Elephant Research Paper

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Museum Project Essay Elephants are admired across the world, but nowhere else in the world are they more revered and integrated into the culture than in India (Gröning, Saller, 122). We have chosen elephant depictions in various art mediums for our exhibit because they grants us insight into tradition and deity-like reverence of the animal in India culture. In our exhibit visitors will be guided through artistic examples of elephants in the ancient world, Buddhist stupas, Hindu temples, and of the Hindu god Ganesh. Elephants have been depicted in many aspects of Indian life from farm animals to animals of war. For the purpose of this paper we will focus on the prominence of elephants in ancient India, Buddhism, and in Hinduism. In ancient India elephants have always been seen as sacred symbols of protection (Dalrymple 87). The first known taming of the elephant is documented in the Indus River Valley region around 3500 BC (Gröning, Saller 108), and also contained one of the oldest depictions of the tamed animal from around the 3rd millennium BC (Gröning, Saller 110). This early portrayal of the elephant was a small steatite seal used for trade or in ritual, and most likely identifies individuals who own the traded goods (Dehejia 29-31). One the seal can be seen an…show more content…
He is the elephant-headed god that represents both prosperity and wisdom, and is considered to the most popular of all the gods (Dalrymple 10). He is usually depicted with a large belly, elephant head, four arms, and his mount is a rat. Ganesh himself is not an elephant but is considered by Indians to be the most intelligent animal so it is a logical conclusion that the Hindu god of wisdom, knowledge, and welfare has the head of an elephant (Gröning, Saller 127). Ganesh is the son of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvati. There are many explanations to the origins of Ganesh and how he came to have an elephant head. In one of these
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