Tag Archives: sculpture of india

Mathura art : varied images from ancient India

       Mathura is a bustling city in Uttar Pradesh in present day India. The region has a long history of human occupation. Great art has been created there under different patronages by different dynasties who ruled the area from ancient times. This genre of art which grew around the town of Mathura, an important city in central northern India since Mauryan times and which has been differently known as Madhura, Madhupuri, Madhuban and Mathula. It is believed that the demon Madhu is the founder of the city. His son lost it to Shatrughna, brother of Lord Rama. Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna and has been a centre for art, religion and literature. It is debated that the first image of Lord Buddha was created here. Lord Buddha visited Mathura twice. and Buddhism flourished here.

File:Standing Buddha, Mathura, India, 1-99 AD, sikri sandstone - Fitchburg Art Museum - DSC08847.JPG

Standing Buddha, Mathura, India, 1st century AD, Sikri sandstone – Fitchburg Art Museum, U.S.A

         Around 70 B.C the Indo-Greeks occupied this area for a century, while the Sunga dynasty stayed eastward of Mathura. The art which developed around the region started with sculptures of the yakshas,yakshis; earthly divine beings dating to 2nd-1st century B.C during the Mauryan rule. These sculptures showed Greek influence. The Indo-Scythian rule happened under the northern satraps under Rajuvula who had taken over from the Mitra dynasty which had come to power around 70 B.C. The Rajuvula dynasty recorded their events  on the Mathura lion capital. The capital has two lions and the Buddhist triratna symbol at the centre within a flame palmette, which is again Hellenistic in character. The art of Mathura is a blend of Indian art of Bharhut and Sanchi and Gandhara art with the use of Hellenistic motifs. The images of yakshas, yakshis, nagas, Bodhisattvas and Lord Buddha, several forms of Tirthankaras and the Hindu pantheon of Gods and Goddesses have contributed to this art school. Pre-Mauryan burnt clay or terracotta figurines from 4th century B.C have been found of the Mother Goddess. One can find amorous couples from the 2nd to 1st century.

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The Mathura lion capital,  British Museum, London.

During Mauryan times folk art representations like huge yakshas, yakshis, Kubera figures have been found, though not very refined in form.The Sunga period sculptures were not very refined too with a lack of emotion on the face, heavy ornamentation, flat features, fluffy one-sided turban with a crest are seen. Basement stones, pillars, gateways with both secular and religious themes are found. The worship of the Buddha are denoted by sacred symbols only.

File:Roundel with the head of a nobleman, India, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, c. 1st-2nd century CE, pink sandstone, HAA.JPG
Roundel with the head of a nobleman, Mathura, 1st-2nd century A.D, pink sandstone, Honolulu Academy of Arts,U.S.A

Emperor Kaniska I of the Kushana dynasty issued the first known representation of Lord Buddha on a coin. He also depicted Maitreyi Buddha and Shakyamuni Buddha. Mathura art incorporated many Hellenistic elements like curly hair, folded garment, covering of only one shoulder given India’s climate Gandhara influence on the art is also seen especially in the Bacchanalian scenes, statue of Heracles strangling the lion. From the Kusana period focus was on stone sculpting, during 1st century to 3rd century wherein the range grew and artists mingled with foreigners  and all religions flourished together. Lord Buddha is the human form was generated in stone during the Kushana empire; drapery was seen having folds, the women had beautiful expressions on their faces. The Jataka stories were also being depicted during the time.

File:Indian Museum Sculpture - Sibi Jataka, 2c, Mathura (9220825920).jpg

Sibi Jataka, 2nd century, Mathura, Indian Museum, Kolkata.

The art of Mathura has seen many upheavals along with political currents. Many objects and sculptures have been found in and around the region with archaeologists like Alexander Cunningham and F.S Growse recovering many during excavations. The Chinese traveller Fa-Hien, came to Mathura in 4th century A.D and mentions twenty monasteries along both sides of the river  Yamuna. They are now seen in the form of mounds; Kankali Tila, Saptarsi Tila, Jail Tila  among others.

The Bodhisattva Maitreya, 2nd century,

Bodhisattva, 2nd century, Mathura, Musee Guimet, Paris.

