On Hindu Iconography

Viṣṇu standing under the hood of a seven-headed Śeṣa Nepal, ca. 17th century Copper alloy sculpture; Rubin Museum of Art

“Hindu images are not only an expression of the devotion of the believer, but also the representation through plastic or painted figures of a tremendously rich and multi-farious theological and philosophical background. When we are confronted with a Hindu image, we are not only admiring its aesthetic values, but we are deciphering a symbol in which are concentrated centuries-old institutions: an image is a book in which primitive glimpses of universal archetypes are exalted into bold metaphysical systems and devotional mystic ecstasies; Indian art does not express things but sublime ideas, complex meditations, flashing intuitions. The statue of a God is the reflex of spiritual tensions, each part of it, its posture, the different objects which the God displays in his arms, the gesture of the hands, all that has meaning; it is a way to approach the mystery to which they lead the devotee.

The añjali before them is the first step, krama, which should, by increasing meditation, reveal to us the truth which is behind the form, and it leads gradually to liberation, kramamukti when we have not only grasped but *possessed*, the full significance of the truth which absconds itself in that temporary appearance.”

Giuseppe Tucci, Italian Indologist and scholar of East Asian studies

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curating Hindu art and knowledge - a testament to the glorious culture and heritage of a resilient civilisation. patreon.com/hinduaesthetic

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hindu aesthetic

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curating Hindu art and knowledge - a testament to the glorious culture and heritage of a resilient civilisation. patreon.com/hinduaesthetic

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