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Statue of Dhanvantari, India, 2005

Dhanvantari is the Hindu god of medicine and physician to the gods. Followers believe that he revealed the secrets of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is a medical tradition with roots in the Indian subcontinent, but its influence has spread to other parts of the world. The name Ayurveda comes from ayus (“life”) and veda (“knowledge or science”), indicating that Ayurveda incorporates a whole way of living. The plaster and painted statue shows him clasping a white bottle filled with the elixir of life, which he was carrying when he emerged from the celestial ocean. Although there are strong links to Hinduism, practitioners of Ayurveda medicine now come from a variety of religious backgrounds.

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Glossary: statue

A sculpture in the round representing human or animal figures or small figure groups; a statuette is a smaller sculpture.

Glossary: Ayurveda

An Indian medical tradition. Literally translated it means ‘Life Science’ and promotes mental and physical health through balancing biological elements. Ayurveda focuses on exercise, massage, yoga and meditation.