Bjorn Amelan and Bill T. Jones
is the overriding impression given by this particular eleventh-century
Chola-period Parvati. As she was certainly an attendant figure in
an ensemble that featured her divine consort, Shiva, performing
his dance of bliss, Parvati here embodies her role of showgirl with
Her large, wide
eyes and subtle smile suggest contentment and approval at the spectacle
of her husband's dancing. Sturdy strength enlivens her amazing anatomy.Her
boyish shoulders soften into firm shapely arms that taper into elongated
gestures of grace.
The copper alloy
out of which the goddess is fashioned embues the gravity defying
perfection of her breasts with the power of two vibrating cymbals.
The nipples mesmerize with their intense focus projected outwards
like a pair of all seeing eyes. For all their wonder, the breasts
cannot hold the giddy descend of our gaze as it travels down the
coastline of her impossibly fine waist delivering us to the plush
expanse of her undulating hips.
and sway, Pavati is marking time-both musical and cosmic-with her
magnificent hips and ass. She is confident in her role as spiritual
complement to one of the pantheon's most complex deities-Shiva-an
entity who, when not immersed in an eons- long trance of introspection,
is performing a fearsome dance that signals the destruction of the
universe. This delectable showgirl with the calm smile, elegant
demeanor, and swaying hips is completely secure. She knows the nature
of form and its transformation. Within her comely incarnation, there
are many others. One of these is Kali, the monstrous witch, wearing
a belt of sculls, whose womb spits out life even as her hideous
tongue drips blood and her jaws chomp human flesh.
But here, this
beauty projects a confidant, dangerous allure. "Come dance with
me, with us"--she seems to say--"if you dare."
have ever marvelled at a common principle that connects women and
bronze or sculpted goddesses in India. They express identical body
language. Both have the knowledge of how to break the verticality,
the linearity of the body through the principle of three curves
(tribhanga). It is a special way, technique, of breaking the bodyline
and shifting the weight, a recognizable physical attribute throughout
the subcontinent. Parvati is also everywoman.