by Bhagyashree Sarma | 2021 | 59,457 words
This page relates ‘7(g): Role of Eyes in Portrait Created in the Context of Painting’ of the study on the elements of Art and Architecture according to the Vishnudharmottara Purana: an ancient text whose third book deals with various artisan themes such as Architecture, Painting, Dance, Grammar, etc. Many chapters are devoted to Hindu Temple architecture and the iconography of Deities and their installation rites and ceremonies.
Beautiful eyes always enhance the beauty of a person as well as the portrait of a person. A plenty of description of different kinds and shapes of eyes and their charms are found in the writings of different poets of Sanskrit literature. In the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa also, different kinds of eyes and their particular shapes are elaborately discussed in the context of Painting. The measurements of eyes are mentioned here with the unit called yava i.e., a barley corn. In the Līlāvatī of Bhāskarācārya, the reference of this particular unit is found.
2) The second variety is matsyodara i.e., in the shape of the belly of a fish and the measurement of the eyes in that shape should be four yavas and the book specifies that the eyes in the portrait of women and lovers should be in this shape.
3) The third variety of the eye should be in the shape of utpalapatra i.e., petals of blue lotus and its measurement should be six yavas. The eyes of nirvikāra i.e., immutable person should be in the shape of the petals of blue lotus. The eyes in the shape of the petals of blue lotus are more charming when the corners of the eyes are shown as red in colour and when these are adorned with long eyelashes and black pupils. In the description of Kādambarī, Bānabhatta projects the corners of the eyes of Kādambarī become slightly red due to anger which enhances the beauty of the picturisation of the character of Kādambarī.
4) The forth variety of eye should be in the shape of padmapatra i.e., petal of lotus flower and the size should be nine yavas. In the Kumārasambhava, Pārvatī is referred to utpalākṣyā i.e., one with the eyes in the shape of utpala i.e., lotus. The Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa states that the eyes of the scared and lamenting person should be in the shape of lotus petal.
5) The fifth variety of eye should be in the shape of a śara i.e., an arrow and the measurement should be ten yavas. This kind of eyes should be attached with the portrait of a person who is in anger or pain.
It is important to note that the difference between the cāpa form and the śara form of eyes can be pointed out on the basis of the measurement. Here the particular measurements specified for the portrayal of eyes reflects the writer’s observational maturity.
Footnotes and references:
V.S Apte, The student’s Sanskrit English Dictionary, p.206
cāpākāraṃ bhavennetraṃ matsyodaramathāpi vā/ Ibid., 3.37.9
V.S Apte, The student’s Sanskrit English Dictionary, p.102
netramutpalapatrākhyaṃ pramāṇātṣaḍyavaṃ smṛtaṃ/ Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, 3.37.11
V.S Apte, The student’s Sanskrit English Dictionary, p.293
netramutpalapatrābhaṃ nirvikārasya śasyate/ Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, 3.37.14
……..gatiprasaranirodhiśravaṇakopādiva kiṃcidāraktāpāṅgena……./ Kādambarī, 1.p.284
Arthur A. Macdonell, A Sanskrit English Dictionary, p.152
castasya rudataścaiva padmapatranibhaṃ bhavet/ Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, 3.37.15
V.S Apte, The student’s Sanskrit English Dictionary, p.548
kruddhasya vedanāntasya netraṃ śarākṛtirbhavet/ Ibid., 3.37.15