This beautiful Art Deco sculpture of master carver I Made Runda from Sanah represents the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, who is always depicted with a lotus flower in her hand. Lakshmi brings happiness and light in life. She is considered the goddess of wealth, abundance and beauty. In addition to material prosperity, she is also responsible for spiritual wealth. And that’s what this statue is all about.
Lakshmi is also closely linked to the pre-Hindu goddess Dewi Sri, who is worshipped in Bali as the goddess of rice and fertility. The Balinese gods often have multiple names and guises. Some of them are depicted with the same attributes, making them difficult to tell apart. For example, the goddess Dewi Uma is also depicted with a lotus flower in her hand. However, since the emphasis of the woodcarving is on the blissful and contemplative facial expression, Lakshmi is more obvious.
Runda sculpted her as a graceful female figure. She holds the lotus flower close to her heart as a symbol for the inner soul and spiritual enlightenment. The special zigzag shape in her posture, with the right foot turned inwards, is taken from traditional statues of the gods. Except the lotus, Runda leaves out almost all usual attributes of the goddess, such as Lakshmi’s crown en lotus throne. This was his trademark. By omitting these details, the emphasis is on the flowing lines and mystical appearance of the statue.
Read more about I Made Runda in my post on Dewi Winata.