The Hindu art at Mathura started to develop from the 1st century to 2nd century B.C. The Hindu deities were well represented. Also explicit and stylised images of women. Yaksha worship was an ancient cult and an inscribed one has been found at Parkham village of Mathura. The Gupta rule between 325 AD to about 600 A.D saw the finest sculptures produced with transparent drapery, love and beauty got depicted, light ornaments, straight nose, curved eyebrows and thick lips were seen. From the 7th century, a general decline happened with the art of Mathura.

 

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Vishnu statue from Mathura, 5th century, Gupta period.,Uttar Pradesh State Museum, Lucknow.

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Manibhadra, ”yaksha” from Parkham, 3rd to 2nd century, Mathura.

File:'Frieze with Worshippers' from Mathura, c. 150 CE, Norton Simon Museum.JPG

Frieze with Worshippers from Mathura, Uttar Predesh, India, c. 150 A.D, sandstone, Norton Simon Museum, California, U.S.A

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Lord Vishnu with ayudhapurushas, Mathura.
File:Architectural fragment with owl and palm design, Mathura, Northern India, 2nd century AD, sandstone - San Diego Museum of Art - DSC06348.JPG
Owl depicted in an exhibit, Mathura art, San Diego Museum of Art, California, USA. 
File:Head of a Buddha statue, India, Mathura, Gupta period, 4th-5th century AD, sandstone - Linden-Museum - Stuttgart, Germany - DSC03810.jpg
Sculpture, Gupta period, 4th to 5th century A.D, Mathura art, Linden-Museum, Germany.
File:Bhutesvara Yakshis Mathura reliefs 2nd century CE front.jpg
Bhutesvara yakshis, Mathura, 2nd century A.D, Indian Museum, Kolkata.
References :
  • Masterpieces of Mathura Museum/Jitendra Kumar, New Delhi : Sundeep Prakashan, 2002.
  • wikipedia.org
  • Images from Wikimedia Commons
Posted by :
Soma Ghosh
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Srirangam : sculptural grandeur and glory

 

       Tiruchirpalli or Trichy; Trichinoply as it was called before, is a city in Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The Kaveri or Cauvery delta begins 16 kilometres  west of the city where the Kaveri river splits into two, forming the island of Srirangam, which is now incorporated into the Tiruchirappalli City. Here is the famous Sriranganathaswamy temple popularly called Srirangam temple. It is a temple of Lord Vishnu as Sriranganathaswamy. The Atharva veda says :

Vishnu is the Almighty Lord,

In whose three wide-extended paces

All worlds and creatures have their habitation:

Vishnu strode through all the worlds

And all the worlds gathered

As grains of dust under His feet!

    It is the world’s largest functioning temple with 50 shrines, 21 towers and 39 pavillions. The temple complex covers  156 acres with seven prakaras or enclosures. Srirangam is a temple town on an island on the Kaveri river. At one time the entire population of Srirangam lived within the walls of this temple.

Ranganathaswamy temple tiruchirappalli.jpgGopurams, Srirangam temple complex, Trichy, Tamil Nadu.

  The gopurams of the temple articulate the axial path, the highest is  at the outermost prakara and the lowest is at the innermost. The Rajagopuram of the temple is the southern one which is 239 feet high, having been plated in gold. The Rajagopuram was stated to be built by Vijayanagara king Achyuta Deva Raya but it was completed by the Ahobila Matha in 1987. The diagram below shows  structures in the temple complex; the gopurams, the mandapas, various shrines among others.

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Layout of the temple complex, image.

Aerial photograph of Srirangam Island between Kaveri and Kollidam rivers.

