Monday, April 4, 2011

The Multitaskers

Dan Hillier
Rene Magritte
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
Leonardo da Vinci
Fumi Mini Nakamura
Mandee Gage
Yury Ustsinau
Yosuke Ueno
Hindu Ganesha
Hindu Ardhanareshwara (Shiva-Shakti)
Hindu Vishnu, Garuda, Gajendra, Makara

The subjects within these varied artworks possess multiple arms, seemingly endowed with the magic-making qualities of a Magus. Ancient Hindu gods and goddesses are often depicted with a plurality of limbs, denoting their superhuman importance as well as their ability to perform various divine tasks simultaneously. In each hand, there is a different item with a different symbolic meaning. 

For example, Ganesha (the Hindu elephant-headed deity) holds in his upper right hand an axe, with which he is said to cut off all attachments. The abhaya mudra (gesture of fearlessness) of his lower right hand symbolises Ganesh's blessings and protection on a person's journey through life, especially the spiritual one. He pulls the devotee nearer to the spiritual path by the rope that he carries in his upper left hand. He offers rewards for penances (sadhana) done with the modak ( a type of confectionery) that he holds in his lower left hand. Simply put, multiple hands symbolise multiple powers.