love how unselfconscious this dancer is, how at ease she is with
her sexuality. Ornately bejeweled, provocatively posed, she spirals
dynamically yet is balanced and in command of her movements. Everyone
should be as self-assured as she. Imagine how different she would
appear if her eyes were pieced like those of a haniwa. Not for her
is the emptiness of hollow eyes; she is too vital a being for that.
Her eyes are for seduction, their demurely averted gaze playfully
mocked by those other orbs staring intently at the viewer.
the unique ability of India's master carvers to make stone appear
as fluid as water, the sculptor of the celestial entertainer has
taken the figure's tribhanga, or three essential curves from
shoulder to waist to hip, required in classical Indian dance, and
repeated it in the curve of the tree overhanging her head to create
a continuous flowing movement.
A tree represents
the fertility which is synonymous with divinity in India. Here it
also re-enforces the fecund sensuality of the celestial entertainer's
breasts and hips. The image of ripeness is further emphasized in
the heavy fruit hanging in the tree above her, and the playful eroticism
of two monkeys fighting over the fruit. The artist adds an elaborate
head-dress, necklaces, arm-bands, bangles and girdles, all depicted
with a delicacy that serves to re-enforce the dancer's curving grace.
overwhelmed by the sensuality of Indian sculpture, have often expressed
moral or aesthetic censure. The indologist William Archer even described
Indian art as suffering from "gargantuan excess." But excess implies
vulgarity. Here there is no vulgarity. Only a perfect-and perfectly