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Posts Tagged ‘brahma’

Friends, today we have a special guest post. Very pleased to have Mr Pradeep Chakravarthy , we have already seen a review of his book on Temple Vahanas

He has also authored a very successful book Thanjavur A Cultural History - - , and we will surely see more from this amazing person. I had requested him to do a guest post and we hope this is only the start of an insightful series. Over to him now.

Tirumeyyam is a well known pilgrim spot not very far off from Madurai. I wrote about it in The Hindu a long time back and have always visited it when possible.

Sayana+perumal.jpg

After reading Vijay’s posts on sculptures that bear a message of how the sculptor conceived movement and drama, I took a closer look at the stupendous moolavar – more than 10 feet and carved out of a cave. The additions are from the 7th century by Perumpidugu Perundevi a Muttaraiar chieftain’s mother. The structural temple temple complex built around this cave is from the 12th century and later.

Thanks to Ashok for splendid feat to capture the entire scene ( digitally removing the pillars - this is copyrighted work)

Tirumaiyam_Anantasayanam

The scene is of Perumal reclining in the coils of Adisesha with Brahma emerging from his navel.

brahma+emerging+from+navel+on+lotus

In this case, like the Gupta images, the sculptor has chosen a free style in showing the coils, not neat and arranged like in other temples. Already there is drama and movement –

The action in the scene is Adisesha spewing forth venom shown as streaks of fire that move towards your right.

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venom+shown+as+streaks+of+fire1

The heads of the serpent are backwards, as if they have just recoiled from one attack.

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recoiling+heads+of+sesha

Just in case you missed the direction, scores of divine nityasoories are all flying to the right. Just above the Lord’s face, the sculptor has left a natural indentation, this is possibly to indicate that the flying figures are much higher than you think and to remind you that even when they are flying, they are keeping their legs away from the face of the lord.

celestials

To the extreme left is Chitragupta and Garuda who some scholars think is actually the king who commissioned this image.

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Garuda+extreme+left+as+you+see1

Another cleft in the rock indicates a substantial distance between the deity and the two asuras

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The asuras are a little slanted to give us a clue that they eventually bite the dust

The temple is one of the few Vaishnavaite cave temples still in active worship and a modified image of this theme can be seen in Mahabalipuram as well.

As part of the relief there is a depiction a deer headed person next to Brahma - who could he be?

deer+head

Photo Credits : Flickr : lomaDI, Prof Swaminathan and http://senkottaisriram.blogspot.com/2008/04/thirumayam-near-pudukkoottai-tamil-nadu.html

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Its been an amazing journey taking our readers through the last couple of posts, as we are treated to ring side seats to this delightful recreation of a lost pallava painting, from the Kanchi Kailasantha temple of Sri Rajasimha Pallava ( 700 CE !!), moving with the artist stage by stage.

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We had started of by blocking in most of what we could salvage from the surviving pieces and started working on filling the finer details. The main hero of this panel comes up now. Shiva.

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Next Umai, takes form.

umai+face

Working on the divine mother a bit more. We notice that she is wearing a thin yellowish blouse or has applied turmeric on her upper torso.

umai+blouse
umai+color

The coloring starts now, with very light skin tones.

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Shiva gets his color including his famous Neelakanta !

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Umai matches her beloved now.

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umai+coloring
umais enhanced figure

Lets see how they both pair up.

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Its coming up quite well. lets add more color and fill in the details of Shiva’s Keyuras ( arm bands)

shiva+keyura+arm+ornaments
shiva+neelakanta

The bottom ganas and stands get colored up.

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and as we approach the final stages of the composition, time for a quick stock taking. Have we missed any detail.

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We forgot to correct the hands of Brahma, to be in the anjali pose.

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This is where we go back to the origins of this study on Somaskanda evolution - the 1971 article of Dr Gift Siromoney.

http://www.cmi.ac.in/gift/Archeaology/arch_somaskanda.htm

“Of Siva’s four arms, his lower right arm is extended horizontally to the side with his hand in the position of holding something, such as a flower, though no object is actually shown. With his upper right hand he holds a snake by its tail. His lower left hand is in the ardha-dhyana mudra. His upper left hand is near his shoulder as though holding a rosary or akshamala. Siva’s left leg is down.”

This is ofcourse his reference to the early pre Rajasimha Style somaskanda sculptures. But there is no reference to the snake in the Rajasimha style Somaskanda. But his pointer made us search for the snake in more detail.

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Do we see something in the lower right hand?

snake+detail

Do you see the raised hood of a beautiful Cobra. We incorporate it into ours.

snake+on+hand

and without further delay, with many thanks to the artist Mrs. Subhashini Balasubramanian and our young photographer jagadeesh, we have our recreation of the 8th Century lost wonder.

Somaskanda+Complete

We hope you all enjoyed this attempt ( any mistakes are purely unintentional and we are open to comments)

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