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The Metaphorical Concepts and Rules in Indian Sculpture

Part - 1

One must have a deep knowledge of form to create a personalized language that can speak for itself. This understanding of art language was recognized by the author of the ancient scripture of painting and sculpture, which focused on inner observation rather than the outer world. Indian art has always emphasized revealing the insides of an object and encouraged artists to find something in nature that supports their thoughts. From ancient to modern times, Indian art has never sought to match reality, allowing artists to express themselves as they desire. In the past, it was common for artists to find similarities between an object and surrounding nature. The community of artists and rulers judged the artist's skills based on the use of metaphors in their creations.

Without proper observation, creation would not be flourishing. An endeavor of knowledge is described as the critical point to get to the desired place.

Observation in nature

In my experience regarding ancient Indian art and literature, I saw some beautiful metaphors used in painting, sculpture, poems, and literature. It astonished me how they did it! In some Sanskrit poems and songs, I found the use of words in such an indefectible way that it makes us feel the insides. In some Sanskrit poems and songs, I found the benefits of words that make us feel properly, what they had, and how it described. They choose the words in an appropriate way that looks like they did a beautiful painting using the phrase instead of color and brushes. The pronunciation of words they used as a metaphor produces an excellent rhythm!

An artist can never be satisfied with their creation. Such dissatisfaction constantly reprimands artists, and they pursue the desired form to make their work unique. An artist's destination is that uncanny world where reality and imagination work together to make a living pleasantly.

That unknown author suggested many metaphors; however, I want to make it shorter so that you can understand the ideology. Here are a few examples to understand how that ancient sage identified a similar form of several parts of the human body in the surrounding nature.

Face - The author dwelled the human face from the middle of the head to the chin. Here, he suggested some metaphors of the face came from nature. He indicated the similarity based on the male and female faces.  He specified that The first was for the round-shaped face, which is similar to a hen's egg. It can be used commonly. Next, betel leaf is only suggested for female faces. I placed both images to guess the difference and to understand how perfect it was. I used the image of the egg I turned upside down to make it clear.

Nose—The author suggested using a sesame flower as a metaphor for the nose. Here is the image to compare the metaphor with reality.

 Such a metaphor should be used commonly by both males and females; however, the author also suggested another metaphor for making the face of a wise or talented person. The nose should be similar to the beak of a parakeet!

Human body - The author discovered similarities between the male body and a cow's face. See how it goes;-

cow face and male figure
Similarity between cow face and male figure.

 If one were to trace a straight line from the mouth to the cow's head, it would resemble the letter "V" in shape, much like the male figure on the right side from the waist to the shoulder.

The palm of the hand—The palm concept came from the tree's leaf. The author precepted that it must be thin because a thicker hand represented unhappiness and sorrowfulness; moreover, the person who bears such a hand is considered harmful! The above images show examples of similarity.

I came across a metaphorical description in one of my resources that compares the petal of a lotus to both the palm and toe. This metaphor is commonly found in Sanskrit literature and poetry, where the terms 'karakamal' and 'charan kamal' describe hand and toe, respectively. Interestingly, the front side of the petal is slightly curved, resembling the shape of a toe or palm, which is why it is often depicted in Indian mythological sculptures.

Instead of hundreds of thousands of metaphorical concepts, here I demonstrated a few of those to recognize how significantly the author chose similar forms from nature. The author used metaphors and described the shapes of lips, waist, shoulders, throat, and more, enabling artists to discover similar forms in nature through their own creativity.

As previously mentioned, ancient scripture proclaims that nature is our primary laboratory, containing all the necessary resources. To discover these resources, we must possess a meditative intuition. The words within this book were not fabricated or emotionally charged. Instead, they were discovered by ancient sages who successfully implemented this truth into their daily lives. These sages found metaphors for the human body in nature and discovered musical scales from natural sources. In addition to art and music, nature has also influenced poetry and literature, providing some incredible metaphors for expressing human emotions.

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