Pallava period (Social and Cultural History)

by S. Krishnamurthy | 2017 | 143,765 words

This study examines the Social and Cultural History of the Pallava period (as gleaned through the Sculptural Art). The Pallavas (6th-9th century A.D.) mainly ruled over the Tondaimandalam (Tondai Nadu) region in the Northern part of Tamil Nadu (South-India). The Pallava dynasty ensured a golden age of architecture, arts, and spirituality and while ...

[Full title: Other Religious Beliefs and Customs (during the Pallava period): Sati]

It is interesting to know that the earliest sculptural evidence of this period throws light on the custom of sati from a number of panels (fig. 58) found from places such as Munnur, Manimangalam, Tenneri, Madhurantakam, Uttaramerur (Merkat/ti Amman temple), Ukkal and Brahmadesam. These panels portray in a single line images of Brahma, Siva in the form of a linga, Parvati, Vishnu in his Narasimha aspect, Lakshmi in the form of a Srivatsa with a human head, Subrahmanya and an abstract figure carved on a lotus–in the form of a shaft with a split at the top crowned by fire or palm like representation. The abstract figure was identified by R. Nagaswamy as representing the lady, who committed sati. These panels on stylistic grounds were dated by scholars such as Nagaswamy to 7th–8th century A.D., and thus it speaks of the prevalence of this practice in this period. The arrangement of deities in these panels found from various places was not always uniform. For example, the sculptural panel from the Chandesvara shrine in the Siva temple at Madhurantakam is interesting and varied, when compared with the above panels. The panel starts with three standing images identified as Brahma, Vishnu with Srivatsa (Lakshmi-narayana) and Ardhanarisiva, by a Siva linga and Parvati with a standing image of Subrahmanya in the middle and finally by an image of Ganapati and Jyestha-devi. This is followed by the depiction of an abstract deity representing the lady who committed Sati, followed by an image of couple, standing with their arms in anjali pose. Thus, these panels indicative of sati expounds itself of the prevelance of worshipping multitude deities and the catholicity of the times.

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