Archive for December 11th, 2008

Its been a while since the celebrations of Rajini starrer Shivaji - the boss have died down. But i noticed one very interesting feature in the opening song of the movie.


Sorry again but i am not digressing from sculpture…been quite some while since we went to my favorite - mallai. So today we are going back to see a very unique sculpture, not many notice, few even realise that it is so. We cant fault them for so great is this panel - that is the largest open air bas relief sculpture in the world , hey hang on, I know regular readers are already saying that we carried a full length intro on the mallai penance panel - we also did some interesting comparisons of the test panel nearby as well and drew some conclusions on what is being depicted. However, today we are going to zoom in on a very very unique depiction and end of it you will see the links between the song and this sculpture.

When i meant zooming in, i did mean it literally. So, fasten your seat belts as we zoom in on the central figure ( ok the figure next to the central figure or inbetween the two central figures). Cant figure out who i am talking about ?

mallai penance1.jpg
mallai penance 2.jpg
mallai penance 3.jpg
mallai penance 4.jpg
mallai penance 5.jpg
mallai penance 6.jpg
belly lion face.jpg

Yes, today we are going to see this diminutive dwarf or goblin ( as many books call them) - faithful assistant of shiva, a very funny guy, right by the side of the boon giving Shiva. But did you notice something wierd in his belly!! Yes, its a tiger or lion face carved splendidly into his belly. Now do you get the reason for pulling in the song !

tiger belly in rajini song.jpg
tiger in the belly.jpg

Back to hardcore sculpture - What does this signify, is it just the Pallava sculptor showing off his prowess carelessly - are there similar depictions of such belly faces. Thanks to kathie, I have another, which we will see in part 2 of this post plus part 3 holds a new belly face as well.

Btw, this belly face is called a Urdhva Muha ( terror face !)
How many times some of us have been past this panel and not noticed this. Next time i am sure when you visit such places, you would stare at the belly of every statue!!

mallai penance 44.jpg
mallai penance suplm 2.jpg
mallai penance suplm3.jpg
mallai penance suplmn 4.jpg

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