by S. R. Balasubrahmanyam | 1975 | 141,178 words
This volume of Chola Temples covers Rajaraja I to Kulottunga I in the timeframe A.D. 985-1070. 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....
(a) Gold, Silver and Panchaloha Images:
2. Uma Paramesvari, Consort of Adavallar.
3. Adavallar Dakshina Meru Vitankar.
4. Tanjai Vitankar.
5. Maha Meru Vitankar.
6. Kolhai-devar (gold).
7. Kshetrapalar (gold).
8. 9, 10, 11. Vasudeva (silver).
Rajaraja I set up a number of giant-size icons, possibly of panchaloha, which included Adavallar, Adavallar Dakshina Meru Vitankar, Tanjai Vitankar and Maha Meru Vitankar. While there is no description of these images in the lithic records that have come down to us, references to Rajaraja I setting them up are found in the records of grants made by Kundavai and others.
Besides, on the 312th day of his twenty-fifth year, Rajaraja I gave one gold image of Kolhai-devar, which was to be present at the time of the sacred offerings and it weighed 829¾ kalanjus and three manjadi, as weighed by the standard stone called Adavallan. He also gifted a gold icon of Kshetrapalar weighing 72½ kalanjus.
At least three and possibly four silver images of Vasudeva with aureolae also in silver in three cases, were presented to the temple. These are the only silver images gifted that we know of. Of the Vasudeva images, whether with or without aureola, one weighed 1043 kalanjus, while its aureola weighed 17¼ kalanjus including 1½ kalanjus and 1 kunri of gold laid over its flame (sudar). Yet another image weighed 355 kalanjus no mention being made of its aureola. These images and aureolae together weighed 3162½ kalanjus. Perhaps, there was a fourth image of Vasudeva, which finds mention as item no. 141 in the relevant inscription.
(b) Copper Images:
In addition to the images of the deities mentioned above, he also set up a number of copper icons which are mentioned in six inscriptions found in the temple (SII, II, 29, 30, 49, 50, 52 and 84). All the dimensions of these icons were measured by the standard unit of longitudinal measurement, the mulam (the cubit), preserved in the temple of the Lord, and recorded.
1. Chandesvara Prasada Devar group (SII, II, 29) consisting of:
- one solid image of Chandesvara Prasada Devar, with four hands and a jewelled padma-pitham,
- one solid image of Musalakan with two hands,
- one solid image of Uma Paramesvari with padma-pitham,
- one pitham for the god and goddess together,
- one solid image of Mahadevar with one projecting arm,
- one solid image of Chandesvara, with two hands,
- one solid image of Chandesvara’s father, with two hands and in the posture of lying on the ground,
- one solid image of Chandesvara, with two hands, represented as receiving Siva’s blessing,
- one flower-garland given to Chandesvara, as a boon, and
- one solid prabha.
2. Pancha-deha-murti (SII, II, 30) consisting of:
- one solid image with five bodies and ten arms,
- four solid images, joined to the main image, with four hands corresponding to each of the four faces, and
- one padma-pitham as pedestal to the image.
3. Subrahmanya Devar (SII, II, 49) consisting of:
- one solid image of Subrahmanya Devar, with four hands,
- one bejewelled padmam,
- one pitham, and
- one solid prabha.
4. Dakshinamurti (SII, II, 50) consisting of:
- one solid image of Dakshinamurti with four hands, seated on a mountain,
- a mountain serving as the seat of the above image, with two peaks (sikhara),
- two solid images of kinnar joined to these peaks and having two hands each,
- two solid images of kinnaris with two hands,
- one solid image of Musalakan, with two arms and lying under the Lord’s feet,
- two sets of two solid images of with two hands each,
- one solid image of a snake,
- two solid images of kama-pravratas (large-eared beings, using the ears as cloak) having two hands each,
- one solid image of a tiger recumbent on the mountain,
- one solid image of a banyan tree (ala-vrksha) atop the mountain, on which were ‘sewn’ nine separately made large branches and forty-two minor branches,
- one wallet (pokkanam)suspended from the tree, and
- a solid handle (kai) and, joined to it, one bunch of peacock’s feathers to be carried in it.
5. Mahavishnu (SII, II, 52) consisting of:
- one solid image of Mahavishnu, with four hands,
- one bejewelled padmam,
- one pitham on which was mounted the padmam, and
- one solid prabha.
6. Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar (seven images) as follows:
- one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar in the dancing posture, with four divine arms with (i) one lotus on which this image stood, set with jewels, (ii) one pedestal on which this image stood, and one solid aureola covering this image,
- one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar in the standing posture, with four divine arms with (i) one lotus base, on which this image stood, set with jewels,
- one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar in the standing posture with four divine arms, with (i) one lotus set with jewels forming part of this image,
- one solid image of Pillaiyar, comfortably seated with four divine arms, with (i) one shrub (sedi) forming part of this image,
- one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar, in the dancing posture with four divine arms, with (i) one pedestal, and (ii) one solid aureola, forming part of this image,
- one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar, comfortably seated with four divine arms, with (i) one lotus forming part of this image, and (ii) one aureola covering this image, and
- one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar, comfortably seated with four divine arms, with
- one lotus forming part of this image.
All these were copper images, set up (before his twenty-ninth year) by Rajaraja I himself.
Footnotes and references:
1 ) J. N. Banerjee: In ‘Hindu Iconography’ dealing with the ananda tandava form (p. 280) holds:
“Numerous bronze replicas of the same type of dancing Siva are found in Southern India, but most of them belong to the fourteenth or fifteenth century A.D. or even later.”
2 ) M. M. Deneck: In her Indian Art ‘Shiva Dancing’ mentions:
“Dra vidian bronze:—
Height 154 cm (6 ft. 1/2 inch).
including pedestal—twelfth to thirteenth century.”
My Survey will disprove the above conclusions.
‘Solid’ is used as the English equivalent of the Sanskrit word ghana (along with its Tamilized version gana), meaning ‘cast solid’, as opposed to ‘cast hollow’, the two processes of metal casting followed by South Indian metal-casters (sushira and ghana) (South Indian Bronzes: Lalit Kala Akademi: G. Sivaramamurti, p. 14).