Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tanjore : Your source for exquisite Chola bronze statues

Anyone who requires more information may contact Mala Chandrashekhar at the Email Id :  indianartsandcrafts2008@gmail.com

( All images featured in this Blogpost are the property of their respective owners. Our deepest sense of gratitude to all of them for making this gigantic project a reality. If you see your picture anywhere in this Blog and don't want it here, send us a message with the details and the link to the picture, and we will remove it right away.)

Tanjore ( Thanjavur ) in Tamil Nadu,  is a paradise for fine bronze statues from India. Their specialty is the reproduction of antique bronze religious statues of South India’s Chola Dynasty.The iconic bronzes of the Chola Period are among the world's greatest religious art; however they are much more than just superb examples of fine Indian art. Unique among bronze religious statues, these exquisite Chola bronze figures have been worshipped since the ninth century AD as the living embodiment of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. 

The Indian bronze statues of Tanjore, evoke a dignified sensuous grace, elegance and beauty which echo the divine presence all around them.These handicraft sculptures are cast by hand in village workshops using a lost wax process unchanged in a thousand years. Age-old techniques, and a painstaking attention to finish and detail, ensure Tanjore's bronzes are virtually indistinguishable from the antique Chola originals.

If we look closely at these icons, we'll notice that Chola bronzes do not literally represent the mortal human body; rather they are inspired by spiritual beauty and  cosmic beauty.

Many poses commonly found in these Chola bronze sculpture are drawn from the science of Yoga of ancient India. Another source for these poses and gestures in Chola sculptures is Indian Classical Dance Form, which evolved in Hindu temple rituals and in performances at Indian royal courts.

Given below is a small sample of the huge collection of Chola bronze icons that Tanjore is known worldwide for :

























Shivagami

CR-SG13BP
Ht 33cm/13in Wt 4kg/8.8lb

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Shiva as Nataraja

CR-NT36A8
Ht 91.4cm/36in Wt 50kg/110lb

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Shiva as Nataraja

CR-NT15RA
Ht 38cm/15in Wt 9kg/19.8lb

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Rishavahana

CR-RI42A8
Ht 106.7cm/42in Wt 93kg/205lb

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Pavaivilakku

CR-LL24A1
Ht 61cm/24in Wt 12.5kg/27.6lb

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Parvati

CR-PS15A1
Ht 38.1cm/15in Wt 4kg/8.8lb

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Lakshmi

CD-LX32A1
Ht 81.2cm/32in Wt 30kg/66.13lb

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Lakshmi

CD-LX12NP
Ht 30.48cm/12in Wt 2.4kg/5.29lb

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Krishna with 6 hands

CD-K6H37A2
Ht 93.9cm/37in Wt 52kg/114.6lb

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Krishna dancing on snake

CR-KS18AG
Ht 45.7cm/18in Wt 5kg/11lb

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Krishna

CD-KF39A2
Ht 99cm/39 in Wt 41kg/90.38lb

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Krishna

CD-K12A2
Ht 30.5cm/12in Wt 2kg/4.4lb

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Krishna as a child

CD-KC06NP
Ht 15.2cm/6in Wt 0.6kg/13lb

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Dancing Ardhanarishwara

CD-AD39NP
Ht 99cm/39in Wt 52kg/114.6lb

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Bhoga Shakthi

CR-BS24A8
Ht 61cm/24in Wt 41kg/90.4lb

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Bhoga Shakthi

CR-BS10A2
Ht 25.4cm/10in Wt 3kg/6.6lb

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Bhoga Shakthi

CR-BS06NP
Ht 15.2cm/6in Wt 1.5kg/3.3lb
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Photographs : Courtesy Kaalita®


For more information, please write to Mala Chandrashekhar at indianartsandcrafts2008@gmail.com

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chola Bronze Sculpture : A product of Tamil creative genius

Tamil Nadu in South India has a very rich heritage of bronze sculptures at various temples and ancient palaces. These sculptures are so divinely fascinating to the senses and their artistic appeal is simply undeniable. These sensuous and sacred bronze icons are full of mystery and ecstasy.

