardhanarishvara, the Lord who is Half Woman, has been carved into one of the many niches on the outside of the temple. The sculptors depicted many of the well-known stories of Hindu gods and goddesses on the walls of the temple. Pilgrims walking past these depictions are reminded of the tales and their teachings.

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, cloth seller
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, cloth seller

    Just outside the entrance to the dargah, a man sells bright colored cloths some with gold-embroidered prayers Pilgrims have these cloths blessed inside the dargah and then save them to be used as funeral shrouds.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Buddhist Caves, school field trip
    Ellora Buddhist Caves, school field trip

    The Ellora Caves are a popular site for school field trips. Students learn the history of the early religious communities who lived in this area as they walk through the caves and observe the figures and symbols.

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh, mother's tomb shrine
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh, mother's tomb shrine

    Within a few yards of the tomb shrine of Zar Zari Zar Baksh lies the tomb shrine of his mother, also understood to intercede with God on the behalf of pilgrims. Women pilgrims often pray to her to help them conceive a child.

  • Thumbnail for Khuldabad Jalal al-Din Dargah, tree branch, close-up
    Khuldabad Jalal al-Din Dargah, tree branch, close-up

    The saint, Jalal al-Din, is said to have thrown a stick which stuck in the ground and began growing into a tree. As this now magnificent tree is associated with the saint and his healing powers, pilgrims tie colored fabric to its branches as a symbol of their petitions. In particular, women who have been infertile come to this shrine to pray for the blessing of children.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display: Instant Ramen
    Grocery Store Display: Instant Ramen

    Instant Ramen, always a popular item, is shown here, pre-packaged with bowls.

  • Thumbnail for Rhino-Shaped Vessel
    Rhino-Shaped Vessel

    Bronze vessel served as a pouring device, holding wine in its belly. The server would then pour the contents through a small spout in the left jaw. A hinged lid on the back was where the wine was put in, and was made to look like a saddle. The rhino was cast in one piece, and still has traces of gold-inlay cloud patterns. Both a sculptural and functional woek.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple
    Ellora, Datta Temple

    Datta, a combination of Vishnu, Brahma, and Siva, is a god most familiar in Maharashtra. While most Hindu temples display images of various gods and goddesses throughout, as does this temple, this Datta Temple places all three gods in its innermost shrine, reserved for the primary deity of the temple. The ancient sacred Sanskrit syllable, AUM, is placed above the doorway to the inner sanctum. The intense orange-yellow color dominating the temple assoicates with ascetic practices.

  • Thumbnail for Gilt Tibetan Mandala
    Gilt Tibetan Mandala

    As described in the pamphlet, this is a "round, drum-shaped mandala with free ring handle on the side and hollow interior. The top surface is engraved with wave patterns. In the center stands Mount Sumeru surrounded in three concentric circles by the Seven Jewels or Precious Articles of Royalty, the Eight Buddhist Emblems, and, on the outer edge, small shrines and earthly things. The side of the mandala is decorated with Indian lotuses and the Eight Emblems in low relief. Above the lotus decor is a band inlaid with colored stones, and below it is a row of cloud patterns."

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couples series
    Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couples series

    This depiction of a series of amorous couples in different poses brings the fertility and good fortune they represent into the minds of all who see them.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple, Linga and Naga
    Ellora, Datta Temple, Linga and Naga

    On a pillar of the temple, a lingam sits beneath the protective hood of a three-headed cobra, possible a naga.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple, Linga between bull horns
    Ellora, Datta Temple, Linga between bull horns

    On a pillar of the temple, a lingam sits between the horns of a bull.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple, ascetic figure
    Ellora, Datta Temple, ascetic figure

    This image of an ascetic in a modified lotus position sits in a niche in the upper outside wall of the temple.