Early Chola Temples

by S. R. Balasubrahmanyam | 1960 | 105,501 words

This volume of Chola Temples covers Parantaka I to Rajaraja I in the timeframe A.D. 907-985. The Cholas of Southern India left a remarkable stamp in the history of Indian architecture and sculpture. Besides that, the Chola dynasty was a successful ruling dynasty even conquering overseas regions....

Bronze, group 4: Post-Parantaka I (a.d. 950-985)

After Parantaka I, the main-spring of artistic activity is Sembiyan Mahadevi. This period may be called the golden age of metal-casting in South India.

Her enthusiasm was catching and she found in Arulmolidevan, the future Rajaraja I, a devoted pupil in the realm both of religion and of art. He and his gifted successors carried on her noble tradition almost upto the 12th century a.d. And with the ushering in of this phase, we come to the period of dated bronzes of Konerirajapuram, Kadri and Tiruvengadu.

The Kongu idiom

Nagaswamy has brought to our notice some excellent bronzes from the Kongu country, Kodumudi, Singanal-lur and Puttur. These should be considered as examples of the Kongu idiom of Dravidian art. These are subject more perhaps to Pandyan influence than to Chola, since the Kongu country was under the political influence of the Pandyas in the 8th and 9th centuries, as evidenced by the Velvikkudi and the Madras Museum plates of Jatila Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan.[1]

To this rich and great heritage of South Indian art, O.C. Gangoly has paid a well-deserved tribute:—

“In the absorbing serenity of expression, in the rhythmic sways and the dynamic symmetry of the poses, above all in the moving and generalised forms of an original, yet artistic, anatomy, the bronzes of this school translate the abstruse conception of Brahmanic philosophy into which the artists have skilfully mingled their own meditations, their prayers and all the hopes of their lives. To know them and to appreciate them is to receive an initiation into a new world of plastic dreams, not revealed in any of the master-pieces of Greek or Renaissance bronzes.”

The memory of these great and immortal sculptors and their noble creations will inspire mankind for all times.

Konerirajapuram, Kadri and Tiruvengadu

A Uttama Chola (Sembiyan Mahadevi)—a.d. 969—985.

(a.d. 969-977):
     1. Rishabhavahana devar
     2. Tripurantakar and Tripurasundari 
     3. Ganapati
4. Kadri—Buddhist Bronzes (BSI. Figs. 101, 102 and 103). a.d. 968
5. Konerirajapuram—Siva, Bhogesvari (PI. 173)
6. Tiruvelvikkudi—Kalyana Sundarar (PI. 248)
7. Tirumananjeri—Kalyana Sundarar (Pl. 234)
8. Kuttalam—Bhogesvari (PL 184)
9. Sembiyan Mahadevi—Bhogesvari (age of Rajendra I?)

B Middle Chola period (A.D. 985-1070)

(a) Rajaraja I (a.d. 985-1014)
     Tanjavur         —Nataraja (Adavallan: Lalit Kala No. 12)
     Tiruvengadu   —Tripurantakar
                                Rishabhavahanadevar and his consort-(Lalit Kala, 3 and 4).
(b) Rajendra I (a.d. 1012-1044)
     Tiruvalangadu Nataraja—Madras Museum.
(c) Rajadhirajal (a.d. 1018-54)
     Tiruvenkadu      —Pichchadevar (Bhikshatanar)
                                  Ardhanarisvara—Madras Museum.

Footnotes and references:


1. R. Nagaswamy, Lalit Kala, 9 and 10.
2. P.R.S. BSL—Figs. 53, 78-83.
3. D. Barrett, ECB—Pis. 87-90.
4. C. Sivaramamurti, SIB—Pis. 89-91.

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