Baby Muruga is scared of Shiva- Pullamangai

Today we are going to see a fantastic miniature sculpture from Pullamangai ( Thanks chandra for the photo – more to come of yours shortly) – There is an equally majestic sculpture in tanjore museum – which is my favorite as well, which i fondly refer to as stone monalisa, but we will see that in a subsequent post. Am actually redoing this post, with further photos from Satheesh. We are in a real treat.

In order to truly appreciate this miniature, you got to understand the size of this creation and its location. We see the size at the end, just leaving it with ` miniature’ for now.

Well, need to use some software to brighten it up a bit and closeup for you.

Ok, recap the legend first.

Once upon a time there lived a demon called Gajamuhasura. As all demons are, he was cruel and ill treated all the good incl the devotees of shiva. Lord Shiva enraged at this decided to put an end to this and with his trident had a furious battle with the elephant bodied demon. The battle was so fierce and intense that Shiva was filled with rage and he caught the head of the elephant, crushed it with his foot and skinned him right there and wore it as his garment.

Now for the beauty – can you spot the characters – ofcourse Shiva – in his majestic, dynamic grace, almost dancing into the elephant hide – you can spot the elephant’s head way down to the left of the sculpture ( as you see it), under shiva’s trident – next to the shiva gana – who is up to his useful pranks – showing faces at the fallen asura. Amazing little characters these Ganas.

You can see shiva’s torso twisted in his effort to wrest the skin and is holding it like a blanket around him.

way down to the right, you can see his consort Parvati wanting nothing of this and rushing away, for she is scared and more scared is the young skanda – the portrayal of the baby is the master stroke of this sculpture – he wants to jump into the waiting hands of the lady helper, away from all this fearsome action …

Thats all the canvas that this master sculpture needed to sculpt this amazing microcosm of myriad emotions …Hats off for this splendid miniature. Well, did i say miniature?

12 thoughts on “Baby Muruga is scared of Shiva- Pullamangai

  1. மிக அருமை !
    தேவாரப்பாடலை அப்படியே படம் பிடித்துக் காட்டுகிறது.
    வழுவூர் ஆலயத்தின் கஜ ஸம்ஹார மூர்த்தியின் செப்புப் படிமமும் ஓர் அற்புதப் படைப்பு.
    கஜ ஸம்ஹார மூர்த்தங்கள் அனைத்தையும் ஒரு தொகுப்பாக
    அமைக்கலாம், குறிப்புகளுடன்.


  2. Wonderful article dear VJ. You describe the elephant demon as Gajamuhasura. A similar sculpture is also found in the Chalukya cave temples at Aihole/Pattadakal belt. There is also at the Hoysaleswara temple at Halebidu, one aspect of Shiva slaying the elephant demon (tearing his skin into thin belt strings). In those sculptures the elephant demon is called Andhaka (Andhagan in Tamil). Of course, the Chalukya and Hoysala idioms in terms of source (Sanskrit/Vedic literature) is pretty common with religious figures having the same name, while in Tamizhagam there are variations.

    So would the Gajamuhasuran be the same as Andhaka or Andhagan? Or am I mistaken?

  3. Hi Cheenu,

    Adhaka is different – he is actually one way an ofspring ( indirect of shiva/shakthi)and totally blind – and he was speared by shiva in a very interesting circumstance. lovely sculpture of this exists in Ellora – will post shortly with verse reference.


  4. அருமை விஜெ, இந்த ஓவியங்களைப் பார்த்திருக்கேன், ஆனால் சிற்ப வடிவில் இப்போத் தான் பார்க்கிறேன், அருமையான சிற்பம் சிற்பியின் கற்பனைக்கு எல்லையே இல்லை.

  5. Yes, VJ. Re-visited this article and again read it to my heart’s content. Great, Great sculpture. It sure is a very old, one of the earliest Medieval Chola Sculpture belonging to the Vijayalaya or Aditya I reigns. Considering these sculptures were made between (I think 880-950 A.D.), meaning they are nearly 1100 years old, they sheer details, imagination of these sculptures as well as the work of the sculptors themselves makes them ageless and immortal. Don’t they?

    Of course, you have been doing a yeoman service in spreading awareness of the great arts of India. I hope adequate maintenance of these ageless sculptures, especially at Pullamangai is being done for the sake of posterity.

    Thanks for all your work VJ.


    • hi virutcham

      pullamangai is a treasure trove. i guess the story telling started with my grandma and then onwards with ACK…( amar chitra katha)


  6. அற்புதம் சிற்பியின் கலை திறன் வியக்க வைக்கிறது

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