With the HR&CE and temple authorities continuing to be lax in their documentation, this expose shows again the importance of photo documenting our temple treasures.
Little did I realise that this innocuous looking book held within itself a vital clue.
South-indian images of gods and goddesses (1916)
available for free download here
page 109 in the book ( 129 in the pdf) has this photograph of a Somaskanda
The label simply states Somaskanda ( metal), sivankudal
This is a very unique somaskanda wherein the Siva and Uma have been cast seperately with indivudual pedestals. For those who know about bronze casting, the difficulty of such an attempt is evident – having to match the pedestals not only for height but also for the runner designs.
Thankfully this provides us some vital clues in identifying this bronze, which is currently in the Asian Civilisations Museum being purchased in the year 2000.
Let us compare the two
It is without doubt the same bronze. Further our enquiries have revealed that the temple has no other bronze currently – ie has lost all its treasures. The Book sadly has no other bronzes listed from this temple and from our checking no other book has any references to this temple. It is sadly an ASI protected site with no documentation.
Now, its up to the authorities to investigate this and establish the chain. But if this is confirmed it pushes the string of robberies to pre 2000 and many more temple bronzes and sculptures sold by the dealer into the ambit of “shady” dealings.