Monday, September 30, 2019




This 8th or 9th century  karkota period( 625-1003 AD)    broken sculpture  of three headed Shiva is from Kashmir. It  is on display inside Harvard University Art Museum (Arthur M. Sackler section )   , Massachusetts, Boston. As per details  it has been acquired in 1990 under  acquisition of Oriental Art number  1990.1. t is on display at Level 2, Room 2590 of the museum.

The Museum details informs as under:

" The rounded forms, well-modeled musculature, and controlled exuberance of this figure characterize the sculptural style that developed in late ninth-century Kashmir, during the reign of the Karkota dynasty (625–1003)."

(Avtar Mota)


Harvard University Art Museums  ...These are actually  three museums namely ;  Fogg Museum , Bush-Reisinger Museum and Arthur M. Sackler Museum.
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This is a 7th-8th century Manjushri  Sculpture  from  Kashmir. Done in  brass with silver and copper inlay,  this sculpture is on display in Harvard University Art Museum at Arthur M. Sackler   section.

The Museum  clarifies as under :

"This is considered a rare sculpture of Manjushri  from Kashmir with silver-inlaid eyes and copper-inlaid lips, wearing a dhoti longer on one side and decorated with a lotus print inlaid with silver and copper. The lotus on the palm of his right hand, the buckle on his belt and parts of his other accessories are inlaid with silver. He holds a flower topped with the Prajnaparamita sutra and his adorned with a Kashmiri-style crown with a crescent moon design, floral earrings, beaded accessories including a garland."

(Avtar Mota)


Manjushri the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, normally holds a sword in one hand, to cut off all delusion,  and a Prajnaparamita Wisdom text in the other . A lotus is also associated with Manjushri.Manjushri idols or painted images are  revered and meditated upon by Buddhists world over.
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Sunday, September 29, 2019



Portrait of Raja Ram Singh  from Jammu in Harvard University  Art Museum,

A painting in Harvard  University Art Museum (   in fact Harvard University Art  Museum is a group of three museums namely; Fogg Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, and Busch Reisinger Museum  ) Massachusetts, Boston.

This painting has been gifted to Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Stuart Cary Welch Collection, Gift of Edith I. Welch in memory of Stuart Cary Welch ( There are three Museums in Harvard ) Massachusetts, Boston. The medium of this painting is  Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper. Its dimensions  are 33 x 27.6 cm (13 x 10 7/8 in.) and there is an inscription in English script: Ram Singh of Jammu / ( Accession No  2009.202.216)

Details of  the painting

“A young Raja Ram Singh (b. 1861-1899) is depicted at the center of the image. He wears a red and gold turban with a large plume and an elaborate turban ornament (sarpech) that is studded with emeralds, rubies, and pearls. Three large emeralds with pearls hang from the end of the ornament onto the top of his forehead. The prince wears large gold hoop earrings with two pearls flanking a large emerald. Around his neck he wears a collar of multiple strands of pearls with teardrop emeralds hanging from it, as well as two longer pearl necklaces with emerald and pearl-studded pendants. Raja Ram Sing wears a dark red robe with gold trim. He carries a sword (talwar) inside a green scabbard in the crook of his left arm. His gray eyes intensely gaze downward. Behind the young prince is another young male figure. He wears a red turban, two earrings, which includes same large hoop that Raja Ram Singh is wearing, and a pendant studded with an emerald. He also wears a red robe (jama). Based on his jewelry and clothing, he is of noble or royal status. Both figures stand on a terrace.  Raja Ram Singh was the second son of Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmir. He later became the commander-in-chief of the state forces. ”

( Avtar Mota )

 Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to Harvard University, is a colorful, multicultural city just across the Charles River from Boston. Cambridge is a  center of academics and higher learning, featuring two of the world's premier educational institutions, Harvard University  and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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This sculpture done in leaded brass inlaid with copper relates to 9th-century Kashmir. It is on permanent display in  Los Angeles County Museum of Art USA. It was also displayed in the special ' Himalayan Art Exhibition 'organized by Rubin Museum of Art New York.

Chakrasamvara (The Wheel of Bliss) is one of the well known deities of  Tantric Buddhism practiced in the Himalayan region. Many images relating to   Chakrasamvara have been done in ancient Kashmir. 

