11 November 2008
Abhaya Mudra - The Upraised Hand
Mudra is a Sanskrit word describing a symbolic or ritual gesture, usually of the hands and fingers. Mudras are often seen in the iconography and spiritual practice of Hinduism or Buddhism.
Abhaya in Sanskrit means fearlessness, and the abhaya mudra symbolizes protection, peace, and the dispelling of fear. The gesture is made with the hand raised to shoulder height, arm bent, and palm facing outward, and can also be deciphered to mean that the hand is empty of weapons thus indicating friendship and peace. According to Buddhist tradition, the historical Buddha made this gesture immediately after gaining enlightenment.
To western eyes, the abhaya mudra looks like the gesture meaning "stop" and the juxtaposition of these two meanings of the gesture captures for me the essential conundrum of trying to understand China -- the double message of "look at us" (the Olympics, the tremendous economic and technological growth, China's venerable ancient cultural contributions) and "get out of our business" (human rights, product safety, Tibet).
I created this policeman figure using the reduction method. Here's the build:
Some spots of red
Gradually building up the green uniform. When I first started doing moku hanga I used to try to get heavy solid color all at once. Everyone told me that it was better to build up the color slowly, and I think it's true.
Here I cut away some "shirt" and added more green.
And more green.
More cutting and a darker green.