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Chitrasutra – The Art of Painting in Ancient India in the Light of Vishnudharmottara Purana – Part 1

Painting as an art has a rich history in India since it evolved and flourished from periods so early that it is hard to pin a time when India did not have painters. Painting is as old in India as its Shastra.

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Iconography of Vishnu's Chatur Vyuham

Vishnu is One who becomes Vishvam (perceptible and imperceptible Cosmos) and pervades it therefore, as concluded from the first two names in Vishnu Sahasranama (a chant of thousand names of Vishnu).

The theme of this article is the four emanations of Vishnu (Chatur Vyuham) and their iconography.

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Padmanabha – The One who sprouts the lotus of Creation

Nothing is ever created, declare the Vedas. Things and beings only manifest from the un-manifest and then return to it. This great truth is enshrined in the image of Vishnu, named Padmanabha.

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Nataraja – The beggar who danced

Nataraja is synonymous to Indian art. Dancers worship him and artisans are never tired of carving him in stone or fashioning him in metal.

 His form fascinated Chola Kings of yore. Modern art collectors have spent millions in acquiring his timeworn antique statues.

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Garuda – Iconography and place in Vaishnava temple architecture

No temple of Vishnu is complete without an image of Garuda. A devotee-servant of Vishnu, Garuda is the only deity as powerful as Hanuman, another devotee-servant of Vishnu as Rama.

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Oh its all Mythology

“No I’m not talking about that Ram who is the son of Dasharatha of the clan of the Raghus.” Droned on a cosmopolitan “acharya” of yore in one of his taped lectures.

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Ganesha – The “Elephant Headed” god

Did you know Brahma (officiating as priest at the event of the marriage of Shiva and Paarvati), invoked Ganesha, seeking his blessings for the divine couple entering married life?

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Good Art and Bad Art

When we think of art we simultaneously think of beauty and prosperity.

Just like beauty can degenerate into ugliness and prosperity to poverty, even art can come out looking deformed, opposed to what it could have been.

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Why is Art important

If cultures have perished with time then it was only because their Art, Cuisine, Tradition and Philosophy were either suppressed to extinction or over-written by another to the extent that they were digested.

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Why Purchase Art ?

Because art is pleasing to behold, adds grace and substance to its surroundings and is a good investment avenue.
The reasons and benefits of investing in art are many.
It has a potential to appreciate in value and beauty over a period of time and could well become heirlooms.

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