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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tamil Art--Chola Bronzes

Chola Bronze 11th century Govt Museum Chennai


The reason for the great resurgence of creativity in Tamilakam during Chola centuries I am researching. Because of Ananda Coomaraswamy-s writings people in West became familiar with Chola Bronzes. Since during Chola period thousands and thousands of Bronzes were cast some found their way in West--legally and not-legally. The great beauty of these bronzes is that they are cast in round and hence are equally marvelous to behold from any angle--profile, front or back. As I stayed in Kumbakonam making rounds to beautiful; little village Swami Malai by   the river I watched the invocation to heavens, to earth , to water to eternal Siva by the sthapati who appears more as a world-oblivious devotee. His broad forehead invested with the holy sandal paste and ashes, his eyes searching answers more inside than outside, his veshti (dhoti) wrapped around and folded to knee-lenght, his shirt hung in one corner of his stdio. In his bare torso he looks like devotee preparing to offer prayers in Chidambram Koil. I imagined the sky, the earth, the paddy  fields, the river were the same  more than a thousand years earlier and  forefathers of the present day stapati invoked God as is done even now. The beauty of these bronzes holds you spell bound in their spirituality as also their unsurpassede sensuality. Here is a picture of the back view of a Chola bronze from the collection of Govt. Museum Chennai.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The best of Tamil art: Fragrance of Jasmine




A dancer n Mridangam player from Darasuram
I have been working on my book on the Art of Tamils: Fragrance of Jasmine. I travel often and long in Tamilnadu and study the exquisite art that was created by Pallavas, Pandyas, Cholas and Cheras. cholas are more famous for their monumental temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondcholapuram, Darasuram and Kamphareswra temples. Darasuram near Kumbakonam is regarded as sculptors paradise. Here I have added a beautiful relief of a vigorous dancer and equally vigorous mridangam player.