Vriddachalam to Australia – Ardhanariswara’s murky details

There are some sculptures that imprint themselves into your memory – this androgyne was one such. From the moment i chanced on the picture of him/her i could never take my eyes of the beauty of this sculpture.

I had used it to show the refinement of the Ardhanari image post – little did I realise then that the beauty had been robbed !!

Readers must have read the post on the Sivapuram Somaskanda and it was with great interest that i read today’s Hindu article of the Australia Nataraja. Interestingly there was a mention of the site Chasing Aphrodite in the article as source for the images. One led to another and the detailed article and the Ardhanari begun to haunt me – vaguely familiar !!

It is quite interesting that the Museum records show the following proofs for its Provenance

Quote: Ardhanarishvara

In 2004, the Gallery purchased this Chola-period sculpture from Kapoor for more than $300,000. The 44-inch stone figure represents Ardhanarishvara, the androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati. It comes from Tamil Nadu, home to some 2500 important temples to Shiva. The image of Ardhanarishvara was likely in a niche on an external wall.

Kapoor provided two documents with the sculpture.

One is a receipt dated 1970, purportedly from Uttam Singh and Sons, the Delhi “copper and brass palace” that sold the sculpture to a private collector.

The second document purports to be a 2003 “Letter of Provenance” on letterhead from Art of the Past, Kapoor’s Madison Ave. gallery. It is signed by “Raj Mehgoub,” who claims to be the wife of a diplomat who lived in Delhi from 1968 to 1971.”

I ran back to my collections to trace the source of my reference.

Early Cola Architecture and Sculpture
; 866-1014 A.D.
Douglas E. Barrett – Published in 1974 !! intact in its Kosta in the temple !

and there in his plates is the same Kosta sculpture.

It is pretty clear even for a layman from the slab’s outline and the detailing in the sculpture as to the origin. I hope the authorities would be able to get their act together now and work towards bringing this invaluable treasure back to the Temple.

6 thoughts on “Vriddachalam to Australia – Ardhanariswara’s murky details

  1. Have the authorities been notified of its provenance? I’m really impressed. I’d seen that photo in Barrett also, but didn’t make the connection

  2. வணக்கம். 15.06.2013 அன்று விருத்தாசலத்திலிருந்து 15 மைல் தூரத்திலுள்ள திருவட்டுறை என்ற திருநெல்வாயில் அறத்துறை சென்றேன். மூவர் பாடிய தலம். அங்கு கோஷ்டத்திலிருந்த அர்த்தநாரி திருஉருவம் தாங்கள் கொடுத்துள்ள விருத்தகிரீஸ்வரர் சிலை அமைப்பிலேயே இருந்தது. படம் மிந்தமிழில் பகிர்ந்துகொள்கிறேன். பார்வதி ஈசுவரன், பிட்சாடணர் பிற சிலைகளும் அற்புதம். படங்களை உங்கள் பார்வைக்கு அனுப்ப வேண்டிய இமெயில் முகவரி எழுதவும்.

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