PR 001 - ‘Krishna Holding Govardhan Hill’ | 1920's Antique print in original wood frame
(RU&V Press, Ghat Kopar). Reg. 112.
- Dimensions: 14" x 10" Print
- Details: In this print, Krishna is holding Govardhan Hill on his finger protecting the land and people from rains and floods. He is accompanied by his consort Radha. Two attendants are present as well as some people who are grateful for Krishna’s kindness. In Hindu mythology, Radha was a devotee of Lord Krishna when he lived among the cowherds of Vrindavan. In Vaishnavism, Radha symbolizes the human soul and Krishna symbolizes the divine. The allegorical love of Radha and Krishna has been celebrated all over India for centuries. Radha is often worshiped along with Krishna, especially in northern and eastern India.
- Historic Background: According to Vaishnava* legend, Lord Indra (King of the Gods) was increasingly losing control over human beings and became jealous of the boy Krishna (an incarnation of the Supreme Being). One day Lord Indra decided to place fear into the hearts of people and invoked many clouds to appear in the sky and schemed to flood the region with rains lasting seven days and seven nights. Krishna, in reply, lifted Govardhan Hill with great ease (with his pinky finger!) under which all the animals and people of the region took shelter, safe from the rains of Lord Indra’s fury. Ultimately, Indra accepted defeat and after praying to Lord Krishna, left for his heavenly abode, the Svarga.
Govardhan Hill: In present day India, Govardhan Hill is a hill that is located near the town of Vrindavan, Utter Pradesh State (in Mathura, birthplace of Krishna). It is considered sacred within many a traditions in Hinduism, especially those who follow Vaishnavism or Vaishnava*: those who worship Lord Vishnu and his incarnations (Rama and Krishna) as The Supreme God. Vaishnavism has been extremely popular around the Govardhan Hill area for thousands of years.
- Provenance: Private Collection Sale: Heritage Hotel Devi Bhawan, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Western India.
|PR 002 - ‘Namokara Mantra’ | 1930's Jain Mantra Print in original wood frame.
- Print Dimensions: 19.5" x 13.5"
- Details: The print depicts an ancient mantra consisting of five verses and is also known as the Prayer of Virtues or the Mantra of Reverence. It is recited various times a day. The mantra is recited in order to gain peace, harmony and purity o f thoughts. Jains pay their reverence to Arihantas (supreme human beings); Siddhas (pure souls without a physical body); Acaryas (leaders of monks and propagators of ethico-spiritual values); Uvajjhayas (readers of holy scriptures, teachers of ethico-spiritual values); and Sadhus (passionless monks, indifferent to earthly pleasures). The five verses are as follows with their translation:
- Namo Arihantam
I bow to those living beings who have reached enlightenment by overcoming inner weaknesses, who have attained infinite knowledge, vision, bliss, and power and showed us the path which brings an end to the cycle of birth and death.
- Namo Siddhanam
I bow to those who have attained the state of perfection and immortality by liberating themselves of all karma.
- Namo Ayariyanam
I bow to those living beings who practice before preaching right knowledge, right perception, and right conduct.
- Namo Uvajjhayanam
I bow to those living beings who understand the true nature of the soul and teach the importance of the spiritual life over the material life.
- Namo Loe Savva Sahunam
I bow to all the living beings who strictly follow the five great vows of conduct and inspire us to live a simple life.
- This print has 25 graceful depictions of virtuous beings on each side of the mantra as well as the auspicious lotus flower on top with prayers and charts on all four corners.
- Background: This traditional mantra chart written in Sanskrit is often seen in Jain temples, households, shops and even common spaces such as Jain libraries or hospitals all over India where there are large Jain communities (States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Bihar). A mantra chart such as this one is the equivalent to the Lord’s Prayer in Catholicism or the Gayatri Mantra in Hinduism.
- Provenance: Estate Sale. Baroda, Gujarat, Western India.
