The previous post on the chola bronze in the Singapore museum, evinced lot of interest. Lots of freinds were eager to know about how the statue got there etc. Its true that most Museums around the globe have chola bronzes in their collections. Its a tribute to the master craftsmen for their endurance and also to many devoted people who helped to hide, bury these beauties deep into the ground ( there is a prescribed manner how this is to be done, during bad times)
Lots of times, these masterpieces take the wrong routes ending up in private collections and exhibits, the most famous one being the London Natraja case, where Dr. Nagaswamy expertly argued the case, stunning the world with his knowledge of chola bronzes and ensuring that the statue returned to home soil
OK, all that is fine, but what are we doing to the many splendid works of art that languish in India. Many are in dark cellars inside our museums, as hardly anyone visits them anymore, except the tourist and one off school educational tours. Much less can be said about them in their original residences. These are from xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx temple , pictures from Sri. Chandra of REACH Foundation:
The great poet Bharathi, immortalised by his divine compositions wrote thus…
O! Sivasakthi, the supreme creator of the Universe
You made me with sharp intellect and charm
But then, will you keep me in helpless poverty?
Will anybody throw a beautiful harp out on the street?
( tks to Dr Kannan of Min tamil for the extempore translation)
How true !!
Two amazingly beautiful 13th C chola bronzes, an impeccable Nataraja - who is all movement, grace - for he is Lord of destruction, but does it warrant keeping him amidst all this filth. The next is a sublime Shiva, if the previous form was all fluid motion, this is calm benevolence. Both left to contemplate on their plight on the ground, with white ants for company.
Do we realise our rich heritage?
( Sadly, the location xxxxxxxxxxxx out for safety reasons)