The Chola King who was auctioned for $58,750

There was a big hue and cry about the Chola King bronze ” said ” to be Sri Raja Raja Chola during the 1000th year anniversary of the Tanjore Big temple.

We had done a detailed post on the same bronze and other portraits of Kings wherein we had approximated the size of the bronze based on this inscription

“14. One solid image of Periya-Perumal, having two sacred arms (and measuring) one mulam, four viral and a half in height from the feet to the hair.”

Lets take Mulam as approx 15 inches and 41/2 virals to mean half of a mulam – so totals up to 22.5 inches or 57 centimeters.

The bronze in the Sarabhai Museum is described by Sri. P. R. Srinivasan as ” The bronze representing a Chola King, height 74 cm “ in his book on Bronzes of South India ( P.R. Srinivasan (F.E. 1963, L.R. 1994))

Let us see the characteristics of this ” Chola” King once more

The Key here to the identity that is indeed a ruler is the “veerakazhal” or bravery anklet worn on the left leg.

Now, a year ago a reputed auction site listed this interesting bronze for auction with a base price of $ 60,000 to $80,000

A Large Bronze Figure of Chandikeshvara

It is interesting to compare the features of this ” Chandikeshvara” to the accepted bronzes in the Museums in Chennai and Tanjore.

If you noticed none of them have the anklet on.

Now let us see the ” chandikeshvara” bronze up close and compare to the “Chola” King.

No doubt this is definitely not Chandikeshwara but a Chola King.

The dimensions as per the auction house is :

247/8 in. (63.1 cm.) high

Which compares more favorably to the dimensions in the Big temple inscriptions

There is no mention of any dates and specific in the Provenance:

Pre-Lot Text


So is this the bronze of the Great Emperor that we should have brought back to the Tanjore Temple ? Sadly he sold below the list price for $ 58,750.

6 thoughts on “The Chola King who was auctioned for $58,750

  1. The sold one is not our Raja Raja cholan’s statue. The things like Kazhal, kai koopiya nilai and ornaments are looking same. But see the faces and the crown of the previous one and the sold one are not same.

  2. I am pretty lost reading such auction details, does that mean these have been stolen from our Peria Kovil & further sold, have changed several hands? Is there no way to recover them & to restore it to our Kovil & meuseums, they belong to our culture & country right?

  3. Dear Rajagopal,

    Stolen or ported legally is not the question, I believe. This is a symbol of our culture, and at any means it should be in our land, and particularly where and how it was intended to be.

  4. யக்யோப வீதம் எல்லா சந்டிகேஷ்வர படிமங்களிலும் உள்ளது . அதேபோல் இதிலும் உள்ளது . சோழ அரச சிற்பத்தில் யக்யோப வீதம் உள்ளதா என அறிய இயலவில்லை. வீர கழல் இரண்டிலும் உள்ளது . உங்கள் ஒப்புமை நன்றாக உள்ளது .


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