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Posts Tagged ‘parvathi’

In the previous post we analysed the Sripuranthan Nataraja and raised definitive arguments for its comparison to the one in Australia. The post also raised questions on the other Nataraja - the Suthamalli one. To help you refresh your memory we take a look at the Idol wing release.

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Today we are going to further search for this bronze. The famed Nataraja of Suthamalli.

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This magnificent bronze has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, yet it was this crucial sculpture that helped to eventually crack the case as evidenced in this Hindu article.

Now the Idol wing put up these photos on its site sometime around 2009, a full 4 years after the theft. But we were quite surprised and filled with anguish when google returned us this March 2010 catalogue of the Art of Past gallery !!

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Exhibit 6

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Including macro closeup views of what appears to be the same bronze.

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A full year after the Idol wing put up the photos, the gallery published high resolution images of the same bronze and canvassed for sale. How can we be so sure it is the same bronze ? Its the same story of uniqueness of the lost wax process.

There are tell tale clues in the circle of flames in this bronze too - the circle is a modification over the Sripuranthan bronze and has a secondary ring. the shape of the inter weaning holes provides us the clues.

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There is also a unique design element combined with a dent on the same.

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The shape of the Lord’s twirling locks and the snake ornament are the same well - infact his locks are splendidly ornamented with different gems - if only we had a higher resolution photograph from the authorities !!

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As the Lord danced he twirled around and in this constant state of motion his adorning cloth is shown not only flying off but getting twisted on its own axis akin to how you would dry a wet towel - and the way the two ends of the cloth are attached are unique as well.

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So we can be sure without doubt that both are one and the same.

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There is a more specific clue which is already mentioned in the Hindu report, of an inscription sutavalli ( spelled with a tamil va instead of Ma for some reason) which is on the base pedestal. Since it is already discussed we do not dwell much on it but the old photo does not have this since it was taken prior to it being cleaned ! However, the above comparisons do prove without doubt that both are one and same. The inscription on the base however, is important , as we have reason to believe that all the bronzes of Sutamalli could have this on their bases - and hence have remained unsold ! The multitudes of prospective buyers who thronged the gallery are hence complicit in the crime !

A further argument on the above postulate will be explained in the next part of this series - where we look at what the catalogue described thus….” This is an extremely rare and important matched pair of the Shiva Nataraja and his consort, Uma Parameshvari. The divine couple have not only survived together as an original set, but also remain in complete states, with
their flaming prabhas and lotus pedestals.”

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In search of Uma Prameshvari….to be continued.

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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.

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We ran into quite a difficulty when we had to make out the minor forms especially the two figures found below the divine couple.

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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.

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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.

lalgudi

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.

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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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