Kashmir has been a hub of Tantric Buddhist teachings. This Sculpture lends credence to the fact that Tantric art especially sculpture and paintings is an essential component of Kashmir's ancient Buddhist heritage.

 Chakrasamvara is worshipped by Tibetan Buddhists.T his deity is done in several dozen different forms, from simple to complex and peaceful to wrathful.
According to Tibetan Buddhist texts:

"...Shri Chakrasamvara with a body blue in color, four faces, and twelve hands. The main face is blue, left face red, back face yellow and right face white. Each face has three eyes and four bared fangs. The first two hands hold a vajra and bell embracing the mother. The lower two hold an elephant skin out-stretched; third right a damaru, fourth an axe, fifth a trident, sixth a curved knife. The third left holds a katvanga marked with a vajra; fourth a vajra lasso, fifth a blood filled skullcup, sixth carries the four-faced head of Brahma. The right leg is straight and presses on the breast of red Kalaratri; left bent and pressing on the head of black Yama. The hair is tied in a topknot on the crown of the head; on the crest a wish-fulfilling jewel ornament and crescent moon. The soft spot at the top of the head is marked with a vishvavajra. Each head has a crown of five dry human skulls; a necklace of fifty fresh heads and six bone ornaments; wearing a lower garment of tiger skin; possessed of the nine emotions of dancing; grace, fearlessness, and ugliness; laughter, ferocity and frightfulness; compassion, fury and peacefulness."

(Avtar Mota)

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 Prof.Satish Dhawan ( 1920-2002)  father of Indian Space Mission ( Chairman  ISRO ) and country's topmost scientist ,   was born in Srinagar city and had his initial schooling in Kashmir . His father, Devi Dayal Dhawan hailed from NWFP while his mother Lakshmi  belonged to a Punjabi  family that was well settled in Srinagar  kashmir. His father  was a high-ranking official who  served kashmir  during Maharaja’s rule  and who    retired post partition  as  resettlement Commissioner  Government of India .

Prof Dhawan  married  Nalini ,  herself a scientist and a  simple  woman .Maharaja of Mysore was a great admirer cum  supporter of Prof Dhawan's  scientific initiatives .

Prof. Dhawan  graduated from Lahore and later moved to USA for higher studies . He joined the University of Minnesota, from where he obtained an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering, before moving to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

He followed this up with a PhD in Aeronautics and Mathematics from Caltech in 1951, which he pursued with eminent aerospace scientist Professor Hans W. Liepmann as an adviser. In his memoir ‘Vignettes’, Liepmann mentioned how Dhawan’s leadership of the Indian scientific community birthed some of the brilliant geniuses from a developing nation.

 His daughter Jyotsna Dhawan, is a renowned molecular biologist. For some time , she was also associated with Center for Cellular and Molecular BioIogy, Hyderabad . She adds:

" My father  very much valued the idea of working with your hands. He felt that working with your hands is not separate from the intellect. It’s part and parcel of it. And he had a great deal of respect for people who had the agility and capability to work with their hands. He worked with carpenters and trained people to build specific things for his own research programme. He built lots of our furniture at home. He also loved going to auctions in town to buy second-hand furniture which he would modify.
He just read voraciously. He also had a Master’s in literature. He read everything – biographies, fiction, history, political theory, literature. He loved poking around in second-hand bookstores and in those days there were several in Bangalore. Although he himself was not a religious man, he had a deep respect for Indian philosophy, and so he read a lot. One of his absolute favourite books was a book of short stories by a little-read author now called HH Munro, whose pen-name was Saki. I still have my father’s copy of Saki’s short stories."

It is a well known fact that Prof Dhawan would proudly declare his birth place and feel happy in linking  himself with Kashmir.

( Avtar Mota )
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Friday, September 27, 2019




If you want to see some rare ancient Art from Kashmir , Western Himalayas, and Tibet, You need to visit Rubin Museum of Art located on 17th street West New York. In Rubin Museum, you will actually be surprised to see some rare Ivory work from Kashmir. I had never heard that ancient Kings from Kashmir patronized Ivory work. Presence of elephants in Kashmir is substantiated by some text but Ivory work from Kashmir is a news to me.

This is 10th century copper inlaid with the silver sculpture of  goddess UMA  from Kashmir.It is on display inside Kashmir section of Rubin Museum New York. You can see Nandi and  Shiva’s Trishula as well. Uma is also known as  Parvati.

