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 ...

Ornamental Diagonal Band across the Body

Often in the sculptures executed from the time of Narasimhavarman II Rajasimha, an ornamental diagonal band, similar to a yajnopavita can be seen worn by both male and female figures. This band as a rule is seen much lengthier than the yajnopavita and often reaches the knees. It is seen either as a plain band or ornamented with either pearls or beads or bells or flowers. Occasionally it is also provided with a clasp. Its different types are described as following:

(i) Plain band of one or more strings

An earliest example of such a plain band can be seen adorning Krishna in the Govardhanadhari panel at Mamallapuram. Similar plain band can be seen worn by Durga in a niche on the northern wall of the Rajasimhesvara shrine in the Kailasanatha temple complex at Kanchipuram. In the same temple several images like Trivikarama, Brahmasiraschetaka-murti, etc., are seen wearing a plain band formed of two strings as well.

(ii) Band formed of series of beads

This type can be seen adorning the dvarapalakas and an image of Kalari (fig. 306) in the Iravatanesvara temple and also in the Sandyanritta-murti and Lingodbhava-murti in the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram. Similar one can be seen worn by an image of Bhikshatana-murti now preserved in the National Museum at New Delhi[1].

(iii) Band with series of bells

This type of band is seen especially on those images depicted in dancing posture and by the dvarapalakas as well. In this type the band is adorned with series of small bells which produces rhythmic sound during the course of various movements of the dancer. Images of Natesa and Kalarimurti (fig. 307) in the Kailasanatha temple and a dvarapalaka in the Muktesvara temple at Kanchipuram are shown wearing such a diagonal band.

(iv) Band formed of pearl strands

An image of Urdhvatandava-murti (fig. 308), enshrined in a niche on the western wall of the Rajasimhesvara shrine in the Kailasanatha temple complex at Kanchipuram is shown wearing such a diagonal band. In this the band is composed of two plain and two pearl strings and the entire set is held together with a pair of double-bell and circular clasps.

(v) Band resembling a floral garland

An image of Narasimha (fig. 309) carved on the wall of an angalaya in the Kailasanatha temple complex at Kanchipuram is shown wearing a comparatively shorter band formed of series of bead like designs with intervening floral patterns. Probably it is in fact a vanamala worn by the deity, which in course of scuffle with Hiranyakasipu has got displaced from its position.

Footnotes and references:


Acc. no. 59.153/158.

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