Not too long ago, one of my friends sent me a message saying ‘ Sridhar, you should see this’ and it was followed by a few pictures of Vishnu and his consorts in Ganga-Jamuna. It is very close to one of the Vigrahas on this site. It did not take long to see it is not an identical copy and the quality is quite different. More interestingly the ‘Ganga Jamuna’ technique is quite different.
The normal process for Ganga-Jamuna is for the Vigraha to be made of copper-rich alloy and then the features are embellished with brass/bronze. Udupi Krishna’s detailed picture provides a great example. See his left hand, where the broken bronze portion shows the copper base.
In this case of reproduced figure, the Vigraha is made of brass and selected portions are electroplated with copper. The process/result is called Lepanam. Not quite Ganga-Jamuna. But good enough for a few years till wear-and-tear takes its toll on the plating.
Though the details of these two Vigrahas differ, the model for the plated Ganga-Jamuna appears to be the Vishnu and consort Vigraha on my site. This blog site is meant to increase awareness of Indian Bronzes. Thereby contributing to our enjoyment of the art and the intentions behind artists’ creations. But here we have an unintended consequence.
Someone has been innovative in creating a Ganga Jamuna look-alike figure. By itself, it is not something to be concerned about. If the resulting figure is branded as Ganga Jamuna, then it is a different matter. “A fake is one which is being sold as something it is not.”
At the moment the quality of the ‘reproduction’ leaves a lot to be desired. It may be just a matter of time and incentives before the quality reaches the threshold. Even then it will not be Ganga Jamuna but a Lepanam.
The best defense against this is awareness. Raising awareness is one of the objectives of this blog site and this blog.