Archive for September 22nd, 2009

Thanks to a chance visit to the local museum along with Sakthis, we are seeing an amazing Chola stone sculpture - Vishnu. Working with granite is a true test for a sculptor, to bring out the soft benevolent grace of Vishnu into the hard stone - working with a iron chisel shaping his supple cheeks, hammering away at his immaculate ornaments, it must have been so fulfilling to him to come out successful in this test of his skill with zero place for error.

vishnu stone acm sin

Sadly, this museum exhibit has been subjected to some deliberate acts of vandalism - a nose cut would be inappropriate to use here, but such stone sculptures would have had to be scrapped and not suitable for worship !! Its a painful realisation of human need and greed , a human hand created such a thing of beauty while another destroyed it, Gold, God and Glory are indeed engines of great motivation and destruction.

Letting aside the disfigurement, the beauty of this sculpture doesn’t shed its secrets easily to a casual viewer. Leonardo da Vinci apparently said that ” There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see”


What is there to see in this sculpture. Not wanting to go into too much depth, will take a perfect ( to be read as non disfigured one) later to discuss the different aspects.

One is his brilliant lion motif belt buckle.

lion belt buckle

The other is more interesting and one which we studied in the bronze cast figures. The Mole - srivatsam being represented here as a triangular projection.

chola vishnu stone

The sculptor took great care to depict this, for you have to watch a stone worker work to chip away with his chisel removing layer upon layer to create this effect or projection in stone.

closeup of srivatsam

Can we study this in comparison to the bronze and maybe check in other collections and see how this mark evolved!!

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