A bedecked Bronze – Ornamentation study

Looking at the sky rocketing price of gold one might think that for once this precious yellow metal might at last follow the principles of Economics ! but then postulates come with their own exceptions and for ages this metal has defied all ! So best is to leave its current behavior to those who possess means to posses it and for those lesser mortal restrict to studying its most desirable form – Ornaments.

Kandikai, Sarappali, Savadi, Pulippal Tali, tolmalai, vagu malai, tolvalai, Kataka valai the list continues – thanks to Sri Ganapathi Stapathi’s book Indian Sculpture and Iconography, try to figure out what they are!

Thanks to Shashwath for managing to capture this beautiful Ardhanari closeup for our study.

Try and Identify these now.

Let me make it easier for you

The Kandikai is easy to identify – being the shortest – a rope like necklace with a large bead at the centre and small beads on its either sides.

The Sarappali is also easy – most elaborate, thick with pearls on the top and leaf motif on the bottom.

The Pulippal Tali is simple – a tiger tooth worn on a slender chain. It is interesting to note that though this ornament can be worn by both male and female , in this Ardhanari form the artist has chosen to show the differentiation in this alone – the male side has the Pulippal Tali while it extends as a simpler Savadi on the female side. The Savadi being a slightly longer chain than the Kandikai interlaced with repeating floral motifs along its length.

There is a beautiful flourish on the shoulder – the Vagumalai which is a wavy ornament slung over the shoulder in front, while a similar flourish along the sides is the Tollmalai

The Yagnopavitham is multi stranded and the scared knot – the Brahma Mudichu is stylistically shown.

The lower torso and elbows also sport ornaments.

The stylistic Keyyura / Tollvalai on the elbow is brilliantly set off by another ornament – the Kataka valai. The slender curves of the waist are highlighted by the ornamental belt – Udara Bandam.

The Yagnopavitha would in early Pallava period split into 3 strands – the shorter Uras Sutram, the central Yagnopavitham and a longer Sthana sutram. The Sthana Sutram is missing in this Chola creation.

Let me make it easier for you. Check the 3 in this rare Kongu Bronze Vishnu.

Maybe this will give fresh ideas to our Jewellers for a truly Antique Jewellery range !!

Camouflage Parrots – Tirukkurungudi

Pillar sculptures and sculptures that adorn the entrance Gopuras must have been the playing fields for sculptors, to let off some steam after the rigors of sculpting within the rigid frameworks required for the main deities – so pretty often we do get to see some real gems. We spotted one such series in Tirukkurungudi.

Before we proceed to the sculpture, posting this poster commonly shared for team work which is basically a modifciation of the age old United we stand, divided we fall moral story.

The actual sculptures are in the first tier but considering the height of the entrance Gopura, not all would dare to climb up to this height to view these.

To take you through what i feel is the story board, the first two depict ladies with pet parrots. So it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that they were very popular pets for young girls during the period.

Economics would then come into place and the Law of Demand and supply would apply. In layman terms demand for parrots would have gone up leading to??

Hunting parrots. It is interesting to note that the sculptor has chosen to depict the three hunters with three different tools. The first one is using some sort of a sling/ catapult, the third one a bow, while the middle one – seems to be an expert marksman with the marble – the way he is holding the marble brings back nostalgic memories of Goli !

So faced with this treat of annihilation the parrots have gotten together to try a bit of camouflage !

The sculptor has brilliantly utilised the shapes to come up with a near perfect mimic !