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Archives by Month: June, 2013

There are some sculptures that imprint themselves into your memory - this androgyne was one such. From the moment i chanced on the picture of him/her i could never take my eyes of the beauty of this sculpture.

vridhagirisvarar vriddachalam

I had used it to show the refinement of the Ardhanari image post - little did I realise then that the beauty had been robbed !!

Readers must have read the post on the Sivapuram Somaskanda and it was with great interest that i read today’s Hindu article of the Australia Nataraja. Interestingly there was a mention of the site Chasing Aphrodite in the article as source for the images. One led to another and the detailed article and the Ardhanari begun to haunt me - vaguely familiar !!

220.2004##S

It is quite interesting that the Museum records show the following proofs for its Provenance

aradhanareshwara-prov
ardhanarishvara-receipt

Quote: Ardhanarishvara

In 2004, the Gallery purchased this Chola-period sculpture from Kapoor for more than $300,000. The 44-inch stone figure represents Ardhanarishvara, the androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati. It comes from Tamil Nadu, home to some 2500 important temples to Shiva. The image of Ardhanarishvara was likely in a niche on an external wall.

Kapoor provided two documents with the sculpture.

One is a receipt dated 1970, purportedly from Uttam Singh and Sons, the Delhi “copper and brass palace” that sold the sculpture to a private collector.

The second document purports to be a 2003 “Letter of Provenance” on letterhead from Art of the Past, Kapoor’s Madison Ave. gallery. It is signed by “Raj Mehgoub,” who claims to be the wife of a diplomat who lived in Delhi from 1968 to 1971.”

I ran back to my collections to trace the source of my reference.

Early Cola Architecture and Sculpture
; 866-1014 A.D.
Douglas E. Barrett - Published in 1974 !! intact in its Kosta in the temple !

and there in his plates is the same Kosta sculpture.

in_temple

It is pretty clear even for a layman from the slab’s outline and the detailing in the sculpture as to the origin. I hope the authorities would be able to get their act together now and work towards bringing this invaluable treasure back to the Temple.

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Ever since i visited the Ho Chi Minh Museum and got bitten and smitten by the beauty of Cham art - the ruins of MySon ( in central vietnam) and the Danang Museum of Cham sculpture had steadily crept up to the top of the charts of my bucket list. The checkbox got ticked off recently and what a weekend it turned out to be.

Wanting to beat the heat and the tourists (!!) and hoping to catch the early rays of the Sun amidst the sacred valley of My Son - kept the alarm for 4.30 AM start ( stayed at Hoi An instead of Danang - which is closer to My Son) - Sadly being peak summer the sun was already up by the time we arrived at the beautifully manicured lawns of the newly opened site museum, just before the short drive up the hills. Vehicles are not allowed nearer to the ruins and a steady 5 min walk gets you the first look.

Myson

But you will have to wait a bit longer for a detailed post on MySon persay as i am still reading and classifying my images. However, as an interesting start I choose this fanstastic Tymphanum which sadly has been left on the floor of one of the standing towers of MySon - i think it will be moved shortly down to the site Museum. At first glance am not sure how many visitors would understand the panel ( no labels as well).

tymphanum

Yes, it is a very intricately carved Ravana Anugraha murthy - should be dated to the 10th C CE i think. Surprisingly there is not much literature available on this particular beauty. A chance search made available this reference though and what a reference it turned out to be

Champa and the Archaeology of Mỹ Sơn (Vietnam)

ravana

The label in the book reads as : Tympanum depicting Ravana shaking Mt. Kailash. Recovered at My Son. Present location unknown ( photograph Musee Guimet Archive, undated)

Thanks to our gifted artist Muralidharan - he agreed to sketch it for better study. Clearly the panel has suffered further damage with the lower torso of ravana completely damaged as it stands now !.

_MG_7769p1s

It is interesting to note that Ganesha is seen prominently along with Nandhi in the panel. Remember the one we discussed earlier from Cambodia also has Ganesha seated.

ganesha

There are many unique things in this panel - one of course is the depiction of a Vimana / tower / temple - classically modeled. There is a large elephant below it and also what seems like a forest complete with animals inside caves.

vimana

The beauty of this panel is in the portryal of Ravana’s massive arms - interestingly they seem to be trying to juxtapose two different poses for his legs - thereby coming with three legs.

ravana+shiva
tymphanum

That Ravana is facing into the panel takes up the difficulty quotient and there is a tendency to compare it with the panel in Ellora

But the masterstroke here is how the sculptor has chosen to depict the heads of Ravana.

heads+ravana

Is a stunning solution to a complex problem one which i feel even the master Pallava sculptors of Rajasimha Pallava could not conquer in the Mallai Olakkaneshwara Panel.

Hats off to the master sculptors of Cham for creating this dynamic beauty. Just as i was to complete the post, Murali sends across his completed sketch or should i say masterpiece ! Art lives on.

RavanaP1s

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