Карлики в древнеиндийской религиозной иконографии. Уровни интерпретации
Images of dwarfish beings inhabit the ancient Indian temples in great abundance. One has only look carefully to start notice them everywhere: in mythological scenes and decorative friezes, in prabhamandalaaround the object of veneration and as bhadrakaras- original atlantes, supporting architectural elements; on walls, pillars and ceilings, in interiors and on facades of temples. This pan-Indian images – common in iconographic program of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, the three major religions of ancient India. Dispite of similar appearance, figures of dwarfs may be interpretate in a completely different ways - as different characters. The meaning of them depends on the location in the iconographic program, their attributes, weapons, posture, gestures and encirclement. They are demonic creatures and guardians, fearful and worshipful in the same time, cajole them, and they are addressed to specific requests concerning different needs, well-being, the harvest, as well as the revelation of the progeny. However, only one value is determined by the iconography of temple dwarfs images, their semantics is much more complicated, as the religious images, tend to invest more than one meaning and can be read by them on many levels, corresponding to different research perspectives. Figure of dwarf in Indian art has developed from displaying ancient yakshas, autochthonous chthonic cult, prior to the submission of creatures of esoteric tantric teachings. They play a minor but important role in the ancient Indian religious iconography.