Katakahasta, Kaṭakahasta, Kataka-hasta: 4 definitions



Katakahasta means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

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In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Google Books: The Book of Hindu Imagery: Gods, Manifestations and Their Meaning

Kataka—Holding a lotus flower; this position of the hand invites the believer to make the gift of a flower.

Source: Google Books: Elements of Hindu iconography

Kaṭakahasta (कटकहस्त) or Siṃhakarṇa is that pose of the hand wherein the tips of the fingers are loosely applied to the thumb so as to form a ring or, as somewhat poetically expressed by the latter name, so as to resemble a lion’s ear. The hands of goddesses are generally fashioned in this manner for the purpose of inserting a fresh flower every day in them. This is also the manner in which one of the hands of a standing or a reclining figure of Viṣṇu is fashioned.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

Kaṭakahasta (कटकहस्त) or simply Kaṭaka refers to “crab-hold” and represents one of the twenty-four gestures with a single hand, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—Accordingly, pratimā-lakṣaṇa (body postures of the icons) is comprised of hand gestures (hasta, mudrā or kai-amaiti), stances/poses (āsanas) and inflexions of the body (bhaṅgas). There are thirty-two types of hands [viz., kaṭakahasta] classified into two major groups known as tolirkai (functional and expressive gestures) and elirkai (graceful posture of the hand).

(Description of Kaṭaka-hasta): When the thumb is brought forward slightly and curved towards the palm, the middle and ring fingers joined and brought forward, slightly, the little and index fingers bent only at their top joints, the form is called kaṭaka-hasta (since it closely resembles the hold of a kaṭaka or crab). The tip of the middle finger should be a little in front of the ring finger.

Source: Shodhganga: Vaisnava Agamas And Visnu Images

Kaṭakahasta (कटकहस्त) refers to one of the various hand-poses (hastas or mudrās) defined in treatises such as the Pāñcarātra, Pādmasaṃhitā and Vaikhānasa-āgamas, extensively dealing with the technical features of temple art, iconography and architecture in Vaishnavism.—Kaṭakahasta resembles almost the side part of crab. This is a common pose in the sculptures of female deities like Śrīdevī and Bhūdevī holding flower in it. In this gesture, the top of fist must be at the level of breast-nut of the deity in case the hand is in a position to hold any object like flower. In the icon of Viṣṇu, this gesture the lower hand almost parallel to abhaya or varada held in other lower hand.

According to Kāśyapaśilpaśāstra (64.12b-13a), in kaṭaka pose, all the fingers, right from little finger to index finger, remain bent and the thumb is bent a little. As per Sārasvatīyacitrakarmaśāstra (14.36b), in the seated icon, the wrist must be at the distance of four or five aṅgulas from the mid-thigh; in such gesture, the wrist must be at the level of upper part of hip (kaṭi).

This kaṭakahasta is prescribed in different positions for different icons in Vaiṣṇava Agamic treatises. In the icon of Rājagopāla, the kaṭakahasta is near the hip which holds krīḍāyaṣṭi (sportive staff). In the icon of Sītā, as per Marīci, the upper tip of the kaṭaka must be to the level of breast-nut (stana-akṣa); the distance between wrist (maṇibandha) and nābhi is 13½ aṅgulas; and, the distance between the side of the body and the middle of the arm is seven aṅgulas. In the icon of Rāma, the right hand with kaṭaka holding the arrow remains at the level of meḍhra-sūtra. In the icon of Balarāma, the left hand with this gesture holding the attribute hala (plough) remains at the level of bāhu-sūtra; and, the right hand with this gesture holding musala (pestle) is at the height of śroṇī-sūtra.

Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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