Sittanavasal – the zenith of painting – Part 2

Its been quite a while since we featured the first set of Sittanavasal fescos – and this post has been long pending. Before starting to read, would recommend new readers to view part 1 of this post below

Part 1 of this series

Ashok’s steady hands and expertise with the lenses, once again bring the beauty of the these paintings. If not for him, I am pretty sure that we could have just let this beauty pass by, without a second glance. We saw earlier, how the entire roof of the outer mandaba has been converted into a canvas and a splendid pond, brimming with life and activity was brilliantly portrayed by the master artist. How he managed to do it, suspending upside down, working with such subtle color variations, is a tribute to his skill.

The Pond scene, we are seeing today is a continuation of the same scene we saw in part one. If i told you that there are 3 birds, a man and even an Elephant plus a horde of fish swimming in this panel, would you believe me. If you have read the previous part, am sure you would . If you haven’t read it then maybe no !!

Let me try and mark the different things we need to observe in the panel.

Maybe, try the same technique as the previous post, by taking color of the rest to highlight what we need to see.

Can you spot the creatures? Here they line up. See the top left of your screen. do you spot a bird’s eye?

The fish on the other corner?

The pairs of Birds and fishes around them?

The man, in his loin cloth, plucking flowers?

Once again, the master’s line drawing

We will come back to him again, but lets scroll down a bit more and see the Magnificent Tusker !!

He too has a few fish for company !!

And another set of our fishes to bring up the bottom

Whats of interest in this detailed study, is that the man is holding two different flowers in his hands.Lily on right and lotuses on left !!

Not only has the artist shown the differentiation in how the two would flower but also in the nature of their stalks. Take a closer look. This time another set towards the top of the frame

Now, thanks to the internet, let me show you the two types of stalks and you can notice the differentiation

( images are courtesy the internet and just to show you the smoothness of the lily’s stalk while the Lotus stalk is rough and spiny)

Truly remarkable !!

21 thoughts on “Sittanavasal – the zenith of painting – Part 2

  1. great one 🙂 would have been a visual treat when fresh…. wonder for whose eyes was this magnificent painting was done?

  2. Sittanavasal was the first cave temple with fresco paintings i visited last ytr with a friend of mine… very nice!!
    i dint have a digital camera back then, so wasnt able to take pics of the paintings…

  3. execution to such minute details are characteristic of most of the artist we come across of those times. Then whether it be the human anatomy or stalks, as in this case. As you rightly said that a cursory look at this mural will not reveal its magnificence, a detailed article like this can only do justice with such a masterpiece. I hope that people visiting Sittanavasal in future will get help from this article and see the masterpiece in real and in detail.

  4. சொல்ல வார்த்தைகளே இல்லை! மேல்சுவரில் படுத்தவாறே வரைந்து மிக அற்புதமான கலைப் பொக்கிஷத்தைத் தந்த அந்த ஓவியரின் திறமையை என்னவென்று சொல்வது! மேலும் நேரில் கண்டிருந்தாலும் இத்தனை விஷயங்கள் அந்த ஓவியத்தில் உள்ளதை அறிந்திருப்போமா என்று சந்தேகமே. தங்கள் பதிவின் மூலம் அறிய முடிந்தது. மிக்க நன்றி!

  5. @ Lakshmi : blogged to clear the head :-(. but feel recharged now 🙂

    @ Annapoorna – that’s the best part, don’t think these were meant to appeal to an external audience as much as they appealed to the artists own thirst for excellence

    @ Aarti – Photography is normally not allowed – Ashok has special permission !!

    @ V Rao – Yes, cant find the right adjectives for such works – better to just let them speak

    @ Saurabh – all credit to technology n the net today. we can do such. but the masters like Sri Ananda Coomarawsamy, Sri Sivaramamurti, Sri S. R. Balasubramaniam – could do so much without these tools !!

    @ kathie – did search, don’t remember seeing on site and not there is an references / photos either.

    @ Rajesh – There are thousands of such treasures ! we only have to open our eyes are see

    @ Vardhini – thanks and double thanks for the quick tamil spelling check !!


  6. welcome back Anand. Been sometime since you visited. Trust you are doing well.

    Sadly, nothing comprehensive on these yet. Recently there was a book release of Prof Job Thomas – Paintings of Tamil Nadu, but am yet to get a copy. you can see the author’s interview online here

    There is another book on my pending list for long….


  7. அருமை! அருமை!
    அல்லியும் தாமரையும் ஒரே நேரத்தில் மலர்ந்திருக்குமா? அல்லது ஒரே நேரத்தில் குவிந்திருக்குமா? படத்தில் தண்டுகளை வைத்து வேறுபாட்டை அறிந்து கொண்டாலும், மலர்ந்த மலரையும் குவிந்த மலரையும் வேறுபடுத்திப் பார்க்க முடியவில்லை என்னால்! எதற்கும் தஞ்சை சென்று குளத்தில் பார்த்து வருகிறேன்…

    சித்தன்னவாசல் சித்திரங்களில் தற்சமயம் இருக்கும் அனைத்தையும் ஆவணப்படுத்திவிடலாமல்லவா?!

  8. நான் சித்தன்னவாசல் சென்றிருந்தபோது இவ்வளவு நுணுக்கமாக ஓவியங்களை கவனிக்கவில்லை. உங்கள் பதிவுகளின் துணையோடு இன்னொரு முறை சென்று காண வேண்டும்.

  9. நன்றி திவாகர் சார் – அருமை தான்!!

    சதீஷ் – நல்ல கிளப்பறீங்க !! பிழை தீர்க்க ஆயிரம் பொற்காசுகள் !!

    நன்றி ராஜா ! எத்துனை முறை சென்றாலும் தெவிட்டாத செல்வம்

  10. My passion to art , at times leads me to sculptures too.Ihave not visited Chithannavasal, but after reading your analysis of the paintings there, I feel as if I am there. Superb!

  11. lotus blooms the sun & closes at sunset lilly blooms by –8* in njght &closes by 11 morning so both flowers are in bloom in the morning

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