Raja Ravi Varma and Ravi Varma PressCirca 1930

The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation

The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation
Bengaluru, India

AMBIKA: In this print from the Ravi Varma Press derived from a painting by Raja Ravi Varma, the primordial Mother Goddess, Raja-Rajeshwari or Lalitha or Tripura Sundari is depicted in the form of Ambika. Ambika is a name for the other Goddess as found in the Lalitha Sahasranama (Ambika Nandhanidhana). She is said to reside in the Bindu or centre of the tantric representation of Shakti called the Sri-Chakra.

In this representation, she is shown seated on a resplendent throne with an umbrella. She has four arms which carry a noose (pasha) which symbolizes ignorance, a goad (ankusha) which symbolizes restraint, a bow of sugarcane and arrows of flowers (in this representation she holds a lotus). She is attended upon by minor deities and attendants.


  • Title: Ambika
  • Creator: Raja Ravi Varma, Ravi Varma Press
  • Date Created: Circa 1930
  • Physical Dimensions: 50 x 35 cms
  • Provenance: The Hemamalini and Ganesh Shivaswamy collection, Bengaluru.
  • Subject Keywords: Raja Ravi Varma, Hinduism, Devi, Gigapixel
  • Type: Chromolithograph
  • Rights: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru
  • Creator's Biography: Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was a prolific Indian artist who is recognized for his resorting to the academic realistic style of painting. His portraits of English and Indian royalty and aristocracy were well received. His paintings on Hindu religious and mythological subjects and paintings from classical and literary sources were highly sought after even during his lifetime. He painted several copies of his works and this demand led to the suggestion to have his paintings printed in the form of oleographs. The Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press was established in Bombay (now Mumbai) and commenced operations in 1894. Many of Ravi Varma's paintings were printed as chromolithographs at this Press. These chromolithographs would have a tremendous impact on religion, society and aesthetics. They went on to democratize art leading to immortalize Ravi Varma in the minds of the people of the Indian subcontinent.

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