Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Saturday, July 4, 2020

Study on tribal life leads to discovery of Chola sculptures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epigraphists during an explorative study near Chemmedu of Kolli Hills in Namakkal district discovered three Chola-era sculptures, likely to be dating back to the 10th. One among them is the sculpture of the deity Jeyshta. The team stumbled upon the sculptures on the outskirts of Karayankattuppatti village where they had been carrying out a study on tribal life and culture. The ornaments and symbols, say experts, are typically from the Chola era but the exact date could not be ascertained. Sculptures of Mahishasuramardini were estimated to be from the 12th century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Jeyshta is the elder sister of goddess Lakshmi. Also known as Muuttadevi, this deity is mentioned in the ancient Tamil literature Thirukkural where she is referred to as Thavvai and Mamugadi,” said R Kalaikkovan, director of Dr M Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research. Seated on a bench with a flower medallion fixed to her head gear, she is adorned with ‘karanda makuta’ (crown), ‘kundalas’ (earrings), bangles and rings, charappali (broad necklace) and ‘swarna vaikaksha’ (gold ornament that encircling the front and back). Her right hand is in ‘abhaya’ (bestowing protection) and the left hand is kept on the thigh. Her son Nandhikesvaran also known as Manthan and her daughter Agnimatha are seated in ‘suhasana’ on two raised pedestals seen one on each side of her. Her son with the face of a bull has a staff on his right hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the Mahishasuramardini sculptures is in a standing posture with her feet resting on the head of the defeated and demon Mahishan. Holding bow and arrow, and sword and shield, a beautiful deer can be seen standing behind her. “Absence of the usual objects - the chakra and the conch - is significant and differentiates it from the urban counterparts,” said R Akila, who was part of explorative study. In the other sculpture, the hands of the deity are in ‘abhaya’ and ‘dola’ (simply hanging on the side). The hands of this icon, as in the usual Durga images, have the conch and chakra. “Commonly the right hand of the deity is used to show the ‘abhaya’ mudra whereas here it is with the left hand,” said Kalaikkovan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical find: Epigraphists found sculptures on the outskirts of Karayankattuppatti village where they had been carrying out a study on tribal life and culture.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: The Times of India, 11 February 2020, Chennai.