According to  Oxford-educated Historian Hindol Sengupta :

“ This idol is of Goddess Kashmira. Goddess Kashmira, daughter of King Himalaya, is also known as Parvati. This is from  ancient Kashmir that most people have forgotten .”

( Avtar Mota )

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019


                                                      ( At Brownington )

                                          ( Amish  sign Horse cart )

                                                        ( Montpelier VT  )

                                                        ( At Burlington )




So many  Gulmarg like meadows , so many beautiful places like Pahalghaam, so many clear water lakes, thousands of snow skiing slopes, colourful flowers ,farmer markets, gift shops, theatres, cheese industries  , bicycles, wines, honey, maple syrup , restaurants , music ,art, Yoga, forest camping , pine forests, sunflower farms, sweet corn farms, water falls, birds, fruits, apple cider , pickles, sea food, bakery and chocolates all in plenty. That is Vermont state .

Vermont is primarily rural but into its harmony of hills, fields and forests, attractive towns and villages with a distinctive Vermont atmosphere are also blended .

Vermilion orange ,russet and golden hues flood Vermont's landscape every fall. Reminiscent of an artist's palette ,  these  warm tones light up the trees of maple beech and poplar in this region. 

In Vermont , roads appear to be  hugging  the mountains to meet valleys .These roads take you through forests, farmlands, old  villages , towns , lakes ,  hubs of culture / communities / commerce and innumerable spots of recreation . For a traveler , Vermont has its special chews and brews , museums and galleries  and mild to  wild outdoor  recreations .

This state is very close to Canada hence climatically , August end felt like early November of Kashmir. Scenic with Chinar like maple trees all over , Vermont state is sparsely populated. A good number of senior citizens live over here. A real dearth of health care volunteers. The population of Vermont state of USA is something around 630000 . Indescribable beauty , soothing climate and proximity to Atlantic ocean. This entire area is known as New England.We visited Burlington, Brownington, New Port , Montpelier and some more places
Montpelier is the capital of Vermont. Population  of Montpelier 8000 as per records yet  the infrastructure is for about 200000 people approximately .Always write Montpelier VT . VT is for Vermont as there is another beautiful city in france with same name . The town was originally a French settlement and Europeans started arriving in this area in early 17th century. Before that ,it was inhabited by local Indian tribes . During daytime ,the city has lot of hustle bustle due to visitors and emploees who come to this small place for jobs. Many offices of state administration are located in this beautiful city.

In Vermont state , you have a beautiful town close to the border of canada. This town is called New Port. Canada is just nine miles from New Port. New Port was  cold in late August . Evening temperature was 14 degrees celsius. New Port is a town with population of about 5000 persons .The town has some refugee families from Thailand . So yo get good  Thai food from a Restaurant. Infrastructure wise,it can accommodate 250000 persons.Winter temperature at New Port may drop to minus 28 degrees celsius. It is almost deserted in winters. No tourist . A beautiful lake known as lake Memphremagog is in the heart of the town.

We stayed at Burlington as well. Burlington has an airport and we arrived from New York by Jet Blue flight .The flight time was about one hour. Burlington town is inhabited by immigrants from Europe mostly UK. A walk through old church street is a new experience. Tourists, art Bazaar ,ice creams and crowded restaurants.
Burlington town has some refugees who speak Nepalese language . They have settled in colder states of New England. Many refugee families have settled in Vermont. Saw many in Burlington. Saw some Sherpa and Himalayan Restaurants. Burlington is the biggest city of Vermont state. Vermont University is also in Burlington town. Population of the town is about 60000. Abundant means and resources for about 300000 persons. Lake Champlain is a beautiful lake in the heart of the town. This lake extends upto Canada. It has a beautiful water front with walking path and parks.

Stayed for two nights at Brownington village . August end over here feels like early November of kashmir. Saw two beautiful lakes close to Brownington village .Lake Willoughby and lake Crystal . Clear water and no crowds .This area is full of meadows and pine forests. Many Amish families have also come to this area and are doing well.

Conversation with the ice cream seller in New Port.

