Unconnected icons – or are they?

Today, we are going to see some unconnected icons. But before that, a long pending paintings inspired by sculpture – aka temple. Not any temple but The Kailasantha Temple in Kanchipuram.

Rendered by Mr B. Sathish !

There are some icons ( and people) who have a magical allure to them and we could Photogenic but not sure if it applies to architecture, but the creations of Rajasimha – be it the Shore temple, the Panamalai Thaalagireershwarar or the Kanchi Kailasantha, they turn even amateur photographers raving mad. So imagine the plight of experts. Take a look at this work of Aadhi arts.

Really stunning are they not?

Now take a look at these.

Seemingly disconnected icons – The famous Bodhisattva mural from Ajanta, a slice of the penance panel from Mallai and the somaskanda painting from Kanchi Kailasanthar.

For regular followers, you have already seen the traces of the pallava artist’s fantastic creation in the
Recreating a lost treasure

Let me first explain the location of these amazing paintings.

You have to twist a bit to enter between the pillars and peep into to your left. If you are lucky you will get to see the four places where the Somaskanda paintings are still visible. Sadly, the rest of the spaces are used as storage for…

But this one is special. Peep inside the tavern while turning your head to the right.

What looks like a portion of black and maroon, is actually a portion of the original Pallava painting that would have adorned the whole side wall.

We step in closer to view the fantastic Kinnara couple. Notice the lovely lady playing a reed flute, the clawed feet and the style of the wings.

Now lets take a look at the Mallai Penance Panel

do you notice the similarity between the two couples – the clawed feet and the wings?

Now, both the locations we saw are from the Pallava school. But if i were to tell you that a similar creature is there in Ajanta as well, and that you have seen it so many times without registering it, would you believe me?

Yes, here we go

( photo & line drawing credits – An Album of Eighty-five Reproductions in Colour, Editor: A.Ghosh; Published by Archaeological Survey of India)

Found them ?

Truly art knew and knows no borders nor boundaries.

11 thoughts on “Unconnected icons – or are they?

  1. With hindsight, I think one should expect this kind of cross-pollination between the various centres of art of the time. Otherwise, how do we account for the insane pace at which they all appeared within a span of a few generations, and then achieved the heights that we see today?

    I don’t think this level of art could be achieved by a single tradition with no influence from the others.

  2. இதுவரை இந்தப் பதிவையே நான்கு முறை படித்து விட்டேன். மிக அழகிய புகைப்படங்கள் திரும்ப திரும்ப காண வைக்கின்றன. மேலும் அஜந்தா மற்றும் கைலாசநாதர் கோவில் ஓவியங்களிலும் மல்லை சிற்பத்திலும் காணப்படும் ஒற்றுமை திகைக்க வைக்கிறது. உண்மை தான், தாங்கள் கூறியுள்ளது போல் உண்மையான கலைக்கு வரம்பேது வேலியேது? மிக அருமை.


  3. great post vj. if only we knew more about the artist guilds of the past. is there any symbolic meaning for these representations of kinnara couples?

  4. @வர்தினி – நன்றி

    Rhoda – Just got a wonderful gift from Vairam ( your parcel just arrived as well) – references to painting n sculpture in sangam. will take some time to dwell into them


  5. great effert keen eyes alert mind great kinnara in hindu mythology r horse faced in buddist mythology they r birds with human face hindu religion have absorbed many buddist ideas thisis also one of them status of of paintings show how careless we had been in the past in on conserving our temples &continue to abuse them thanks again for very beautiful pictures &good essay

  6. @PNS sir – After finishing their work @ Ajantha …hmmm. was it finished by then ( 8th C CE Rajasimha’s period)

    @ V Rao – horse faced, doesn’t seem to tieup. Generally they are said to be residents of the upper reaches of Kailash. There are however a few sculptures – in darasuram and even in tiruvanamalai of a donkey faced lady leading a rishi astray. ( similar found in hoysala sites as well)


  7. very great work. It will stand longlast till the end of this world. I appreciate your dedication and hard work to bring out the ancient tamil kings sculptures and paintings. Thank you for your priceless work.

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