Varanasi Folk Art Ganesh

India & Asia

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• Materials: eucalyptus wood, colored lacquer
• Size: approx. 6 1/4" wide x 7" high x 3" deep
• Origin: Varanasi, India

Using simple hand tools like chisels and saws, Varanasi artisans shape and sand the pieces before painting them with brightly colored lacquer. This is an ancient craft.

Ganesh, also known as Ganapati, is immediately recognizable as the elephant-headed god. He is the god of wisdom and learning, as well as the remover of obstacles, and consequently the sign of auspiciousness. In the most common representations of Ganesh, he appears as a pot-bellied figure, usually but not always yellow in color. In his four hands, he holds a shell, a discus, a club, and a water lily; his elephant head has only one tusk. Like most other Indian gods, he has a ‘vehicle’, in his case a rat: this rat is usually shown at the foot of the god, but sometimes Ganesh is astride the rat.