   The main temple has been built based on Agama texts and is dedicated to Sri Ranganathaswamy. It is a Vaishnavite temple and has many legends associated with it.It is in the inner courtyard. There is 6 meter deity of Sri Ranganathar reclining on Adisesha with five hoods in the sanctum which is entered from the south gateway. The doorway has the dwarapalas or guards Jaya and Vijaya. The mukhamandapa is also called Gayatri mandapa leading to the round sanctum surrounded by a raised square, encircling pillars and an inner square. The other images are of Lord Vishnu on Sesha, Lord Ganesha, Lord Narasimha in Yogasana and Goddess Durga.  The 50 shriens include Lord Vishnu temples, Goddess Lakshmi temple, shrines of various Vaishnave scholars. The temple structures have rich sculptural detail. The temple’s vimana  is embellished with sculptures, and has carved pilasters with fluted shafts, double capitals and lotus brackets. The temple complex has many mandapas, frescoes, inscriptions on its walls, tanks and granaries. The inscriptions are over 800, from 9th century to 16th century of the times of the Nayaks, Pandyas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagara rulers, are in different languages like Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Oriya and relate mostly to temple grants and gifts, rulers, nobles and temple management.  Many of the temple structures have been renovated, rebuilt over time, though the temple was looted by different rulers.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (84) (37513353141).jpgPilasters and carvings, Srirangam.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (85) (37482143952).jpg                                                 Bracket figures, Srirangam temple.

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Sculpture, Srirangam temple.

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Yoga Narsimha, Srirangam temple.

Among the mandapas  the 1000 pillar mandapa is a theatre like structure built during the Vijayanagara period made out of granite.

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1000 pillar mandapa, Srirangam temple.

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Warriors on horses, 1000 pillar mandapa, sculpture, Srirangam temple.

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Dancer and musicians, sculpture, Hall of 1000 pillars.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (154) (37255438750).jpg

Elephant being led by his mahout, sculpture, Srirangam.

      During the Vijayanagara rule the temple complex developed under Sri Krishnadeva Raya. The temple structures include the Sesharayar mandapa and the Venugopala temple which have amazing sculptural work. The Sesharayar mandapa was built during the Nayaka rule. The Garuda mandapa was also made during the Nayaka rule. It has a free standing seated Garuda. Kili mandapa is next to the main shrine, made during the 17th century. The Ranga vilasa mandapa is a large community hall with murals and narratives from mythology and the epic Ramayana. The temple has many wooden monuments like the Garuda vahana, Simha vahana, Hanumantha vahana among others.

Sesha Mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (199) (37463830806).jpg

Sesharayar mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Srirangam temple.

Sesha Mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (198) (36842806663).jpg

Sesharayar mandapa, Srirangam temple.

Sesha Mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (208) (37480838632).jpg

Sesharayar mandapa, Srirangam temple.

Sesha Mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (209) (37463770456).jpg

Sesharayar mandapa, Srirangam temple.

Sesha Mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (210) (37511909081).jpg

Sesharayar mandapa, Srirangam temple.

Sesha Mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (213) (36842693473).jpg

Sesharayar mandapa, Srirangam temple.

Sesha Mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (214) (37463731826).jpg

Sesharayar mandapa, Srirangam temple.

Sesha Mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (215) (37480768992).jpg

Sesharayar mandapa, Srirangam temple.

Sesha Mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (220) (37511844021).jpg

Motif, Sesharayar mandapa,  Srirangam.

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Fencing, Sesharayar mandapa,  Srirangam.

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Sesharayar mandapa,  Srirangam.

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With the pot of nectar, Sesharayar mandapa,  Srirangam.

Sesha Mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (227) (37463615306).jpg

Damsel, sculpture, Sesharayar mandapa,  Srirangam.

Sesha Mandapa, Vijayanagar period, 16th century, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (228) (37511787801).jpg

Sesharayar mandapa,  Srirangam.

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Woman warrior, Sesharayar mandapa,  Srirangam.

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Sage Agastya, sculpture, Sesharayar mandapa,  Srirangam.

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Sesharayar mandapa,  Srirangam.

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Venugopala shrine, Srirangam temple complex.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (51) (36802205014).jpg

Lord Krishna or Venugopala, Venugopala shrine, Srirangam temple complex.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (46) (37481391062).jpg

Sculptures, Venugopala shrine, Srirangam temple complex.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (50) (37464247216).jpg

Venugopala shrine, Srirangam temple complex.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (55) (37512294621).jpg

Salabhanjika sculpture, Venugopala shrine.

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Woman playing musical instrument, Venugopala shrine.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (62) (37464073226).jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mithuna or loving couple, sculpture, Venugopala shrine.