"We close in November and reopen in March. People here relish bigger ice creams even when the baby size is enough for an adult. We got big, large medium ,small and baby baby .I suggest you take medium. That will suffice for four of you and the baby. If you  feel like having  more ,no problem, i am here to serve"
,This is Vermont Special. The famous Ben And Jerry's . Made from vermont Dairy . "

" Have heard about Ben And Jerry's ice cream. Thanks"

" What toppings do you need ? Should i make it with crushed almonds ?"

"That will be fine .What is this frozen yoghurt ice cream ? Do you sell plain Yoghurt ? Any thing like Indian Lassi ."

" This is Yoghurt ice cream. Yoghurt is a dessert. Always sweetened with pineapple or black berry or vanilla or Banana . Some people like it as ice cream. Some like it as dessert. What to do with plain yoghurt i don't know ?what is Lahssi that you want  ? And my friend, come to this place in October to see Fall colors."

Vermont is a major producer of timber ,pulp,granite and marble. Vermont marble has been used in the construction of the Supreme Court building in Washington D.C.and the United Nations headquarters in New York city.

(Avtar Mota)


The horse cart is a sign of Amish house.  Like other Europeans, Amish people are also    immigrants to USA  from Germany and Netherlands. Some Amish  families have lately moved to Vermont from Pennsylvania. They   follow strict community rules. They don't use TV , mobile phones and modern electronic gadgets . They  can be seen traveling by horse carts.

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( Photographs ..Avtar Mota September 2019)

Goddess Durga slaying the buffalo demon Mahishasura done in Brass. 12th century creation from Chamba kingdom Himachal Pradesh.If you look at this wonderful metal sculpture of  Goddess Durga  in action and restoring universal order ,You feel the echo of Sanskrit  Sloka " Jai Jai hai Mahishasur Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute" composed by AdI Sankara.

(2) Standing Vishnu as Keshava in Blackstone.12th century from Karnataka. This Sculpture was done during the Hoysala rule in Karnataka. And Vishnu is worshipped with the most popular Mantra" Shantakaram Bhujagashayanam Padmanabham Suresham Vishvadharam Gaganasadrisham Meghavarnam Shubhangam".

(3) Buddha with a radiate Halo and Mandoria. A Gandhara Art in brass 6th century from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan. This metal image of Buddha blends the elements seen in Gandhara stone Sculptures with Gupta style of North India. For this beautiful image of Buddha, I add :

Buddham Saranam Gacchami.
Dhammam Saranam Gacchami..
Sangam saranam Gachhami...

(Avtar Mota)                                               

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019


                                             ( Autumn or Fall in Washington)
                                            ( EasrlySpring time   in Washington )


When mortals were busy storing the colours and wealth that they had stolen from Autumn, Nature had engaged itself in procuring necessary apparel for the ensuing Spring . Autumn and spring bring colours . If spring brings colourful flowers, Autumn makes even the leaves colourful. Kashmiri poet Dina Nath Naadim also says so .I quote a couplet of poet Naadim.

"Toahee Chhuvv Haradienn Sunn Vodaraavien
Me Chhu Sombarun Soantus Jadaad…"

( Dina Nath Naadim )

"While you busy yourself in hiding wealth
stolen from this autumn,
I have to engage myself in collecting costumes for the ensuing Spring…………."

(Avtar Mota)

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                                           (   The blogger in MET Museum )
                              ( Harwa tilein MET  Museum )
 ( Crowned and jeweled Brass  Buddha from kashmir  in MET.This is wonder in brass created in kashmir during 8th or 9th century .)
                  (Broken Image of Kaamdeva in Metropolitan Museum of Art..).
 ( Kartikeya or ' The God of War' from kashmir. Brass with silver inlay .MET  Accession No 2015.500.4.5 )
 ( Shiva Ekmukhalinga from Kashmir .&th century stone sculptureon display in Asian Section of MET . Accession Number  1989.150 )          
  ( Golden diadem with Kinnaris    (Crown of a queen  .. gold inset with garnet  ) relating to 9th  or 10th lying  in  Asian section of Metropolitan Museum of Art New York .  Accession No..1988.395 )                                                  


( The Blogger outside MET  New York )

 (Vairochana ,the Transcedent Buddha ( seated in a Yogic posture ) of the center from Gilgit area . 9th or 10th Century .Bronze with silver inlay. MET accesion  Number 1987.218.7.. On display in Asian section of Metropolitan Museum of Art New York )


‌There is a section in Metropolitan Museum of Art New York  (gallery 237 ) devoted exclusively to kashmir. This section falls in Florence And Herbert Asian Wing of MET Museum. It is a real pleasure to see how some treasures from kashmir have been nicely preserved , protected and displayed over here. 

