Monday, May 24, 2010

Indian Venus: Sarasvati

Agent Triple P has always liked this exquisite ivory statuette of the Hindu goddess Sarasvati (which is now in Vienna, we believe). It is an amazingly intricate piece of carving and her delicate face is beautifully done. When we were younger we were quite struck by the potential of a young lady with four arms! We have had experience of several Indian girls and can say that if they had had any more hands we would have been quite overwhelmed!

Sarasvati was originally a water deity, goddess of the river of the same name which flowed west from the Himalayas. In ancient times the river and its goddess were celebrated for purifying, fertilising and for flowing clear to the sea. The river today peters out in the desert, however. Later the goddess became more associated with the rituals performed along the river's banks and led to the belief that she influenced the hymns involved and therefore also identified her with Vach, the goddess of speech, who was said to have invented Sanskrit.

Later, and today, she is largely thought of as the consort of Brahma and is the goddess of all the creative arts (especially poetry and music), learning and science.

She is usually depicted as a graceful woman with white skin who rides a swan or a peacock or is seted on a lotus flower.

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