Visuals.


Menstrual flux as seen on an image from a Rath or temple chariot.

A Harappan Seal from the Indus Valley Civilization perhaps 4,000 years old. In one corner you can see a woman in an almost meditation position with an emanation (baby or plant—life) coming from her vagina. The ancients seemed to think that the life force emerged from the feminine.

A Madhubani representation of the ‘field’ from which the body emerges from at birth and maybe goes back to at death. Coming into existence and leaving that existence.

From the Meenakshi temple in Madurai. The female body over time became the source of all bharkhat or increase or all good things babies, money, crops etc. This is a smallish image covered with oil applied by devotees.

A sculpture of a female body giving birth—which was then under worship as you can see from the flower petals and sindur.

Nepali boys at a roadside shrine in Kathmandu. Another example of birth as sacred and public knowledge.

Temple sculpture.

The Devi’s red dress—in this image the ‘red dress’ corresponds to Parvati’s menstruation. In one Purana Shiva claims that it is Parvati’s desire for a child, the milk from her breasts that is responsible for Ganesh, not himself. He has told her to put her ‘red dress’ close to her heart and she thinks he is ridiculing her, but this, in fact, becomes Ganesh.

Women helping laboring woman by holding her belly, supporting her.

This is another representation of the ‘field’—a miniature of a Tantric action of using the menstrual fluid of the woman to manifest or bring into existence his desired objective. You also see the baby in the field, another ‘manifestation’ of the female.

This image of a birth is wooden, taken from a Rath or temple chariot. Birth was a private affair, but also sacred and considered a part of life.

From a temple chariot—notice the position of the birthing woman is like the uthanpad position in Indian classical dance.

Another temple image of birth. It seems the baby is coming with the amniotic sac intact.

Giving birth by a privileged noble woman. In this miniature the woman on the right is ready to beat the drum both to stimulate the newborn and announce the birth. The midwife is attending, helping the baby out.

Bemata, a birth goddess, painted on a charpoy leg at the time of birth – from Rajasthan. She is responsible for helping the dai, guiding the birth energies—but also any problems.

A Rajasthani wall painting—the triangle evokes the female with emanation from the downward point like the yoni or vagina.

Chatti puja when the dai is recompensed for her services by the mother-in-law. Notice the twins, the large and dominant mother-in-law and the small dai (reflecting status in the society) in this madhubani painting.

This is one of a common sculpture, small in size, called Aditi Uthanpad or Lajja Gauri. It is not a birth image, but more refers to the power of manifestation, ability to produce form, inherent in the female body. She has no head because this is not a personal power individual.