Posts Tagged ‘Hanuman’

What an interesting exchange on the previous post ! forced me to put this part 2 of that debate.

Lets take a look at the sculpture under question again

Hanuman somnathpur with vishnu attributes and bana lingam
bana lingam
closeup of hanuman
face of hanuman
left hand holding the conch
right hand holding the discus

Is the sculpture indeed that of Hanuman holding the Bana l

Arguments for:

The Bana lingam legend, the facial features.

Arguments against

No tail, presence of two ladies on both sides, presence of Vishnu’s attributes ( but this is not a clear case as Cheenu’s rightly pointed out there are instances !)

What other sculptures could it represent

Macha Avatar

But there is a matcha ( fish) avatar sculpture right next to this sculpture.

Somnathpur - Matsya

We had arguments for this image as well, but the depiction of the eyes and the typical mouth kind of settled the issue.

Lets see them in closeup again ( thanks Arvind once again)

face of fish, notice the eyes
macha avatar closeup

Compare this macha avatar with the earlier sculpture, both can’t be the same for sure.

Varaha Avatar - Vishnu

A Definite possibility. Lets take a front depiction of Varaha from Ahobilam to compare.

ahobilam varaha side
ahobilam varaham

The depiction of a spherical ( ok egg shaped) earth is not found in sculptures even upto 200 years after this representation. Take a look again, its too defined a sculpture for an artist to err in the shape ( for the finesse in carving the conch and the discus).

bana lingam
left hand holding the conch
right hand holding the discus

While, its definitely a case in point to the two ladies. We see all the avatars and even Brahma sporting such attendants or consorts.

brahma somnathpur

Now, we come to this interesting sculpture. its Kurma ( Turtle) Avatar

Somnathpur - could be kurma

Lets study its features more closely

Kurma avatar
kurma avatar closeup
kurma face

There are some legends related with Vishnu seeking Shiva’s help ( Kachbeshwarar form). But is this and the original sculpture similar. Lets study the face features once more side by side.

face comparison

Well definitely not the same - clear from the eyes especially. I tend to side the argument for Hanuman more based on these.

An interesting sculpture and how a little bit of vandalism can lead to confusions, yet some tell tale signs help assist in proper identification.

another mystery image

Hey,who is this. Except for the face, everything is Ganesha. But the face …Hmm, lets take a closer look

closeup of mystery image showing all atrributes of ganesha

Stumped you. Well dont rake your brains yet, is this a composite Ganesha combined with Varaha / Hayagreevar ….

its our Ganesha only

No my friends, take a closer look at the top left ( of the sculpture)

the piece of the trunk holding a modhakam

Its the broken trunk, with the tip holding his favorite modhakam. Just a case of part of the trunk being broken !! Its our darling Ganesha only.

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Friends, when we first introduced the chat widget in the site, it was more a tool to encourage more readers to participate ( since some were shy of leaving comments). Am sharing a interesting sculpture chat with a interesting follower of our site concerning some really confusing aka interesting sculptures and statues, and has the potential to raise a few eyebrows. So please feel free to share your comments and thoughts.

Name withheld to protect identity

voice 1: Hey, i came across your post on somnathpur in which you direct to another site for this photo


vj: sorry, which one please and may i know who i am chatting with ?

v1: Well i am ##### and am studying sculpture @…….. I am talking of the Hanuman holding the Bana Lingam sculpture from Somanthpur.

vj: Oh, Nice to hear. Yes, that one - was an interesting sculpture of Anand and he put this below note in his site.

Hanuman somnathpur with vishnu attributes and bana lingam

A creative sculpture showing Hanuman with the baana lingam in his hand. He was asked to bring a shiva linga from the himalayas by Rama when they had to perform a pooja at Rameshwaram to clear the brahmahaththi dosham which had been caused due to killing of Ravana(a brahmin). Since it took a long time to get one and the auspicious time was nearing Rama and Sita devi made a lingam out of sand and started the pooja. When Anjaneya arrived he was sad to see that his efforts were fruitless. So lord Rama granted him a boon that thereafter, the lingam brought by Hanuman would be worshipped first and then only the bhaktas should worship his shivalingam. Thus there are 2 lingams in Rameshwaram till today and pooja is performed as directed by Lord Rama.”

v1: But as per my teacher, this sculpture is still a puzzle and cannot be clearly identified.

vj: Is it the Hanuman or the Lingam that he is holding. Take a look again at both ( Thanks Arvind for the closeups)

bana lingam
face of hanuman

v1: Well, the confusion i think is due to the fact that he is holding the Conch and Discus.

closeup of hanuman
left hand holding the conch
right hand holding the discus

vj: Why, its not uncommon to depict such.

v1: Is it so.

vj: Ok, let me ask you this way, have you been to the bronze exhibits at the chennai museum.

v1: Well not yet, we are going to study bronzes next.

vj: Ok, take a look at this bronze, Nandhi. ( thanks to flickr url given)


nandhi chennai museum bronze sporting shiva attributes

v1: Well, i understand what you are trying to say.

vj: But, let me confuse you more. Take a look at this stone sculpture from the Tanjore Big temple. ( thanks to arvind again !!)

hanuman in big temple sporting shiva attributes

v1: Oh, thats a stiff one.

vj: Yes, why is Hanuman shown as carrying the attributes of Shiva.

v1: You are not answering my question but posing more

vj: Ok, let me attempt to answer yours. Firstly, is the Somnathpur Sculpture Hanuman. Secondly, the legend of Hanuman bringing the Bana Lingam is popular and wouldn’t want to go into justifying legends.Thirdly, can vehicles or mounts carry attributes - Well you see Nandhi with the attributes of Shiva. Lastly, Hanuman is sung as a Avatar of Shiva and hence he is shown with his attributes !!

v1: Hmm, let me try explaining this to my teacher.

vj: Please note, we are novices with no formal training in art or sculpture. Just trying to explain and reason out with the information we have on hand. Dont get into trouble with your teacher arguing based on ours !!!

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