Posts Tagged ‘Penance’

There are many wonderful and awe inspiring sculptures in Perur. But as we saw in the previous post, there was this seemingly innocuous looking pillar sculpture, which we would have totally missed, if not for the genius in Sri Padmavasan.


Many people would have passed this sculpture without even batting an eyelid, and to be honest despite our heightened mortar skills, we too missed to even spend the few seconds to capture it on camera. The subsequent trouble we went through to secure the images, is a lesson for us, not to take any sculpture or artist lightly.

Padmavasan sir, showed me his sketch of this pillar and started explaining its uniqueness.


Lets see if we can make out some basic features from the sculpture first.


Obviously, its an ascetic in deep meditation. Perched on one leg, but there are few signs which help us to identify him


A bow on his shoulder and the boar, show us that its Arjuna, the penance to get the Pasupathaastra from Shiva.


The craftsmen’s mastery in handling the relief in the bow is simply astounding. Take a look at this angle.


But, the uniqueness of this relief sculpture is in the way the sculptor has portrayed the intensity of Arjuna’s penance. How?


Do you notice anything different. Let me give you a clue. Normally the sculptor would strictly adhere to framing guidelines - but in this frame the foot seems to extend slightly out of the lower frame. Why?


Try to spot something under the big toe !! Maybe sir’s sketch can help us take notice.


Yes, he is doing penance on a needle point. Thanks to Praveen for capturing the different angles to truly appreciate the greatness of the sculpture. No better way to explain than this angle.


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As soon as Cheenu saw this post, he remarked the close resemblance to the Tripurantaka Shiva of Vizinjam to the Mallai penance panel Shiva. The ear rings and the facial features are remarkably similar. Let see both of them side by side and try to spot the similarities.

Mallai shiva closeup.JPG
mallai penance panel shiva.jpg
mallai penance panel.jpg
mallai shiva.JPG
vizhinjam tripurantaka.jpg
vizhinjam shiva.JPG
Mallai shiva closeup.JPG
mallai penance panel shiva.jpg
vizhinjam shiva.JPG

I did this screen grab from the video of vizinjam - the scratch marks were too familiar. This must have been the way rock was scraped away to cut the caves. Yes, had seen the same in the Govardhana panel in mallai - just by the panel - behind the amazing seated bull ( to the extreme right - at an elevated height)

mallai govardhana panel scratch marks.jpg
mallai govardhana scratches closeup.JPG
rock smoothening - vizhinjam.JPG

The styling is the same, the methods seem to be the same. So the Verdict?

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