Photographer's Note

Pictured here is a statue named Reading Ganesh, at Victoria's Way Indian Sculpture garden near the town of Roundwood, Co Wicklow.

In the garden, there are total of nine statues of Ganesh (Vinayaka) in a variety of positions. Here we see reading Ganesh, but also there is a reclining Ganesh, Tabla Ganesh, Veena Ganesh, two dancing Ganesh and even an Uilleann Pipes Ganesh also known as Paddy Ganesh, a nod to the fact that these very Indian sculptures reside in the green mountains of Wicklow.

The collection of black granite Ganesh sculptures are considered to be the finest in the world, and it too nine years to design, model and carve the entire set. Their sizes range from five foot six inches to nine foot tall and they weight between two and five tons.

The sculptures were dreamt up and sketched in Roundwood in Ireland, then modeled by the artist D.V. Murugan in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India. They were carved in Mahabalipuram by one of India’s most outstanding sculptors, the stapathi master T. Baskaran.

The visitors centre has a photographic exhibit showing the statues being crated by the Indian craftsmen. It is fascinating to see these mighty sculptures take form from single blocks of granite hewn from the earth.

In addition to the Ganesh statues, there is also the forest sculptures which represent the stages on the journey to the full realization of one’s true self. These statues are quite intense and feature rather fearsome looking characters in most of them, including the split man (Who is cutting himself in half with a sword and whose head is cleaved in two), the Death of the Ferryman which a man looking very like a rotting zombie reaching from the water as his boat sinks, and One becomes Two, depicting the act of sex, and in which a half woman / half demon has her tentacles and claws wrapped around a much smaller man as he looks terrified while he clutches at her naked bosom.

One thing to keep an eye out for is the modern touches on many of the statues. The picture of the Starving Buddha (Dark Night of the Soul) which I posted yesterday features a mobile phone tucked into the robes at the rear of the statue. On one of the instrument playing Ganesh statues there is a tiny mouse who is holding an iMac computer, and in this one pictured here, the book Ganesh is reading is about Computer Basic. Almost all of the Ganesh statues feature a tiny mouse somewhere in the carving.

Paddy Ganesh pays his traditional Irish musical instrument, wears a tweed cap and even has a pint of Guinness sitting on the ground beside him.

This is a very interesting, and very little known place only a shot drive from south Dublin.

Thanks for looking!

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4173 W: 26 N: 9238] (33764)
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