Lakshman (Ganga Jamuna)

This is Lakshman, Rama’s half-brother. We will get to the identification a bit later.

Here Lakshman is standing in Samapada (without any bend) with his hands in Anjali/Namaskara Mudra. Interestingly he is carrying two bows and two quivers.

The fabrication technique is called Ganga Jamuna, which uses two distinct metals/alloys to make the Vigrahas. Now, this art form is lost.

In this form, Lakshmana would have been a part of a Ram Darbar set. The identification is by example and by context. An example, from Victoria Albert Museum (VAM), is below. It is the context that identifies Lakshman. The museum accession number is 646(15).

Ram darbar set from VAM

One of the bows and quivers that Lakshman is carrying is that of Rama’s. As a dutiful brother, Lakshman is carrying it making sure that the bow and arrow are not far from Rama.

This Vigraha shows considerable wear, see the difference between the front and back of the crown. And, I suspect, the eyes have been recut.

One other iconographic form of Lakshman is with just one set of bow and quiver. This blog site has an example of that form.

The Vigraha is about 9.5 cm in height and it is from North Karnataka. This Vigraha may be dated to the first half of the nineteenth century.

A note of dating of this Vigraha:

The VAM exhibit is a donation from Colonel Mackenzie who worked in India during 1786 -1820 and died in 1821. Towards the later stages of his career, he was the Government Surveyor for the then Mysore state, overlapping with current-day Karnataka. The faces of the VAM set are relatively untouched (no worship-related wear) and that along with Colonel Mackenzie’s biography, puts a date from late eighteenth century to early nineteenth century.

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