I take your hand – for eternity

To depict a wide gamut of emotions into metal casting calls for exceptional skill. who better to attempt it than the Chola craftsmen and what better scene than the drama of emotions during a wedding – the wedding of the divine parents at that. Yes, today we are going to see a stunning bronze composition – the wedding of Meenakshi with Sundareshwarar. We already saw the metamorphosis of Tadagai – the three breasted warrior queen of Madurai into Meenakshi , a stunning shy lass – true to the prophecy, at the sight of her prince charming – Shiva as the epitome of manly charm – Sundareshwarar.

Imagine the situation of such a wedding, throw in the bride’s brother – Vishnu here and his consort Lakshmi giving off their priced possession to Shiva.

Take a look at this bronze now from the Tanjore Raja Raja Museum.

The bridgegroom – heart swelling with pride, a mischievous smile on his lips, majestic in his poise, triumphantly taking the hand of his beloved.

The bride – embodiment of grace, head bent in his shyness – experiencing the first touch of her beloved as she feels his powerful hand close on top of hers, and her left hand flying up to hide her reddening cheeks.

The symbolisation of taking the hand has lot of significance – for its a promise to be with her, to protect her and live as one – for eternity.

The perfection in this composition, flows through every inch , every curve of the bronze – a visual delight.

Sadly, its all held inside glass cases and its hard to bring out the splendor in more depth and detail.

But i have with me a gifted artist, Mr Prasad – who has sketched this for us ( he says it was his early attempt – but to me its masterclass!!!)

Sketching bronzes is no easy task – for you are not sketching just a piece of art , you are sketching a deity and to bring that grace onto paper – calls for exceptional talent.

I am blessed to be even be born in the soil that brought forth these masterpieces.

Images courtesy: Our Satheesh n various on the net.

11 thoughts on “I take your hand – for eternity

  1. yes sir, but i do hope its only artistic composition – ie wanting to keep the view attention on the main actors of the composition – for him to cast vishnu and lakshmi in slightly smaller proportion to shiva n uma.


  2. சிலைகளை வடித்த சிற்பியையும் உதவியாளர்களையும் பெயர்சுட்டி எழுதிவைக்காத மரபுக்குச் சொந்தக்காரர் நாம். இதனால்தானே உலகம் வியக்கும் சிற்பங்‌களைத் தந்தும் சிற்பிகளைத் தெரிவிக்காமல் விட்டோம். சோழச் சிற்பியா? வேறெந்த நாட்டவரா? சோழரின் ஆதரவ பெற்றவராதல்வேண்டும்.

  3. நன்றி சச்சிதானந்தன் சார், அடுத்து உங்கள் விருப்பத்திற்க்கேற்ப பல்லவர் கால சிலையையும் போட்டு விடுகிறேன். அதுவும் ஒரு வெண்கல சிலையையே போடுகிறேன். சோழர் காலத்திற்கே முந்தைய சிலை அது. விரைவில் …


  4. i always wondered why the girls’ hand is below the boys’…..this is how it is in a Tamil Christian wedding too!!!

    great post as always.

    • hi rhoda, its not below – actually the man’s hand goes around the girls – like an embrace- if i may use the term protective or loving as the case may be.


  5. point taken…and yes protective/loving embrace.

    the order of the placement of hands is what struck me as unusual… and this seems to be a tradition


  6. Fantastic.One request .Can you come to trichy tiruverumbur,thirunedungalam ,Chozheeswarar and cholamadevi constructed by thirailokiyadevi/vanavanmadevi and i will take you to all temples which all within 5 km radius.

  7. There is nothing interesting or new to the fact that in Hindu tradition (i.e. religion), the man taking and holding the right hand of a maiden is considered practically marriage. It’s an important Hindu tradition and derives from the Vedas, as does the tradition of literally giving a daughter’s/female relative’s hand in marriage to the Hindu groom. Even the literal significance of this is repeated among the ancestors of the Bharata heroes of the Mahabharatam: Bhagavan Shukracharya’s daughter Devayani is at one point trapped in a well from which she is rescued by Emperor Yayati, whose hand clasps her right hand when helping her out of the well. Thereafter she, desiring to wed him, reminds him that since the Hindu male took her right hand, he should marry her, as it is a sign (or promise or in itself the act) of marriage.

    Meenakshi’s birth herself was due to the Vedic Yagnyas organised by the Tamizh Hindu royalty who wished for children and who were devoted to Uma. Meenakshi’s wedding is therefore also very Hindu: naturally, Sundareshwara took her right hand, as this is a Vedic (that is, specifically Hindu) tradition, recognised by most Hindus throughout Bharatam, including ancient Tamizh Nadu.

    “Interesting” is rather the custom among Indian Christians to give sacred names belonging to other unrelated religions (such as Hellenism) to their kind. Alexandros, for instance, like its female counterpart Alexandra and derived variants, were always sacred religious names in Hellenism and, like all Hellenistic religious terms, it means more than merely its literal meaning would seem to moderns and outsiders.

    Therefore, even since early Christianity’s early history, Christians were barred from giving names that were not christian (specifically, those names not from the Old Testament) by 4th century Church Fathers Starting of course with the Greek names themselves: the injunctions have been translated by Greeks at http://homepage.mac.com/dodecatheon/FILELL.pdf
    JOHN CHRYSOSTOM forbids use of Greek names: “None must call his children the (Greek) ancestors’ names, be that of their father, their mother, their grandfather or their great grandfather, but instead you must use those of the righteous (of the Old Testament)” [John Chrysostom DE INANI GLORIA ET DE EDUCANDIS LIBERIS (690) 641.65]

    Prohibition of all non-Christian names continued to be specifically stressed throughout the centuries, including by prominent Protestant reformers (the latter did include New Testament names as admissable). Recently, the current pope naturally reiterated for his western flock the old Christian insistence on what names are allowed: only Christian names.
    Still, perhaps people know to remain grateful that not all Christians in India have started pretending Hindu names are for similarly for pillaging.

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