The Tamil Nadu bronze sculptures present a quality of everlasting beauty. The divine beauty, grace, elegance and rhythm of the dancing figures and the power and life that is manifested through them, place them amongst the masterpieces of the world.

The history of metal art in South India is very ancient and it is a living art to this day. This is kept alive by the ingenious craftsmen who have preserved the precious rare ancient texts on sculpture to this day.

Among the most renowned works of Indian sculptural art are the temple bronzes cast a thousand years ago during the Chola dynasty in the Tamil-speaking region of South India.

The Pallava dynasty laid down the foundation for bronze sculpture in South India but the art was continued and enriched by the Chola rulers. We don't have any metal image from the ancient Sangam Age of Tamil history. But the present craft of bronze casting starts from the time of the Pallavas (400 A.D.). But it was during the Chola perod (900 A.D.), that the art and craftsmanship of bronze-casting attained its maximum glory. After a period of about 400 hundred years, the craft degenerated.

The Chola bronzes are products of the Tamil creative genius during the period the great Chola dynasty ruled Tamil Nadu during the 9th to 13th Century. The four centuries of Chola rule, is regarded as the age of grandeur in the history of the Tamil people.

For more than four hundred years, from the ninth to the thirteenth century, the Chola dynasty was the dominant cultural, artistic, religious, and political force in south India. During the golden age of Chola rule, philosophy, poetry, music , dance, drama, and religious thought and the arts of sculpture, bronze-casting, jewelry-making, architecture and painting reached great heights. The temple was the center of all activity during the Chola period, and the Cholas built and decorated some of the most beautiful and finest temples in south India. These temples are the centres of great tourist attraction today with visitors from all over the globe.

Hundreds of Cholza bronze icons have been smuggled out of India and have found their place into the private museums of art-collectors. The Chola bronze, Nataraja of Sivapuram became immensely famous for its price tag of 100 million dollars. What makes these Cholza bronzes so unique and so expensive in the art-market? The answer lies in their exotic beauty, their elegance, their grace and the way in which they are made,ie,the art of bronze- casting.

The Sensuous , Sacred and the exquisite temple bronzes produced during the Chola period is a time of unparalleled creativity in the history of the Indian subcontinent.

In some of the forthcoming articles im my Blog, I will direct my readers to some of the finest stores in India, where they can purchase these divinely beautiful , exquisite Chola bronze icons for decorating their living rooms and gardens. It is a living art in India to this day, in spite of many centuries of foreign invasions and Colonial rule.

Friday, September 5, 2008

India : The Cultural Hub of the World

I am from India…..the country ruled since time immemorial by the spiritually evolved ancient Aryan race and the art loving Dravidian race—the connoisseurs of fine arts.

India as you know is a country with a very rich cultural heritage. Every region in our country abounds in amazingly beautiful handicrafts and handlooms, designed and developed by extraordinarily talented artisans, both Hindus & Muslims, who are living below poverty line in our country. We have so many corporate giants in our country, but none to promote the exotic art forms of our nation in the real corporate style.
 
The only organisations, that are promoting this kind of work in their own humble way, are the State Government Emporiums and Government Handloom Houses. These Government Emporiums do have an exotic collection of exquisite handicrafts, but they are not familiar with the aggressive marketing strategies of the private sector giants , for creating huge demands for these items worldwide. Neither do they have the expertise or funds to design and develop a captivating and inviting online retail showroom like the mega online store Amazon.com, and subsequently promote it, so that even without visiting our country customers from around the globe can have an enjoyable experience of shopping in our country.

I am a wife of an Ex Indian Armed Forces Doctor and have stayed throughout the length and breadth of India during my husband’s tenure in the Indian Armed Forces. I am therefore,well familiar with the rich cultural heritage of every nook and corner of our country. Every region in our country abounds in amazingly beautiful creative wealth and has something to offer to the global customer, be it handicrafts or handlooms or handmade carpets or the irresistible regional cuisine.

