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Wearing an intricately jeweled crown, Ganesha is depicted here as a benign, royal divinity. He clutches an axe and a lotus in his upper hands. His lower left hand cradles a bowl of sweets, one of which he has taken in his trunk, ready to feed himself. As his enormous potbelly and chubby legs attest, Ganesha has an insatiable appetite for sweets. The cobra tied around his middle and the tusk in his lower right hand probably refer to a story in which he girded himself with a snake in order tokeep his tummy from bursting. The moon witnessed this amusing sight and laughed, making Ganesha so angry that he broke off one of his tusks and hurled it at the heavenly body. This compact relief probably once graced a Hindu temple in southern Karnataka, likely installed in a niche to left as one approached the main deity. The deep hole at his navel may be the result of ritual touching by legions of passing devotees.
Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Gift of Paul Mellon
Barriault, Anne B., and Kay M. Davidson. Selections from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Richmond, VA: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2007. (pp 164-165)
Janetta Rebold Benton and Robert Di Yanni, Arts and Culture An Introduction to the Humanities (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2005) p. 280, color ill. fig. 8.2.
Dye, Joseph M. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. London: Philipp Wilson, 2001. (cat. no. 64, p. 177)
Anne Barriault, Selections Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1997) p. 20, ill. (color).
“Third Grade Students Offer Impressions of Museum Tour,” Rappahannock Record (Kilmarnock, Virginia), May 8, 1997, page unknown.
Victoria Jane Ream, Art in Bloom (Salt Lake City: Deseret Equity Publishing, 1997) pp. 44-45, 50-51, ills., credit p. 267.
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC
VMFA in association with New Millienium Studios
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