‌During my visit in September 2019 , i saw a stone  sculpture of goddess Sharda , terracotta tiles from Harwan Kashmir, a Vaikuntha Vishnu sculpture , a broken sculpture of kamdeva , two Pashmina shawl  , brass images of Gajalakshmi, Bronze sculptures, Kartikeya  sculpture, Brahama Vishnu Mahesha triad in black stone, golden crown of a  kashmirian queen, sculpture of Bhairava , sculpture of Shiva Ekmukhlinga , metal mask of Bhairava ,  metal mask of Vaikuntha Vishnu ,sculpture of Indra or Vajrapani , Buddha in postures some golden coins of kushana period and many more artifacts .


In Kashmir, kaamdeva images were sculpted in temples of Avantipora and Anderkot ( capital of king Jayapida grandson of king Lalitaditya) . The description given for the broken Kaamdeva stone image held in Metropolitan Museum of Art New York reads:
‘ Kama, the god of love, is here identified by a wondrous mythical creature (makara), who spews arrows from its jaws. The bow and arrow and a pair of lovebirds are Kamadeva’s principal identifiers. This subject is a rare survivor from early medieval Kashmir.’


I also saw three tiles from Harwan in Metropolitan Museum of Art New York .Out of these three, two are broken and one is unbroken and complete .
The tiles show a distinct Parthian or late Sasanian influence revealing the close connections that Kashmir had with the Gandhara region at the time when Buddhism was the prevalent system of belief in both the regions.
The unbroken tile displayed in MET Museum has images of emaciated naked ascetics and couples drawn on it. The images are a mixture of Buddhist and Shaivite Yogic images that relate to a period between 5th and 6th century A D. These tiles decorated the courtyard of an apsidal temple at Harwan.
 The  additional details given by MET Museum  for these Harwan tiles  are as under  :-

 "Given that similar mixtures of Hindu and Buddhist imagery appear at other contemporary sites in Afghanistan and western India , the tiles may be a part of larger exchange that occurred in relation to the emergence of esoteric Buddhism. Numerals in the Kharoshti script have been incised into the tiles , presumably as an aid to their placement ."

Such tiles establish without any ambiguity the presence of a fully evolved school of art in ancient Kashmir.


In the Asian section ( first Floor adjacent to Korean Art section ) of Metropolitan Museum of Art New York , I saw a crowned idol of Goddess Sharada from Kashmir . This late 9th century sculpture has been done in Chlorite Schist and is in good shape . As per details collected by me , the idol was gifted to MET Museum in 1984 by Mr. and Mrs.Perry J .Lewis residents of Greenwich Connecticut, USA . Sharada is Kashmiri synonym for Sarswati, the Goddess of learning .

This four armed idol is housed in Gallery 237 in MET Museum .It is about 32 cms in height and 20 cms in width . It was exhibited twice as per details below:-

(1) Art Institute of Chicago. "Himalayas: An Aesthetic Adventure," April 5, 2003–July 27, 2003.

(2) New York. Asia Society. "The Arts of Kashmir," October 2, 2007–January 27, 2008.
Metropolitan Museum of Art treats it as a notable acquisition of ancient Kashmir.

A careful look at the idol reveals that two hands of the goddess rest on two children ,) each holding a manuscript representing Vidya ( Knowledge ) and Gyana ( Wisdom ). It could not be confirmed from the Museum officials whether this idol is from ancient Sharada Temple of Kashmiri Pandits ( now in POK ).


Kartikeya or  God of  war metal sculpture  is from ancient kingdom of Kashmir . Id I wIas been done in brass with silver inlay. This 8th century Sculpture was gifted to Metropolitan Museum of Art New York by  Florence and Herbert Irving in 2015. This  Sculpture is displayed on first floor inside Asian section of MET Museum.
Kartikeya is  second child of Shiva and Parvati after  Ganesha. Other names of Kartikeya are Murugan ,Skanda ,Subhramanaya and Kumara  . Kartikeya is the most handsome gods in Hindu Mythology. The vehicle of Kartikeya is a peacock.

Next time more.

(Avtar Mota)


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