Sunday, January 29, 2012

Great Art of Tamils: Stucco sculptures

Siva Natraja Temple gopuram Chidambram
India is a vast land inhabited with flourishing human culture from earliest times of human civilization. It evolved a unique amalgam of religions,social and cultural space that we call Indian. Since it is a vast and more varied land India has remarkable differences in the art and culture in different parts. The influence of Aryan Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism provided a new composite culture in art specially temple art. The highly imaginative Tamil artists excelled in every form of expression--sculptures  in stone, bronze, wood, murals and paintings, architecture and stucco art. Though stucco has a long history in India and it flourished during Gandhara period it is in Tamil temples it acquired new heights of creative expression. The new architectural ideas of Pallavas that led to monumental gopurams in Chola period became the space on which to create massive narratives of stucco sculptures. Tamil stucco is created in stages. The gopuram stucco sculptures are in first stage made with bricks. Next  with a mortar of sand and lime is applied to the structure. In the last stage fine mixture of ground marble powder is applied and details of the sculpture are created. The sculptures are painted when the surface is dry. Most sculptures are painted in very vivid colours but some temples have a tradition of  painting in  simple cream white colour. When you appreciate the artistic beauty of a Pallava, Chola, Pandya and Chera temple you find art at every step, every nook every corner. The lower part of gopurams generally have stone sculpture  and higher up are very colourful stucco sculptures in great numbers.
thus Tamil temples had stone, bronze, stucco sculptures, metal reliefs, murals and wood carvings.

No comments: