The Solitary Apsara Strumming Her Veena
The apsara is a creature of otherworldly beauty. She sings. She dances. She inspires with every fibre of her being. The equivalent of the Greek muses, the Indian apsara is made for the pleasure of the gandharvas, the divine musicians of Indraloka (realm of existence pertaining to Indradeva). The one that you see on this page has been sculpted from wood after traditional South Indian temple architecture, where she may grace the doorway leading into the garbhagrha, perhaps at the base of a wide-set pillar.She holds a veena in her hands which she strums to make music for the devas. The same has been embossed with intricately-done lotus petals. Note how her long, slender fingers seem to become a part of the instrument itself as she plays. Down the midst of her luscious torso emerges a red silken sash that conceals the navel, its edge grazing the pleats of her richly coloured dhoti. Zoom in on those pleats and the floor-length sashes that descend from her hips, to appreciate the characteristic colour palette and the remarkable attention to detail.The apsara has gorgeous black hair. It has been parted down the midline of her skull and gathered in a thick bun behind her head. Possessed of all the youth and beauty of all three lokas, she has adorned herself with the finest jewels on her decolletage, her earlobes and her nose, and her hands and feet. She cuts a solitary, carefree figure, too absorbed in the twin values of art and beauty to belong to anyone.
South Indian Temple Wood Carving
34.5 inch x 16 inch x 6 inch