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Renzo Freschi

Dancing Ganesha
10th c.
H. cm 75

Dancing Ganesha

According to one of the many myths about his origin, the young Ganesha had his head burnt out by the wrathful Shiva and only the god Brahma, moved by the sorrow of Parvati, the infant�s mother, was allowed by Shiva to place on the beheaded body the head of the first animal he came across�an elephant.

This legend and the characteristics of Ganesha (the elephant is considered a symbol of strength and wisdom) made him the most popular of the Hindu gods, worshipped across the whole of India as a benevolent and auspicious deity, who helps to overcome all obstacles, both material and spiritual.

In this high relief Ganesha is shown dancing in the classical tribhanga stance (the triple bend). The big trunk picking sweets from a bowl, the pot-belly (full of delicacies), and the powerful legs do not hinder the natural suppleness of the body, moving with a graceful lightness and animated by an inner harmony. Ganesha features eight arms (three are missing here), the head is surrounded by a sun nimbus, celestial beings (gandharvas and apsarases) pay homage to him dropping flower garlands from above; below a gana (Shiva�s attendant) plays a flute inspiring his dance and another one worships the god in a praying attitude.

Time has slowly worn down the sharpness of the carving, conferring a soft sensuousness to the figures and to the relief. The openwork around Ganesha�s body gives prominence to his figure sculpted in the round and intensifies the impression of triumphing vitality.

© Renzo Freschi
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