Bastar tribal sculpture – symbol of immortality and integral part of the Mumbai hotel’s art collection

[…] But the most emotional escape is that of the `Tree of Life’, a six-foot-tall metal Bastar tribal sculpture made of brass, bronze and alloy casting. It is an integral part of the hotel’s art collection, and originally stood on the fifth floor in the grand staircase area, under the dome. A little more than a fortnight ago, it stood in the lobby near the all-familiar red and beige dome that went up in flames a few hours after the terrorists barged in. The entire area was gutted, walls were charred, ceilings were dented, furniture reduced to ashes, but this piece of art was left unscathed. In many ways, the Tree of Life, which is a powerful symbol of immortality in many cultures, survived.

“It was fully covered in soot when we discovered it, as soon as we were allowed to enter the hotel. That’s when we found our memento, which symbolises the spirit of the Taj and the rest of Mumbai,” said Kumar. On Sunday, it was grandly displayed near the waterfall in the main lobby, and thousands of distinguished guests paid homage to it. The `Tree of Life’ stood between two other brass plates, one inscribed with the names of those who had laid down their lives in the terror attack, and another inscribed with an inspiring tribute them.

The Tree of Life is the most ancient cross cultural symbolic representation of the universe’s construction. It can be seen to dwell in three words- a link between earth, heaven and the other world. It is the perfect symbol of salutation to those who laid down their lives on November 26,” read the plate put on display.

The hotel management has decided to hold annual tribute before the sculpture to commemorate the dead.

Source: Almost all of Taj’s art safe, remaining can be restored – The Times of India 22 December 2008
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Date Visited: 28 October 2020

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The natural wealth with which much of tribal India is endowed is also its bane. […] The Adivasi is wedged between the state programme for development, meaning mines, dams, steel plants and roads, and a private agenda for quick money, which is currently termed ‘real estate’.

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