Shiva as Ardhanari, or Ardhanarishvara, translates to ‘Lord who is half woman.’ Ardhanarishvara is the androgynous combination of Shiva and his consort Parvati, split down the middle as half man half woman. Shiva, usually depicted on the right, is often adorned with headdress of a half crescent moon, serpent earring, third eye upon the center of his forehead, and wears a sacred thread across his chest. Parvati down the left is commonly portrayed with basket shaped crown, kundala earing, red dot matching Shiva’s third eye, and multi-colored or white linen dress. Visually, Shiva and Parvati embody their corresponding gender vigorously so as to starkly contrast their opposing counterpart.
Ardhanarishvara is said to characterize the fusion of the masculine and feminine energies of the world and exemplifies how Shakti, the female principle of God, is inseparable from Shiva, the male principle of God. The merger between these masculine and feminine energies is regarded as the root of all creation.
God is both Shiva and Parvati, “both male and female, both father and mother, both aloof and active, both fearsome and gentle, both destructive and constructive” and unifies all other oppositions of the universe.
It is believed that Parvati is not just Shiva’s consort, but an actual part of him.
Ardhanari is one of the most popularly worshiped forms of Shiva and can be found in virtually every temple or shrine throughout India and south-east Asia. It is often regarded that the ultimate goal of a devotee is to be united with Shiva as Parvati is in the Ardhanarishvara form.
The practice of yoga in the United States has been on a constant rise over the last 30 years since its introduction in the 1980s as a wonderful form of physical health and well being regardless of its original religious context. As of January 2012 it was estimated that over 20 million Americans regularly practiced yoga as both a form of exercise and spiritual release, up from around 4 million in 2001.
It is no question that given the swelling numbers many have found value in the practice to both their physical and mental health. Today yoga is even used as cancer treatment to decrease symptoms of depression, insomnia, pain, and fatigue in patients. Hatha yoga specifically has become very popular in the west for its incorporation of physical exercise, breathing control, and meditation. If you are looking for a way to reduce stress, symptoms of tiredness, increase general mood, and to get your body in shape, yoga is a great practice for all age groups and gender.
Slowing down and taking the time to become in touch with ones body can be a highly fulfilling practice as we all struggle with the stresses of daily living in our modern fast paced society. As the Buddha said,
“Meditate. Live Purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.”
Almost all of us have a special place we hold dear and go to clear our heads and think…a favorite park bench, out for a run, sitting with our toes in the sand. But what many don’t realize is that it isn’t the destination that is key, but actually the state of mind that place brings to you. Instead of escaping somewhere external, try yoga and meditation. Anyone can develop inner peace, without really going anywhere but in.
To help with your practice, add a Dakshinamurthy statue by Lotus Sculpture to your meditation corner. Shiva in the form of universal teacher, Dakshinamurthy, can help guide you in your path to inner awakening.
“Because of the durability of the metal not much is needed to maintain a bronze sculpture.”
Bronze is an extremely durable metal made from a combination of 5 metals; copper, iron, tin, with minute additions of silver and gold. This combination is called Panchaloha bronze and is the basis for making the sacred Hindu temple statues of India and the world. Copper is the most prevalent metal in the alloy. Copper also gives the metal a softer composition that allows the bronze artisans to carve the details that are prevalent in each piece. All the South Indian bronze statues Lotus Sculpture carries are Panchaloham and thus suited for any home altar or community temple.
MahasaraswatiSouth Indian Bronze Statue with verde gris patina
MahasaraswatiSouth Indian Bronze Statue cleaned with coconut oil.
Because of the durability of the metal not much is needed to maintain a bronze sculpture. Many of our customers purchase a bronze statue and perform daily puja and abhisheka consisting of bathing the Hindu deity in ghee, milk, coconut milk or other liquids. In this case nothing is needed to keep the statue clean as it will be bathed daily. If the sculpture is used for “darshan” or simply viewing the sculpture it is best to dust the statue as needed so no dirt collects in the details of the sculpture. For both polished golden bronzes and antique patina bronze statues if you would like the sculpture to shine use a cotton cloth with some coconut oil or other natural oil to wipe down the piece as needed.
