Ode to a Design Goddess, The Story Behind the Mirror
Beautiful, brilliant, and unique, strength and power radiate from the Goddess Mirror by the luxury decor brand KOKET. Renowned for their empowering statement pieces and iconic finishes, in true KOKET fashion, the Goddess makes an instant design statement. But beyond its beauty is also a story of design creation at its finest. And a deeper symbolic meaning for those who welcome the Goddess into their interiors. Read on to discover KOKET’s Goddess!
In 2019 Janet Morais, KOKET’s CEO & founder, came across a representation of the Hindu Goddess Durga with her many weapon-wielding arms. “The moment I saw Durga at the Musée Guimet in Paris, I knew she would be a mirror and a symbol of women worldwide celebrating all of their diversity,” Janet recalls.
Culturally known as a protective mother, Durga promises to aid her devotees against all of the troubles in the world if only they have the bravery to stand up and face them. And so became the alluring Goddess Mirror with its radial of 200 meticulously handcrafted brass hands.
Inspired by Durga, The Mother Goddess
When it comes to KOKET’s desire for the Goddess Mirror to serve as an empowering symbol anywhere it hangs, the inspiration behind the piece, the story of the powerful Hindu Goddess Durga, is vital.
In Hinduism, Durga is worshipped as one of the principal aspects of the mother goddess Mahadevi, creator of the universe. Durga is most popular among Indian divinities. In Shivaism, Durga is viewed as the “Self” within and the divine mother of all creation. Her legend centers around her ability to combat evil and demonic forces that threaten peace, prosperity, and Dharma, the power of good over evil. Moreover, she is known for protection, strength, motherhood, destruction, and war.
The Legend of Durga
According to Wikipedia, the most popular Hindu legend associated with the goddess is her killing of Mahishasura, a half-buffalo demon who severed penance to please Brahma, the creator.
The story goes that after several years, Brahma, pleased with Mahishasura’s devotion, appeared before him. The demon then opened his eyes and asked the god for immortality. Brahma refused, stating that all must die one day. After thinking a while, Mahishasura asked a favor, that only a woman would be able to kill him. Brahma granted the request and disappeared.
Mahishasura then persisted on his demonic path, torturing innocent people and capturing heaven. He acted without fear, believing women to be powerless and weak. The devas (celestial beings) worried, so they went to Trimurti (the trinity of supreme divinity in Hinduism). Together they combined their power and created a warrior woman with many arms. The devas gave her a copy of their weapons. Himavan, the lord of the Himalayas, gifted a lion as her mount.
Then, Durga, on her lion, went to Mahishasura’s palace. Mahishasura took on different forms, repeatedly attacking the goddess. Each time, Durga would destroy his form. At last, as Mahishasura was transforming into the buffalo, Durga slayed him.
The Iconography of Durga
In suit with the legend above, the most common depictions of Durga show her with between eight and eighteen arms. With each hand holding a weapon to destroy and create. She is also generally riding a lion or tiger and defeating demons. It is believed that the first depictions of Durga date back to the Indus Valley Civilization. A Bronze age civilization that existed between 3300–1300 BCE in the northwestern regions of South Asia.
Durga’s weapons also hold meaning. Traditionally she holds the weapons of various male gods of Hindu mythology. Each given to her by them to fight evil forces as the shakti (energy power). The weapons include a chakra, conch, bow, arrow, sword, javelin, trishul, shield, and a noose. Shakta Hindus consider each weapon symbolic. And, according to Wikipedia, representative of “self-discipline, selfless service to others, self-examination, prayer, devotion, remembering her mantras, cheerfulness, and meditation.”
In many depictions of Durga, her face is calm and serene, showing that she acts out of necessity, not violence. While her acts are, in fact, violent and destructive, they are always for the love of the good. And to liberate those who depend on her.
Further solidifying the power of Durga, the word itself means “impassable”, “invincible”, “unassailable” and is related to the word durg meaning “fortress, something difficult to defeat or pass”.
And so, like Durga wither her many powerful arms, the Goddess Mirror radiates empowering strength towards anyone who encounters its one-of-a-kind beauty and brilliance. The work of art also serves as a tribute to the power of women and the power of self.
The Work of Art
Composed of more than 200 brass hands spiraling around a circular mirror, the Goddess Mirror is a stunning work of art. Each hand is individually crafted by KOKET’s artisans, then painstakingly polished one by one resulting in this masterful piece of interior jewelry.
One of the most exquisite elements of KOKET’s statement designs is their use of handcrafted cast metal. Not only are the metal forms stunning to look at, the hands of the artisans who create them using the labor-intensive sand casting tradition add a special personal touch to each piece. A fact clearly seen in the Goddess Mirror!
The Casting of the Goddess Mirror
Down a long cobblestone road outside the Portuguese city of Oporto sits a workshop in the home of one of KOKET’s sand casting masters. Using the traditional techniques learned from his patriarchs, which he will pass to his children, he passionately embarks on the entirely handmade process of creating the hands of KOKET’s Goddess Mirror.
Beginning over 2,000 years ago on the Asian continent, sand casting was first used to create statues before evolving into use for utensils of daily need. From beginning to end, the process takes around 24 hours for one of the Goddess’ brass hands. And remember, there are over 200 in the design!
The first step in sand casting is the creation of a sand mold from a mixture of sand and a bonding agent. The pattern, in this case, the hand, is then compacted in the sand between the top and bottom halves of the mold box (called a flask). The top half of the flask is then lifted to remove the hand. At this point, the artisan often goes in and perfects the details in the mold before replacing the top to create the mold cavity.
Next comes the molten metal poured into the closed mold cavity. Once the metal cools, the sand mold is broken away and the casting is revealed. As is the case with the Goddess, when the casting is a component of a larger design, it is then welded with the other parts. The final step is polishing and finishing, assembly of all parts, the addition of the mirror, and then voilà, a functional work of art reaching out to empower!
Heading to Milan in June for Salone del Mobile? Come visit KOKET in Pavillion 1, Stand F09 to meet the Goddess!
More to Love!
Originally published at https://www.lovehappensmag.com on May 25, 2022.