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Archives by Month: February, 2009


Today we are going to see a very very interesting panel from Darasuram. Thanks again to Satheesh for the excellent camera work. This panel was a total shocker at first glance and there was no way i could have proceeded to identify it.

darasuram panel.jpg

Locating this panel itself is difficult - no one seems to even acknowledge their presence. We have already seen the other panel that is alongside - Sundarar resurrecting the boy from crocodile’s belly in a previous post.

sundarar splitting1
sundarar splitting kaveri

At first sight, it looked like someone was felling a tree or a structure in front of a temple and and it was falling on the temple! The man was actually not felling but maybe yelling and pointing towards the falling structure. The structure itself was a bit unique, and could find no parallel?. The second person depicted seemed to look like a King who was sculpted in a very pious pose.

Thankfully, with the help of Mr. N. Ganesan, who was kind enough to share an interesting paper of Prof. Marr, JR, titled “The Periya Puranam frieze at Taracuram: Episodes in the Lives of the Tamil Saiva Saints’ - we see that its a sculptural depiction of a very famous event in the life of Saint Sundarar.

The famous duo have quite a number of interesting legends among them - While on a pilgrimage, they pass through the temple town of Thirukandiyur and seeing the temple of Thiruvaiyaaru across the river, Cherman Perumal wishes to visit that temple as well. However, the river Cauvery is in spate. The flood is so great that boatmen have stopped plying - seeing the desire of his friend to see the Lord, Sundarar sings a series of heart rendering songs on shiva - hearing which the great river parts - allowing them a passage over her sandy bottom.

sundarar splitting kaveri 2

Now, see the panel - to the left ( as you view) is the Thirukadaiyur temple, Cherman Perumal even in his regal attire ( he was a Chera King) is full of devotion, while Sundarar cups his left hand so that his voice carries over the din of the river waters( see the waves depicted showing the spate) - and across is the holy temple at Thiruvaiyaaru.

A scene that instantly took me to back to Cecil De Mille ’s Ten Commandments - Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner…the famous parting of the Red Sea by Moses.

Parting Red Sea
charlton_heston_plays_moses

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Thanks for all your encouraging comments on the previous post on sittanavasal. Today we are going to see another special from Sittanavasal, sadly in total ruin. Viewers are advised caution as the last couple of photos may not be suitable for general viewing ! meaning to the uninitiated as it contains some nudity ( a bit more than a previous one).

Before i present this beautiful maiden, would like to clarify a few points. First of all what you are seeing is not a religious motif but more a piece of art, so please see it as an art form and appreciate it for its artistic beauty and intrinsic value . Appreciating Nude Art is quite a controversial subject but you got to keep in mind that this is not something new or recent. So please differentiate it from Pornography and vulgarity. Nude art has been there since time immemorial and finds pride of place in many cultures and not necessarily Indian art alone - you can find ample evidences in Greek, Roman civilisations as well. Its got nothing to do with the darker side and unfortunately not too many people differentiate between the two. Art is something that transcends the frontiers of mind / soul / heart /class/religion/ intellect - it defies logical reasoning, so much so that its a feeling - an emotion. Nude art thus is something that provokes emotional sensuality and not erotic sensuality. Seeing the human form in its pristine glory is a sublime feeling and the female form with its aesthetically pleasing curves is its finest expression.

That an artist had scaled to this peak one thousand years ago in sittanavasal leaves me spellbound. Now with this introduction, i take you on a tour to savor this bewitching beauty - who despite years of neglect, thanks to help from Ashok, chooses to dance before us once more.

As usual we start with some long shots to show you the location ( and damage}, slowly zooming in

sittanavaasal dancer3
sittanavasal dancer2
sittanavaasal dancer 23
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sittanavasal dancer 23456

I can hear you guys yelling, what is there? - remember the first post ! do you see the scratch marks - yes wanton vandalism, What was there….here she is

sittannavasal_dancer

adding some colors

artist impression

The youthfulness of her body, the graceful extension of her right arm slightly held up with the palm bent down, the lilting tilt of her head, the nonchalant smile, the bewitching eyes, the balance in her right hand, the slender waist - accentuating the euphoric feeling. The assortment of Ornaments, adding highlights without hiding the supple curves, leave you in raptures.

But that she is gone forever leaves you sick at heart, a tear drop forms in the corner of the eye, we have left this wonderful art to fade away…

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