Part 1 of this post exposed how the provenance for this fantastic bronze was erased and she was auctioned for a million dollars.
We had seen the reference in the 1944 article Gauri, A Southern Bronze, By K. B. IYER - where he specifically mentions “One of such pieces is Gauri from the Kailasanath temple, Conjeeveram, now in the collection of Ramgopal, the well-known dancer.”
Today we bring forth more research into her origins - for a 1915 publication - Sri O.C. Ganguly’s South Indian Bronzes.
Here is the great man himself and a short bio
Here are the references to the bronze from the book.
From the above it is clear that the Bronze was very much in the Kailasantha temple atleast till 1915 and inbetween 1915 n 1944 it somehow moved into the possession of famous dancer Sri Ram Gopal OBE and was with him at least till 1944.
This post may not provide any conclusive evidence to seek restitution of the bronze but atleast it gives her a past and a home town - The Gauri of the Kanchi Kailasantha Temple and not just ” A large and important bronze figure of Parvati”
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The internet is a definite boon for armchair researchers like me !! Quite often we do stumble on some unique puzzles in our quest to decipher the work of the ancients. One such task was to recreate the lost paintings of the Kanchi Kailasanatha temple.
We ran into quite a difficulty when we had to make out the minor forms especially the two figures found below the divine couple.
We wanted to be as true as possible to the original - but it was interesting to note that these two ganas - a male and a female dwarfs were in the scene at the first instance.
Possibly the first instance of a lady dwarf gana - an assistant to Parvati maybe?
Their iconographic significance was soon lost or so we thought, until Arvind shared this album of his capture of the beauties of Lalgudi
Though our main pursuit was in the narrative panels in the miniatures, there was one particular relief - dimly lit which had vague familiarity in it.
It was a relief of the divine parents albiet sans the skanda seated in the familiar posture - with a kneeling devotee on the right, two more on the top right and two more top left. Can you spot any attributes to assign them as Brahma n vishnu? Not clear. But the familiarity scene was played out at the bottom of the throne.
it would be difficult to date this panel as it does not fall in the early chola 9th-10th C CE scheme of narrative story boards. However, it is interesting that the sculptor chose to sculpt this dwarf couple in the same layout and postures.
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