Quantcast

Archives by Month: March, 2010

Great works of art catch the eye of many. There are numerous studies, research papers, coffee table books that are brought out, thousands of people take photographs of them and a google search would through up hundreds of links. But then there are some offbeat ones, which sit nestled in pristine surroundings, seemingly still lost in time, waiting to be discovered, for their time under the Sun - or do they prefer to remain like that - in total obscurity. But then, its the question of identity - the flutter in the heart, the mist in the eye, the shiver in the goosebumps - the pride of knowing the greatness of the land you hail from. Surely, we got to take better care of them and showcase their beauty for all to see.

Such was the experience for us, as we walked past eye catching greenery and acres of land which was a visual overdose, for these days you hardly get to see the horizon with the array of high rises, suddenly a small structure came into view.

kodumbalur+moovarkoil

This is Moovar Koyil - or three temples - but hold on, there are only two vimanas left but you do get to see the base remnants of the now lost three vimana. This little gem of a masterpiece of sculptural beauty is the work of Bhuti Vikramakesari - the Irukuvel chief of the Kodumbalur clan, along with his two queens and a monastry of Kalamuka ascetics. The Kodumbalur clan, were political allies of the Cholas for a long time and this particular king was a contemporary ( can i say fiduciary or subordinate) of Sundara Chola - Parantaka II ( i can see the eye brows going up for all Ponniyin selvan fans ..Yes it is he - the father of Raja Raja Chola)

From a distance, the site does tend to fall a bit short of your expectations. But hold your horses, even inch of space of this is a treat.

from+the+otherside

Maybe to highlight that this site aims to look at things differently, i am going to start this series on the moovar koil treasures, by showing a very tiny but equally interesting sculpture - bypassing the bigger and larger beauties. I do have a vested interest in doing so, for he is one of my cute cuddly favorites.

First, to show you where he is - he is part of the bootha regai ( line of Bootha or goblin freezes)

bootha+regai
location+of+our+friend

Lets step closer and see if you can spot my friend.

location+of+tigerbelly
the+vimana+from+rear

Ok, let me narrow your search range.

bootha+regais

Oh, such a cutie -showing off his belly art.

location+of+tigerbelly
there+is+our+friend

Did you spot him, yet

another+to+our+collection
moovarkoil+tiger+belly

He does look a bit grumpy today!!

The question to us is, the bootha regai runs through the entire length of that row around the vimana, and the other vimana as well. There are many bootha ganas depicted doing various acts and many times they are repeated, but this particular fellow is unique. We found him in the Great Penance Panel in Mahabalipuram, in Pullamangai, in Srinivasnallur and now here - always just only once in the site. What is his role and why the tiger face in the belly.

Hang on for the rest of the series, when we look at the `main’ beauties from moovar koil.

Leave a comment »

Ever since i laid my eyes on this masterly creation, its been a personal crusade to bring out its beauty for all to see. Its taken almost 10 years and was it worth the wait n effort that went into it. I do hope you will agree with me once you complete reading this post.

We are going to see today the truly remarkable sculpture of Shiva in his Urdhva Thandava pose.

how+its+exhibited+now

For starters, this is a pillar sculpture - meaning the entire composition is of a single piece of stone - the Kanaga sabhai with its collection of 8 such brilliant compositions was commissioned between 1625 CE and 1659 CE in the reign of Rajah Sivathiru Azhagaathiri Nayakkar.

so+difficult+to+truly+appreciate
the+rear+with+cage
the+steel+cage+cannot+appreiciate

Why all this effort, you might ask, for this pinnacle of artistic beauty, the very epitome of sculptural excellence, is lost to many - hidden behind a steel cage. I hope patrons who read this, could get together and maybe sponsor a glass casing instead of this ugly steel monster.

even+so+close+cant+appreciate
sadly+cant+appreciate+its+beauty
this+is+speciality+of+this+but+cant+notice

Its quite late for such a fantastic exhibition of stone work - considering the relatively lesser quality workmanship seen in the post chola, Pandya 13- 14th C CE - but, the sculptures here are proof that this art form survived and thrived till the 16th Century -possibly reaching its pinnacle in this very hall.