 

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (59) (23660014378).jpg

Woman applying vermillion, sculpture,Venugopala shrine.

 

References :

  • http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in
  • wikipedia.org
  • https://poetrypoem.com
  • Images sourced from Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

 

 

 

Goddess Rati : images in art

        Rati, daughter of Prajapati Daksha is the Hindu goddess of love and sexual desire. She is an embodiment of beauty and is the consort of Kamadeva and is also his assistant. Rati is not only beautiful but sensual enough to mesmerise the God Kama.

     There are many legends associated with Rati. She has been depicted along with Kama in temple sculptures. Her birth has been mentioned in Kalika purana.  Kamadeva has been created by Lord Brahma, one of the Gods of the Hindu trinity, through his mind, after he created the 10 prajapatis. Daksha is a prajapati. Lord Brahma asks Kama to shoot love arrows in the world and Daksha is to present the wife to Kama. However Kama fires his arrows to the other prajapatis who get attracted  to Sandhya, daughter of Lord Brahma. Lord Shiva sees them as he is passing through. They feel  embarassed  and  from Daksha’s sweat rises a beautiful maiden called Rati whom he presents to Kama as his wife. However Kama requests for forgiveness  and Lord Brahma relents telling that he will be resurrected.  As per the Brahma Vaivarta purana , Sandhya commits suicide and Lord Vishnu resurrects her marries her to Kama calling her Rati. But the Shiva purana says that Rati is born after the suicide of Sandhya as Rati from the sweat of Daksha.

Kama (left) with Rati on a temple wall, Chennakesava Temple, 12th century, Belur,Karnataka.

By Philip Larson from McLean, VA, US – DSC04788, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10990487

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Rati on peacock vahana, sculpture, India.

By Ravindraboopathi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18537775

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Rati on composite horse, painting, 1820 and 1825.

By Unknown – http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O404808/painting/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15380213

       As per legend Tarakasura had created havoc in the universe and only Lord Shiva’s son can stop him. However Lord Shiva has turned ascetic after the death of his consort, Sati. In order to infuse love into him again Kama is asked by the Gods to shoot love arrows at him. Lord Shiva gets attracted to Parvati (Sati reborn) but burns Kama to ashes. At this Rati goes berserk. In the Puranas the legend continues that Parvati promises to redeem Kama as Pradyumna, Lord Krishna’s son after seeing Rati’s penance.

File:Kamdev.jpg

Kamadeva, handcoloured engraving, 1820’s.

 By Frederic Shoberl [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

       Another legend in Skanda-purana says Sage narada provoked the demon Sambara to kidnap Rati. Rati would have insulted Sage Narada at one point. Sambara takes Rato to his house but cannot touch her as he might burn to ashes. Rati becomes a kitchen-maid and she is called Mayavati. Another legend has it that Sambara will die at the hands of Kama and so she waits for him to come. Sambara knows about this, steals Lord Krishna’s and Rukmini’s child and throws him into the ocean. A fish swallows him and the fish lands in Mayavati’s kitchen. Mayavati raises the child; sage Narada conveys that he is Kama reborn and that she is actually Rati. As the child grows the motherly love changes to passinate love of a wife. Mayavati narrates the entire story and trains Pradyumna who slays Sambara and they return to as a couple to Dwarka, capital of Lord Krishna.

File:1876 sketch of Kama and Rati relief at Kailash temple Ellora Caves Maharashtra.jpg

Kama and Rati, sketch of relief,1876, Kailasanatha temple, Ellora Caves, Maharashtra.

By Ms Sarah Welch [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

        As per Hindu Tantra , the Goddess Chinnamasta, one of the mahavidyas  is depicted cutting off her own head and standing on the couple Kama and Rati who are locked in a sexual embrace. This entire depiction is understood in different ways. It can be understood as asymbol of control of sexual desire or that the Goddess is asymbol of sexual energy.

File:Bengali Chinnamasta.jpg

 Goddess Chinnamastā, coloured woodblock print, 19th century.

