Ganesha is widely revered as the patron of arts and sciences in Thailand. As the deva of intellect and wisdom, he is worshipped by many people, particularly those whose occupation encompasses artistic creation.
There are varying versions regarding the history of Ganesha based on each sect’s belief. Some believe that he is the son of Lord Shiva and Uma Devi. On the auspicious topknot removal ceremony, Lord Shiva could not find Narayana since he was sleeping under the ocean. Indra was asked to wake him so that he joined the ceremony. Narayana was woken up by the sound of the conch. Suddenly, he exclaimed “Oh, it was the ceremony for the headless son”. Upon his exclamation, Ganesha’s head was disappeared. Narayana then asked Vishnu to set out to the South in order to find the head of the dead man before the sunset. If not, Ganesha’s head could not be adjoined. Vishnu spent the whole day but could not find the head. The sun was ready to leave the sky. He eventually found the dead body of an elephant. Vishnu cut the elephant’s head and brought it back to Narayana. The head of the elephant was adjoined to Ganesha. This is the history of the deity whose head was an elephant and the body of a boy. However, there are still diverse tales and stories told with different details.
Ganesha has the body of a boy, the head of an elephant with the husks, four hands with a trident or a bowl of holy water or a lasso or a bowl of dessert. Some believe that Ganesha has a rat as his vehicle. Some say that the rat is his friend not a vehicle.
The drawing of Ganesha, God of Success by Chalermchai Kositpipat is beautifully created. The work truly reflects his strong faith for the patron of arts and sciences. The drawing also serves as the inspiration for the woodcut printing. Because of its meticulous drawing and the detailed technique of the woodcut printmaking, the work is aesthetic and valuable.
Woodcut is one of many relief printing techniques where an artist or block maker sketches desired patterns on a wooden board. They always have to keep in mind the reverse or mirror images on the block in order to mimic the original images. Afterwards, carving tools will be used to get rid of the area that is intended to be white. The darker part or grey area will also be carved off, however, not as much as the white part, whereas the darkest part will be left untouched. Once the block is complete, it will be inked thoroughly with a brayer, then covered with a sheet of paper before rubbing it with a baren all over the whole block or printing it out using a printing press.
To create an original wood block, the artist’s skill is very important as it can be variously developed depending on their individual characters and expertise. Moreover, printing it out on paper is also a very delicate and detailed process where elaboration is needed to perfect the task. Considered another type of artistic creation that has been passed on from generation to generation, woodcut has proudly owned its place in the world history of art.