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Posts Tagged ‘kanchipuram’

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.

shiva+face1

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.

coloring+started

Shiva gets his color including his famous Neelakanta !

finalising+shiva

Umai matches her beloved now.

umai+face+final
umai+coloring
umais enhanced figure

Lets see how they both pair up.

composition+brahmapose+to+change

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.

throne+color

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

coloring+the+composition

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

redo+brahma.jpg

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.

notice+siva+lower+right+hand

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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Its so nice to receive such wonderful feedback from all readers, believe me it was as interesting and thoroughly enjoyable to me and the artist Mrs. Subhashini Balasubrmanian, as it has been to you, to finally be able to fulfill a long pending and cherish dream, of seeing this beautiful panel in one piece. But then, we wanted to share with you the journey of our recreation process, so that you also learn want we learn’t working on this assignment.

Thankfully, a lot of finer detail was made available to us by Jagadeesh’s high resolution photos of the four remaining panels of the Kanchi Kailasantha Somaskanda Pantings. We once again thank him for his timely support.

Having done the general composition of the panel, we returned to study the panels at more depth to figure out the gana and the attendant. The Gana was tough, as only a part of his face was available in one of the panels, so we had to do the rest from a bit of artistic license.

gana

The lady attendant and the details of the beautiful saree pattern of Umai came to us from the panel.

umai+dress+details+lady+attendant
sketch+umai+dress+lady+attendant

The next was the question of the pitcher or vase, though not there in any of panels - for all the panels have peeled off - we do not have any reference to this portion in the panels, people following the thread on Somaskanda Evolution would have found the small pitcher being a permanent feature in all of Rajasimha’s Somaskanda Panels. Take for example this somaskanda from the Mallai shore temple, though the gana and attendant are not there for sure, we do get to see this prominent pitcher / vase.

shoretemple+somaskanda+vase

So, the vase finds its place in our recreation as well.

gana+lady+attendant+vase

The next ofcourse was Brahma. Only one of the panels, has a outline of Brahma.

brahma+outline

Depending on this, showing the side faces of Brahma was a bit tricky. So we decided to take inspiration from the splendor of Pullamangai temple.

pullamangai+brahma+as+guide

and fashioned our Brahma. ( the lower hands must be changed to anjali - praying posture - we should do it soon)

brahma+showing+the+faces

Thankfully, Vishnu was pretty straight forward with one of the panel surviving completely giving us a shot at the magnificence of the Pallava artist.

vishnu
sketch+vishnu

So the next question before us was Skanda.

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shaping+up.jpg

We needed to get upclose to see if we could spot the features of baby Skanda, it was very important, for isn’t he the most beautiful of Gods and imagine his as a small baby.

skanda
skanda2
sketch+skanda
sketch+skanda2

While, we were looking at the closeups, we realised that the Throne did not have lion motifs as had envisioned them, but were just decorative patterns.

no+lion+legs
normal+legs+throne

Now, to get Umai’s face, headdress and posture correct.

umai+face.jpg
sketch+umai+face

Shiva, was especially tough, the toughest being the Hand mudras, ( we were helped by a small note - but we will see that in the concluding part of this series). Take for eg, his upper right hand.

shiva+hand+mudras1

The Makuda of Shiva, was especially tough one, as we wanted to get as close as possible to the original.

detail+shiva+makuda
detail+shiva+makuda2
detail+shiva+makuda3
shiva+face+makuda
shiva+face+makuda2

There was this particular design on the head dress, that was very vaguely familiar, but searching for it in sculpture and paintings, finally stuck pay dirt in Dr R. Nagasamy sir’s Masterpieces of South Indian Bronzes. This Pallava bronze, had a very unique twin makara clasps.

twin+makara+illustrated
twin+makara+makuda+clasp

So,we could add that authentic detail into our sketch as well.

shiva+crown+detail

and here we have arrived at a basic prototype, to further iterate and work on adding embellishments.

whole+composition

I am sure, all of your are eager to see the finished color version, but that will be in the third and concluding part of this series.

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