There is a small village called Krishnanagar in a remote corner of West Bengal in India. The artisans in this village make such wonderful clay models that you will feel these clay dolls would come to life anytime. The themes are mostly from rural Bengal. How many people in India itself know about these regions and these crafts, leave apart people from other countries. The North Eastern states in India has such exotic, mind boggling cane and bamboo work. Every single furniture,every single fruit basket , every single wall hanging is so artistically designed with cane that you will gaze spellbound at them, if you ever visit the interiors of this region. These are just a small example of the enormous treasure that India has.
 
Engraved furniture of Saharanpur, Woolen carpets of Bhadohi, Brass work of Moradabad, Bronze icons of Swamimalai, Kangra paintings of Himachal, Kalamkari paintings of Andhra Pradesh, Pichwai paintings of Rajasthan, Silk Carpets of Kashmir, Intricate Glass embroidery work of Banaskantha, Exotic cora mats of Patthamadai, Hornwork of Mahabalipuram, Coir work of Kerala, Sandal wood crafts of Karnataka, Applique work of Orissa, Khurja and Chinhat pottery of Uttar Pradesh--The list is endless and one needs a lifetime to explore them.

There is great demand for Indian handicrafts in developed nations and the demand is constantly growing every year. Our handicrafts exports were $ 85.355 million in 1986 and in 2004 it was $ 2682.927 million .This clearly shows that the demand is growing every year.

None of the handicrafts exporters in India are utilizing the full power of the internet for promoting their sales to the extent it is possible.

I had always dreamt of launching a great Online Retail Showroom on the internet for topclass Indian handicrafts, handlooms, hand printed textiles, engraved furniture, cane furniture, handmade carpets, Agarbattis (incense sticks), Indian classical music and dance CDs and VCDs, books on Indian philosophy/ Hindu scriptures/ Indian cookery/ Yoga/ Ayurveda/ Astrology etc.etc from every nook and corner of our country.

I wanted my Online Showroom to have anything and everything which reflects the rich cultural heritage of India.I wanted my showroom to have all the great features of the mega online store Amazon.com or if possible even more than that.

I had always dreamt of sending the great works of our talented master artisans and our rich cultural heritage to every nook and corner of the globe, utilizing the full power of the internet. But my health never permitted me to do so. This gigantic work would require tremendous amount of travelling around the length and breadth of India and my health conditions would never permit me to travel around so freely around the country.

I decided that the only way I can contribute towards the promotion of Indian arts and crafts across the globe is through my Blog. This is the reason why I have created this Blog on the internet. Through my Blog, I intend promoting everything that reflects the rich cultural heritage India, including our tourism, our traditional marriages with Vedic chants, our temples which are great architectural wonder, our cuisines which are simply irresistible and countless in number and our spiritual discourses which have always moved the world like a storm and has brought about revolutionary changes in human race.

Through my Blog, I will direct my readers from around the globe to great Indian stores where they can purchase top class,authentic Indian handicrafts, handlooms, handmade carpets etc, if they are so fascinated by our arts and crafts. We do have stores selling great ethnic products, but we do not have great online stores, where buyers can purchase online from any part of the globe.If my Blog can create great demand for these items worldwide, I am sure these stores will take giant steps to become great online stores in the days to come.

This is a subject very dear to my heart. This is too gigantic a project for me to handle single handedly. I am sure everyone from around the globe, including large corporate houses will make this Blog a big success and create livelihood for the talented master artisans and weavers of India in a big way.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Opening Ceremony ...

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR ...

Indian Handicrafts
Indian Classical Music and Dance
Indian Philosophy & Scriptures
Indian Handlooms & Hand printed textiles
Indian Cuisine
Handmade Carpets of India
Temples of India
Tourism in India
Indian Astrology
Ayurveda--Ancient Indian system of medicine
Yoga