See page for author [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

References :

  • Wikipedia.org

 

© author

 

Temples at Melkote : abode of legends

       Melkote or Melukote is in the Mandya district of Karnataka, about 50 km from Mysuru in Karnataka, in South India. Another name for Melkote is Thirunarayanapuram. The town is on hills Yadugiri, Yaadavagiri and Yaidushiladeepa. The temples are ancient and  the area was under the Vijayanagara rulers. The Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple and another temple Yoga Narasimha temple is on the hilltop. Srivaishnavaite saint Sri Ramanujacharya stayed here for 14 years in 12th century. The Cheluvanarayanswamy temple is a square temple dedicated to Cheluvanarayana or Thirunarayana.  The presiding deity has many legends surrounding it. it is believed that Lord Rama and generations of kings and Lord Krishna and generations of kings have worshipped the deity.  This image which was lost was recovered by Sri Ramanujacharya who worshipped in the shrine. The temple has a collection of jewels which are brought out from Govt. custody during the Vairamudi festival every year.

       The  Cheluvanaryanswamy temple is richly endowed, having the patronage of the Rajas of Mysore. In 1614, King Raja Wodeyar I (ruled 1578–1617), who first acquired Srirangapatnam and accepted the Srivaishnava priest as his guru, handed over to the temple and to the Brahmins at Melkote, the estate granted to him by Vijayanagara Emperor Venkatapati Raya. While that estate was lost when Zamindari was abolished in the 1950s, the temple still possesses many properties and valuables, in particular an extremely valuable collection of jewels. On one of the pillars of navaranga of the Cheluva Narayanaswami temple is a bas-relief about one and a half feet high, of Raja Wodeyar, standing with folded hands, with his name inscribed on the base. He was said to have been a great devotee of the presiding deity and a frequent visitor to the temple. A gold crown set with precious jewels was presented by him to the temple. This crown is known as the Raja-mudi (royal crown), a play on the name of Raja Wodeyar, the donor. According to legend, King Raja Wodeyar was last observed entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord on the day of his death, and was seen no more afterwards. From the inscriptions on some of the gold jewels and on gold and silver vessels in the temple it is learnt that they were presents from Krishnaraja Wadiyar III and his queens. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III also presented to the temple a crown set with precious jewels. It is known after him as Krishnaraja-mudi. The Vairamudi, the diamond crown, is older than  Raja-mudi and the Krishnaraja-mudi. However, it is not known who presented it to the temple.Tipu Sultan had donated elephants to the temple.

         The Yoga Narasimhaswamy temple on top of the hill is dedicated to Lord Yoga Narsimha. As per legend the image was installed by Prahlada himself. There is large pond at the temple. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III of Mysore presented a gold crown to Lord Yoga Narasimha. The images depicted show the beautiful  sculpted gateway and sculptures at the temples on the vimana and  pillars.

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Yoga Narasimha temple, Melkote.

By Philanthropist 1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13254334

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Carved lions, Melkote.

By Sbblr0803 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia CommonsFile:Melukote- Gateway.JPG

Gateway, Rayagopura, Cheluvanarayanswamy temple, Melkote.

By Theconspired (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Sculpture, Melkote.

By Theconspired (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Yoga Narasimha Temple, Melkote.

By Vedamurthy J (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Close up view of the decorated vimana of Sri Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple, Melkote.jpg

Vimana, Chevulanarayanaswamy temple, Melkote.

By Bikashrd (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Ornate pillars in a mantapa in the Cheluvarayaswamy temple at Melukote.jpg

Carved pillars, Cheluvanarayana temple, Melkote.

Dineshkannambadi at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Melukote- Sacred Tank.JPG

Temple tank, Cheluvanarayaswamy temple, Melkote.

By Theconspired (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Melukote- Sculptures at Cheluvanarayana Temple.JPG

Pillar, Cheluvanarayana temple, Melkote.

By Theconspired (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

References :

  • The Narayanswami temple at Melkote/ Vasantha, R, Mysore : Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, 1991.
  • wikipedia.org

 

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

 

Parvati in art : depictions from sculpture

 

Goddess Parvati from Hinduism represents love, devotion and fertility. She is the mother goddess and is  nurturing and gentle. But she has other aspects which are depicted in her 108 names.

