Its been a while since the celebrations of Rajini starrer Shivaji - the boss have died down. But i noticed one very interesting feature in the opening song of the movie.
Sorry again but i am not digressing from sculpture…been quite some while since we went to my favorite - mallai. So today we are going back to see a very unique sculpture, not many notice, few even realise that it is so. We cant fault them for so great is this panel - that is the largest open air bas relief sculpture in the world , hey hang on, I know regular readers are already saying that we carried a full length intro on the mallai penance panel - we also did some interesting comparisons of the test panel nearby as well and drew some conclusions on what is being depicted. However, today we are going to zoom in on a very very unique depiction and end of it you will see the links between the song and this sculpture.
When i meant zooming in, i did mean it literally. So, fasten your seat belts as we zoom in on the central figure ( ok the figure next to the central figure or inbetween the two central figures). Cant figure out who i am talking about ?
Yes, today we are going to see this diminutive dwarf or goblin ( as many books call them) - faithful assistant of shiva, a very funny guy, right by the side of the boon giving Shiva. But did you notice something wierd in his belly!! Yes, its a tiger or lion face carved splendidly into his belly. Now do you get the reason for pulling in the song !
Back to hardcore sculpture - What does this signify, is it just the Pallava sculptor showing off his prowess carelessly - are there similar depictions of such belly faces. Thanks to kathie, I have another, which we will see in part 2 of this post plus part 3 holds a new belly face as well.
Btw, this belly face is called a Urdhva Muha ( terror face !)
How many times some of us have been past this panel and not noticed this. Next time i am sure when you visit such places, you would stare at the belly of every statue!!