A journalist asked us today about the enamel eyes sported by our Vishnu and Lakshmi sculpture in Sanjay Patel’s Deities, Demons and Dudes with ‘Staches.
This sculpture was originally intended to have eyes like these. There are carved depressions in the stone for them, as you can see from the picture below. We don’t know whether the sculpture never got its eyes, or lost them at some point. Years ago we made a mold of the eye depressions, and I gave the mold to an artisan in India who makes such eyes. The artisan then created a pair for us from enameled metal, as is traditional.
This sculpture (which has not been on view for many years) was borrowed for the recent traveling exhibition Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior. The show’s curator, Joan Cummins of the Brooklyn Museum, learned that we had eyes for the sculpture and asked to show the piece in her exhibition with the eyes in place. We agreed enthusiastically.
Lots of Indian sculptures–both Hindu and Jain–have such eyes, and the tradition is an old one. Today you can easily buy ready-made eyes, or have them made to order, as we did.
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