Her name is derived from the word parvata which means mountain in Sanskrit. She is the daughter of Himavat, king of the mountains. She is the consort of Lord Shiva. She was Sati reborn (who was Lord Shiva’s earlier wife and had perished due to a feud between her father Daksha and Lord Shiva). Parvati had to practice severe austerities before she could marry him. Their children are Ganesha and Kartikeya.

Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and Goddess Parvati together  make up Tridevi.

Along with Lord Shiva she is central to Shaivism ( a sect of Hinduism; followers of Lord Shiva) and is depicted in literature, art and sculpture all over Asia.

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Parvati, terracotta, Gupta period, National Museum, New Delhi,India.

By Nomu420 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30794990

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Goddess Parvati, Odisha, 12th century,India

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/WLA_lacma_Hindu_Goddess_Parvati_Orissa.jpg?1481481361661

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Goddess Parvati, Odisha, 11th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/The_Hindu_Goddess_Parvati_LACMA_M.72.1.14_%281_of_2%29.jpg

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Goddess Parvati, standing on Nandi, the bull with her children on her side, Java, Indonesia,14th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/Javanese_Queen_as_Parvati.jpgBy shibainu (originally posted to Flickr as MET : Asian Wing) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Goddess Parvati has many other names. Haimavathi again means , daughter of Himavan. She is also called Aparna; one who took nothing to sustain herself. She is also called Shailaja, daughter of the mountains.

She is Uma and Ambika, Shakti,Gauri,Kali,Shyama,Maheshwari, Durga, Bhairavi, Bhavani,Kamakshi,Annapurna and many others. She is Lalita in the Lalita sahsranama, where she has a thousand names.

Goddess Parvati is referred to as a beautiful maiden.She is a Goddess in many different roles and moods. She is calm and placid,or  fierce and an enemy of evil. She is fair and golden as well as dark complexioned in her many forms.

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Goddess Parvati, Chola bronze,13th century.

By No machine-readable author provided. QuartierLatin1968 assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Parvati is first mentioned in the.Kena upanishad as the embodiment of knowledge and the mother of the world. She reveals the supreme knowledge or Brahman to Agni, Vayu and Indra. She finds mention in the Hamsa upanishad. In the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata she is mentioned and also in the Puranas. Coins were issued depicting Uma during King Harsha’s time in ancient India.

The Shiva-Parvati theme is represented in art and sculpture in many parts of India and South Asia. Many temples are dedicated to her; with her unique name and legend associated with them. Festivals like Teej and Gauri tritiya are held during the year.

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Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Chola, 13th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/Parvati%2C_India%2C_Chola_dynasty%2C_13th_century%2C_bronze%2C_Honolulu_Academy_of_Arts.JPGBy Hiart (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Lord Shiva and Parvati with Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa,Ellora cave No.29, Maharashtra, India.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a5/Ellora_cave29_Shiva-Parvati-Ravana.jpg By No machine-readable author provided. QuartierLatin1968 assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL

 

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The marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati, ivory, 18th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/96/WLA_vanda_The_Marriage_of_Shiva_and_Parvati.jpgBy Wikipedia Loves Art participant “the_arty_facts” [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Goddess Parvati, 11th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/1_Parvati%2C_Hindu_deity_-_11th_Century_-_Indian_Art_-_Asian_Art_Museum_of_San_Francisco.jpg

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Lord Shiva and Parvati on Nandi, Shiva’s vehicle,11th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/Nswag%2C_india%2C_shiva_e_parvati_sul_toro_nandi_%28vrishabhavahana%29%2C_XI_sec..JPGI, Sailko [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

     Goddess Parvati is the ideal wife and mother. In the concept of Ardhanarishwara an ideal visualisation of a couple is depicted as half man and half woman. Each is complementing the other; one being Shiva and the other Parvati.

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Ardhnarishwara, red mottled sandstone, Mathura, 2nd-3rd century.

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e4/The_Androgynous_Form_of_Shiva_and_Parvati_%28Ardhanarishvara%29_LACMA_M.85.213.2.jpgSee page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

References

 

  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporewala and Sons.

 

  • wikipedia.org

 

 

 

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Soma Ghosh

 

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