Tracking the evolution of the Pallava Somaskanda – Part 1

Friends, thanks for following the posts and offering your encouraging words. Please note these are not thoroughly researched or expert opinions, but merely our path of learning which we are sharing with you. We do not want to say that this is correct, but this sharing is more to inspire many more to walk this path. We try and take care to make sure that we do not publish something that is grossly wrong, but if and when mistakes or another reading is there, we encourage readers to enlighten us as well. Why this long disclaimer for this post, you may ask, well the post is like that.

Today, we are to see part one of a series on the evolution of the Pallava Somaskanda icon. At the outset, we offer our thanks to Dr Gift, whose online resource is heavily relied on in this series.

This series is aimed at asking questions and find simple yet logical solutions, but the puzzle is indeed big. So without scaring you away, lets jump into the introduction of this series. The Pallava Somaskanda.

The basic argument which will be used in this series is evolution and see how the sculpture evolved into its current form. What is its current form? Borrowing these beautiful bronzes to show the form in its final evolved iconography

To study their features and compare we will also show you tracings ( copies) as line drawings

This is current day bronze. But do we have the first first / earliest or atleast earliest surviving prototype. Yes, we do have. Its in the upper tier of the Dharamaraja Ratha of the five ratha complex in Mamallapuram.

Since this is an intro post, we just let it sink in. In the following posts of this series we will travel around the region, and try to find a logical sequence to the evolution of this image.

Photo credits:
Special thanks to and for the images

7 thoughts on “Tracking the evolution of the Pallava Somaskanda – Part 1

  1. Beautiful article VJ. But I got confused on seeing the first two bronzes of Somaskanda… They look to be distinctly chola, although looking at the Dharmaraja panel… the Cholas definitely modeled their creations both in stone and metal on the Pallavas… I think Pallava bronzes or metals are pretty rare aren’t they?

    Especially Siva with the deer prancing out of his karas is a distinctly Chola creation…. am I wrong somewhere… do lemme know.

  2. hi cheenu,

    what you see above is not a chola bronze but a current day sale piece modeled on chola style. we will see how the pallava form evolved in the coming posts


  3. சிற்பக் கலைக்குள் அழைத்துச் செல்கிறீர்கள். கற்சிலைகளையும் வெண்கலச் சிலைகளையும் பார்த்து, கூர்ந்து கவனித்து, நுணுகி ஆய்ந்து, ஒப்புநோக்கி, விவரித்து எம்போன்றோருக்கு அறிவூட்டுகிறீர்கள். தொடருங்கள்.

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