Explained: Tamil Nadu sculptures recovered from Australia, US

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Ten antiquities (sculptures) retrieved from Australia and the United States were handed over to the Government of Tamil Nadu.

What were the important sculptures recovered from Australia and the US?
Dvarapala, Kankalamurti and Nataraja
Images of Dvarapala, Kankalamurti and Nataraja. Source: Indian Express

Dvarapala: This stone sculpture belongs to the Vijayanagar dynasty dating to the 15th-16th century. It is holding a Gada in one hand and has another leg raised up to the level of his knee. 

Nataraja: It is a depiction of Shiva belonging to the 11th-12th century. He is in tribhanga posture, standing on the lotus pedestal. Possibly, ananda tandava or the Dance of Bliss is portrayed here. 

Kankalamurti: Kankalamurti is depicted as a fearsome aspect of Lord Shiva and Bhairava. The sculpture is four-armed, holding ayudhas such as damaru and trishula in the upper hands and a bowl and a trefoil shaped object, as a treat for the playful fawn, in the lower right hand. The idol is dateable to the 12th-13th century.

Nandikeshvara: It is a bronze image of Nandikeshvara dateable to the 13th century. It is shown standing in tribhanga posture with folded arms, holding an axe and a fawn in the upper arms with his forearms in namaskara mudra. 

Four-armed Vishnu: It is dateable to the 11th century and belongs to the later Chola period. The sculpture has Lord Vishnu standing on a padma pedestal holding attributes such as shankha and chakra in two hands; while the lower right hand is in abhaya mudra.

Goddess Parvati: The image depicts a Chola-period sculpture dateable to the 11th century. She is shown holding a lotus in her left hand whereas the right is hanging down near her kati. 

Standing child Sambandar: Sambandar, the popular 7th-century child saint, is one of the Muvar, the three principal saints of South India. It is said that after receiving a bowl of milk from Goddess Uma, the infant Sambandar devoted his life to composing hymns in praise of Lord Shiva.

The sculpture displays the saint’s childlike quality while also empowering him with the maturity and authority of a spiritual leader. 

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Tamil Nadu sculptures recovered from Australia, US” published in Indian Express on 7th June 2022.

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