To visualise the true grandeur of this amazing structure, we are helped thankfully with a old plate from the British archives.

the+splendor+that+was

Thanks to varalaaru.com we also found this sketch by great artist Silpi.

perur

Now, that we have a macro view of this mind blowing composition, lets go closeup to view what it hides within itself. Place on record our sincere thanks to the temple EO, who after hours of convincing, felt our passion for this art and not only allowed us to photograph these gems but also opened the grill gates for us….we were in for a true feast - come partake in our pleasures.

shiva+urdhva+thandava+with+front+cage+open

This sculpture is unique in many aspects and to truly understand them we need to go closeup - mean real closeup - for , its said that Siva’s dance cannot be comprehended by lesser masters. It is only the great ones like Brahma, Bharata, Hari, Narada or Skanda who can understand or appreciate his dance.

An inscription on the cave temple at Saluvankuppam has a verse to elucidate not only the distinction of Siva’s dance, but also to enumerate the great celestial exponents of natya and sangita and their ability, as the right audience, to appreciate Siva’s dance: yadi na vidhata bharato yadi na harir narado na va skandha boddhum ka iva samarthas sangitam kalakalasya (Epigraph. Ind. 10, p. 12).
From the Book:
NATARAJA – THE LORD OF DANCE - Dr. Sivaramamurti

It is not only these great gods and goddesses, the creators each in his or her own important way, that are the witnesses to applaud the dance of Siva, but they enthusiastically also join in creating the orchestra for him, by playing the musical instruments. At the very sign of his brow, Vishnu takes up the drum mardala, which, with is noble rumbling notes, like the cloud inspiring the blue-throated peacock to dance, starts the musical sound. With his louts hand, Brahma takes up a pair of cymbals, ostensibly to keep time to the dance of the victor of Kama

the+speciality+of+this+unique
vishnu+on+drums

Whats so special here is the depiction of Brahma.

see+attributes+deer+axe+with+brahma
count+the+heads

He is shown here with 5 heads and is holding the attributes of Shiva - the Axe and the deer !!

Like a musician, who, during his song, stops for a while, and draws attention to the tala or the rhythm beat, Siva the great dancer, pauses for a while, to sound the drum himself in between, to show the correct adjustment when necessary

shiva+beating+the+drum

Another uniqueness in this sculpture - was tempted to use the word panel here, but then this is no panel - its a monolith for that matter, is the depiction of Karaikkal ammaiyaar.

karaikkal+ammai
masterly+karaikkal+ammai
notice+shrivelled+breasts+folds+in+the+throat

Such masterly depiction of the shriveled breasts, the loose folds of skin across the neck and throat - to show an old lady, prematurely aged - giving up her beauty to become a ghost. Read previous links for her !!

ofcourse, we do have a very chubby Muyalagan underneath his foot, cradling his snake.

a+very+healthy+muyalagan

Its becoming a long post, but its a crime to break it into two or three parts, for the beauty and charm of this piece of art is too sublime to be enjoyed in parts. I will try and use less descriptive words and more pictorial speech.

The face of a youthful shiva - complete with a double chin, the carved curves of the nostrils….

face+of+shiva+doublechin+nostrils

The beauty of the limbs - even to the detailing of the reverse kneecap. Oh, the fingers, lines, nails - cuticles…

beauty
notice+kneecap
detail+of+hand+fingers+nail

Another beautiful aspect to notice - the feet - the toes - top and bottom view, the ring of the sandal and on the other side, the grace of the inwardly turned hand and the delicate mudra of the thumb and forefinger !!

beauty2
oh+those+toes+feet
the+sandals+feet
toe+ring+sandal
see+the+sandal
see+the+sandal
the+palm+fingers+seems+to+be+holding+something

The row of arms on both sides are a sight to behold with the myriad of attributes.

the+hands
the+hands2

Such detailing in the hands and the attributes, some a quite unique and am yet to find their names and significance.

another+special+lady
deer+what
holding+fire+in+palm+notice+nails

Especially this one

check+what+is+in+his+hand
nandhi+banner

Normally would get some props to give our readers an idea of the scale of the composition - it would be a key for miniature panels and even went with the elephant for the big temple door guardian, but this natural prop blew me away.

finger+nails+mosquito
idea+on+size

Maybe, the skill of the sculptor fooled our winged friend who is blunting his fangs in vain to draw blood from this !!!

If you like what you have seen and would like future visitors not to be deprived of a chance to drink in this distilled essence of artistic brilliance, please pass on the word - to patrons who can raise funds and the cry - to change the grill to atleast a glass panel.

Leave a comment »

 Page 1 of 4  1  2  3  4 »