Elephant Indian Art

Ganesh (or spelled Ganesa or Ganesha) is arguably the most used and popular depiction of an elephant all across Indian culture and art. Ganesh is a Hindu go and probably the best worshiped of the many Hindu Faith deities.  Ganesh is usually portrayed in the shape of a human male that has four arms as well as an elephant head.

A lot of Elephant Artworks present Ganesh as the sculpture’s focal point surrounded by many extravagant features. The embellishment and prominence of Ganesh in these sculptures are suggesting that elephants are highly valued symbol religiously and culturally for the people of both modern-day and ancient India.

In the faith of Hindu, Ganesh is seen as a wise guardian and a symbol that empowers followers towards greatness. Ganesh is loved and adored by many and this shows in countless fine pieces of modern and historical Indian art.

Ganesh is accessed by mortals more easily than any other of the Hindu gods so it is more likely that he is prayed to most frequently. Because this deity is portrayed with the head of an elephant, the Hindu followers and people of the state of India undoubtedly have cherished and will cherish elephants and acknowledge all possible symbolic meanings attributed to the animal.

The state of India has hosted countless festivals and celebrations for many thousand years. Many of these celebrations are stemming from the 12-month Hindu calendar which is based upon lunar and solar patterns. In the festive month of Bhadrapad (also spelled Bhadon), around the end of August and the beginning of September, there is the Ganapati festival which is a celebration of  Ganesh, the elephant, and some other animals. This festival is full of Hindu traditions and historical practices like authentic music, dance, and food. To see more about Hindu Art and Architecture, check out this post.

The Bhadrapad celebration is of great importance to many people from all across India as it is a  combination of various aspects of Hinduism and central and southern Indian traditions and culture. Because of the festival’s popularity, quite a few artists have created a variety of artworks that depict all of the excitement and the elephant (Ganesh) is usually the brightly colored focal point of these works of art. See also this Art Odisha page.

Already many months before the Ganapati festival, preparations take place to make the celebration a success. The festival’s setting gets early rented out to be painted and decorated with numerous props, the most significant being the Ganapati murti, a beautifully decorated elephant portrait of Ganesh. There also are impressive 2 or 3-dimensional models of all sorts of animals and humans, and buildings or other props while the best space is defined and reserved for the Ganapati murti. The murti space is beautifully decorated and set up for the first festival day…

In India, using animals has for thousands of years been traditional for many people and societies, a tradition that dates back all the way to the days of the Neanderthals. The animals were and are hunted because of resources like fur, oil, and meat, and also domesticated to function as transportation animals or for towing fields. Also, the Indian elephant is falling in this category as it is used for exploitation by humans whereas African elephants have never been used for these purposes and were never domesticated.