Many of our bronze Hindu statues have been placed in outdoor temples. Bronze’s durability makes it perfect for cold winters and hot summers of any climate. We suggest you bathe the sculpture every couple of months so that dirt does not collect on the sculpture and then use a cotton cloth with some natural oil to give the statue a shine. Both indoors and outdoors a bronze statue can be left alone which, overtime, will give the bronze an antique patina.
On some bronze statues you can see small hints of lime green, verde-gris patina. Some people prize this color for its age others want to remove it. If you would like to remove the verde-gris use a tooth brush with some coconut oil or other natural oil and lightly go over the verde-gris. This should remove the unwanted patina from the sculpture.
“If you would like the piece to shine use a cotton cloth with some coconut oil or other natural oil to wipe down the bronze statue.”
If you have any questions concerning your bronze statue please email us at [email protected] or call us at 1(760) 994-4455.
I met Vardaraj, Varun, and Sini 8 years ago in the first years of Lotus Sculpture. Varadaraj is the eldest, Varun is in the middle and Sini is the baby. They were three kids who just broke away from a bronze collective they were apprenticing at for the past ten years to start their own bronze collective. I was their first customer. Immediately I could see they were different. They were young, loved making bronze statues, and had big ideas for their future. I saw myself in them as we both were striving towards the same goals. In our first meeting I also discovered Varun, the middle-aged brother wanted to be in Kung foo movies. I still remember that exchange when he told me his future plans. “Like Jackie Chan!'”, he said eagerly. I made him repeat it several times as I really couldn’t believe my ears and in the end came the conclusion that this tall, muscular kid from Swamimalai had bigger dreams outside of the bronze casting business. Everyone can dream! From that day on my relationship and love for the Kung Foo Brothers, as I started to refer to them, has grown 100 fold. They are part of my Indian family!
Immediately I could see they were different than other bronze artists. They were young, loved making bronze statues and had big, ambitious plans for their future
Vardaraj, the oldest, had a different dream. Besides casting the best statues Swamimalai has to offer he wanted to make the world’s largest Nataraja statue. After arriving at his workshop this afternoon I saw how close he is to realizing his dream. The Nataraja is ready for casting! The Nataraja is 23 feet tall and will weigh a total of 10 tons of pure bronze! View this amazing Nataraja! After we climbed over the enormous mold of the Nararaja I then moved inside to view my, more modest bronze statues. They are experts at the Nataraja form and I took in the 4 Natarajas I commissioned. Each a perfect representation of Shiva’s dance of destruction. In each statue, Shiva is suspended upon the prostrate dwarf, Apasmara, like he is flying, light as a feather. In my opinion, there is no statue form as fine as a Nataraja with perfect proportions. It will always take a little of my breath away to see a masterpiece Nataraja as Varadaraj is so adept at creating!
I spent two days with the family and enjoyed their youthful, smiling mother’s, “Mama’s” cooking for lunch each day. It is always my favorite meal in India a mixture of prawn curry, chicken masala, and coconut rice that is impossible to find made with such love at any restaurant. I bought them an iPhone which we spent a couple of hours figuring out the inner workings to the phone. I love watching the interplay between the three brothers. They are so close I really think they can read the mind of each other. Whenever they are sitting together they have an arm over each other’s shoulder, whispering into the others’ ear. I often feel like I am intruding as their exchanges feel so private and personal.
While roaming around the now 30 workers Varadaraj now has working for him, I took many videos of the lost wax method process to show in more detail how south Indian bronze statues are made. The process is incredibly long and tedious with 5 separate steps. I thought video is the best way to illustrate with bronze statue making process. People oftentimes say the prices of bronze are too high on Lotus Sculpture. I know that when one fully understands the entire process and the overall work that goes into the making of one bronze statue you will wonder why they are so inexpensive! I will be adding these and many other videos to our site and youtube channel in the coming weeks.
By far my favorite piece of news I have received on this trip was that Varun has received a role as the hero in an action film in Chennai that starts filming in two months!!! He will be a Kung foo hero, like Jackie Chan!!! I literally jumped off the ground when he told me this. I am so happy for him. I love it when people have dreams and make them into realities. The Kung foo brothers are dreamers and I am very happy to call them my friends.
For a limited time we are offering free UPS Ground shipping on all orders within the 48 States. International customers will receive a 40% discount off the price of shipping. This discount will be extended to our Canadian customers as well!
Items weighing over 150 pounds including packing materials will be shipped using a freight service. Domestic Freight will be discounted by 35%!