The female of the species has always been a mystery to the human mind. Of the many attempts to resolve this paradox, a particularly satisfying one has been through the medium of art. Both the feminine psych and physique has been a constant source of inspiration for artists. The Indian sculptural tradition, largely based on its ancient literary heritage, has celebrated a category of semi-divine females known as the Apsaras. The word ‘apsara’ signifies that they were received from the waters (apah in Sanskrit).
Statues of Apsaras inevitably show them as well-endowed women with voluptuous bodies, a symbol of fertility and also aesthetically pleasing at the same time. Often they are modelled to show the theme of ‘love in separation’, expressed through the act of writing a love letter or confiding themselves in their pet parrot or beautifying themselves in a mirror (shringara), while waiting for their lover. Other attractive models include those playing a drum or stringed instrument, dancing, or even plucking a thorn out of her feet.
Here you can buy Indian statues visualizing the ideal woman. Many statues for sale here are modelled on figures from the Khajuraho temple.
do Apsaras do in heaven?
Apsara, in Indian religion
and mythology, is one of the celestial singers and dancers who, together with
the Gandharvas, or celestial musicians, inhabit the heaven of the god Indra,
the lord of the heavens. They used to dance
before Indra and other Devtas in heaven. Originally water nymphs, the Apsaras also
provided sensual pleasure to both gods and men. They have been skillfully
versed in sixty-four ways to please the senses. According to Hindu
beliefs, these ever-young, charming Apsaras had
been sent to the earth by the order of Indra to attract and pacify the sages to
distract them from their penance or to divert the attention of the demons.
was Apsaras born?
As per Vedas, Apsaras have
mostly been associated with water. As per the Puranas, there are different
stories about their births.
1. Most of the Puranas indicate
that they were born during the Samudra Manthan (the churning of the sea).
2. The sages Nara and
Narayana created Apsara Urvashi from their thighs.
Vishwakarma created Apsara Tilotamma to get rid of the two Asuras named
Sunda and Upsunda.
4. They were created by
Lord Brahma from his mind.
5. Thirteen of the Apsaras were
born to Kashyapa Muni and his wife Arishta.
6. According to The Vayu Purana,
the yajna-born are called Subha, water- nectar born is known as Amrita; wind-
born are called Suddha, the lightning-born Richa, and the death-born Bhairava.
do Apsara dancers symbolize?
Deeply rooted in Hindu
mythology, Apsaras were divine female creatures that descended from heaven to
entertain gods and kings with their enchanting dance. In Cambodia, a visitor
would notice the thousands of Apsara
dancers adorning the stone walls of Angkorian temples. These Hindu spirits of
cloud and water traditionally represented the paragon of feminine beauty,
elegance, and refinement.
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