PR 003 - ‘Surya, the Sun God’ | 1940's Hindu Commercial Art Print in original wood frame.
- Print Dimensions: 18" x 13"
- Details: This beautiful print depicts Lord Surya, the Sun God. Lord Surya is a benevolent deity capable of healing the sick. Also, like Lord Ganesh, he is a symbol of good luck. Orthodox hindus place pictures of Lord Surya over the bed of someone who is sick for his healing powers. But more often Lord Surya graces shops and warehouses for his protection. This print was produced as an advertisement to promote a prominent textile company INDOKEM located in Bombay. Advertisement prints depicting specific gods and goddesses were and still are regularly printed and distributed to Hindu merchants who prefer deities such as Surya, Durga and Laxmi. These three deities are traditionally considered to be bearers of good luck to commercial spaces. These advertisement prints are increasingly difficult to find over the years as they are highly collectible.
- Background: According to legend, when Lord Surya married Sanjana, she could not bear his intense heat and light. Although she loved him, to protect herself from burning, she fled into the forest and transformed herself into a mare so Surya, her husband, would not recognize her. Surya was inconsolable and searched for her everywhere. Finally, through Aranyani, the Goddess of Forests, Lord Surya discovered that Sanjana was taking refuge in a forest disguised as a female horse. Surya transformed himself into a horse and seduced Sanjana back. Sanjana reunited with her husband and they left the forest. Lord Surya and Sanjana had several children: Yama, the God of Death; Yamuna, the Goddess of the River Jamuna and Manu, the God of Law. Sanjana, however, still could not withstand the intense heat given off by her husband and Surya ultimately agreed to be reduced in stature so his wife could live with him. Surya is always depicted with five mares pulling his chariot and a bright blaze of sun as a halo.
- Provenance: Private collection sale, Bombay, Maharashtra State, West India.
PR 006 - ‘The Union of the Gods’| 1930 Antique print in original wood frame.
(RU&V Press, Ghat Kopar). Reg. 204.
- Print Dimensions: 13.5" x 9.5"
- Details: This unusual print depicts a very interesting union of many gods of the Hindu pantheon. Krishna and his consort Radha are seated on an elephant whose trunk is merged with Nandi, the Bull - Lord Shiva’s vehicle. Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati (maternal manifestation of the Goddess Durga) are seated on Nandi and are holding their offspring, Lord Ganesh (the Remover of Obstacles). Beautiful winged angels are floating above the gods showering them with gold coins and garlands of flowers. An exquisite piece!
- Provenance: Estate Sale. Pushkar, State of Rajasthan, Western India.
PR 007 - ‘Shiv linga Puja’ | 1970's devotional print in original lightwood frame
- Print Dimensions: 15" x 14.5"
- Details: A charming devotional print depicting Goddess Parvati worshiping the Shiv Linga Stone. The term Puja means “worship” in Sanskrit. There is a image of Vishnu in the background in black and white while Goddess Parvati's image is in colour.
- Background: The term Linga in Sanskrit translates to “mark” or “sign” and also “phallus.” All three meanings work together to represent the omnipotent Lord Shiva and the Shiv Linga Stone hence became a symbol for the worship of Lord Shiva. The use of this symbol for worship is an ancient tradition in India extending back to the early Indus Valley civilization. It is one of the few existing traditions of phallus worship, which was once widespread in many parts of the world. The Shiv Linga stone is found in many homes as well as all temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.
- Provenance: Private collection sale: Bombay, Maharashtra State, West India.
PR 008 - ‘Emperor and Empress of India’ | 1940's Patriotic print in original dark wood frame.
Ravi Varma Press Reg. 509
- Print Dimensions: 13.5" x 9.75"
- Details: British India colonial print depicting the last monarchs of the British rule over India: Emperor George VI and Empress Elizabeth (1937 - 1949). A very fine reminder of British colonial artwork.
- Provenance: Private Collection sale: Bombay, Maharashtra State, West India