Full-Figured Women in Indian Arts

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Posted by Jen on June 03, 2004 at 05:12:47:

Full-Figured women in Indian Arts

The ideal female figure is not only timeless but also universal. In India, women are not only known as a symbol of fantasy or ultimate beauty but as creator of new life. In other words, Indian art doesn’t also go for the scrawny looking type of woman we see on screens. To them, a woman with ample breasts and full hips is the one because it symbolizes sensuousness and fertility and not a body that’s only for show. (Think about the media circus). This ideal female figure appeared in Mauryan Art, Sunga Art and Buddhist art and this was always connected with the ideal Indian beauty. They prefer women with curves that are synonymous with the Greek ideal of physical beauty- the Venus de Milo type. Like their Greek counterparts the Indian goddesses Saraswati (learning and wisdom) Parvati (purity) and Lashkmi (prosperity and good fortune), they were presented in massive, shapely figures and at present modern Indian artists haven’t altered that ideal representation. A modern Indian artist, Raja Ravi Varma takes his inspiration from French Neo-Classical arts. Combining it with themes from Mahabharata, Ramayana and other Sanskrit literature, his paintings of the ideal Indian women are sensuously rounded and draped in traditional finery.
There was a study by Barbara Cohen Ph.D. in 1984 (The Psychology of Ideal Body Image as an Oppressive Force in the Lives of Women) that during the turn of the century Harrison said “What is the basis of that grace of outline and contour which makes a body pleasing and attractive to the sight instead of commonplace or ugly? The essence of beauty lies in internal well-being wholesomeness and harmony. Beauty is the expression of physical excellence and purity, of health and clean blood, vitality and above all efficiency. The more perfect a body and its condition, the more beautiful.” And comparing that standard to the mainstream ideal- only a few has achieved what the Greek and Indian arts show- Jane Russel and Marilyn Monroe if Marilyn Monroe is a young woman today looking for work in Hollywood she will not be able to meet their standards because she is a size 14. Yet remembering the way she looked on screen was unforgettable because she was among the last female film stars who were the true epitome of beauty. And furthermore, the major disciplines of science attested that the way a woman is molded, not only serves as a gratification for the senses but also as her ticket to survival. The fat deposits around a woman’s tummy and hips helps resist illness and endure child bearing which makes it also as a standard in looking for an ideal mate. Psychologists also concluded that men want someone who has opposite features in other words they want someone who doesn’t look as angular as they. If the great masters of art were here today, they would be appalled at what is happenning today.

Sources: indiaprofile.com and healingthehumanspirit.com

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