The Historical Sculptures of the Vaikunthaperumal Temple Kanchi)

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Item Code: IDJ375
Author: Dr. C. Minakshi
Publisher: ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA
Edition: 1999
Pages: 109 (B/W Illus: 62)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 10.6 X 8.3"
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Book Description

Back of the Book

Of all the ancient places in South India there is non that can rival the ancient Kanchi (modern Conjeeveram) in the variety, antiquity and importance of ancient monuments. Here are Jaina and Buddhist, Saiva and Vaishnava temples of the Pallava, Chola and later times, which it would be difficult to imagine in any other single place. The Vaikunthaperumal temple is one of the earliest and most important Vaishnava shrines in Kanchi. It was noticed and described by Mr. A. Rea in his " Pallava Architecture". Mr. Rea has given a number of plates to illustrate the panels (vide Plate LXV, figs. 1, 2 and 3 and Plates LXXXVIII to XCII), but in his description on page 44 he merely dismisses them with the following words "On the inner walls of the court is a continuous series of stone sculptured panels, representing scenes-evidently from one of the Puranas, but which, it is difficult to say. The general grouping of the whole, and style of the figures themselves, are very similar to those on the sculptured frescoes of "Arjuna's penance", and the other unfinished bas-relief near by, at Mamallapuram. The type of the figures seems very archaic, and some representations of temples resemble the "Bhima's", "Dharmarajah's' and other rathas at Mamallapuram. Through the action of the temple priests in refusing admittance, to even the outer precincts, to a non-Hindu, a description of the panels from the originals cannot be given; such information therefore, as may be required about these and other details of the interior, can only be had by a reference to the drawings The present Memoir shows what an amount of trouble Dr. C. Minakshi must have faced in bringing out the true significance of these panels by intensive study. Her work shows an amount of critical knowledge of history and mythology which she has brought to bear on her task. The sculptures now stand self-revealed as unique illustrations of the Pallava history. The work, which was at first submitted as a thesis for the Ph. D. degree of the Madras University in 1936, is now being published as a Memoir of the Archaeological Department.

Preface

Of all the ancient places in South India there is none that can rival the ancient Kanchi (modern Conjeeveram) in the variety, antiquity and importance of ancient monuments. Here are Jaina and Buddhist, Saiva and Vaishnava temples of the Pallava, Chola and later times, which it would be difficult to imagine in any other single place. The Vaikunthaperumal temple is one of the earliest and most important Vaishnava shrines in Kanchi. It was noticed and described by Mr. A. Rea in his "Pallava Architecture". Mr. Rea has given a number of plates to illustrate the panels (vide Plate LXV, figs. 1, 2 and 3 and Plates LXXXVIII to XCII), but in his description on page 44 he merely dismisses them with the following words "On the inner walls of the court is a continuos series of stone sculptured panels, representing scenes – evidently from one of the Puranas, but which it is difficult to say. The general grouping of the whole, and style of the figures themselves are very similar to those on the sculptured frescoes of "Arjuna's penance", and the other unfinished bas-relief near by, at Mamallapuram. The type of the figures seems very archaic and some representations of temples resemble the "Bhima's" "Dharmarajah's" and other rathas at Mamallapuram. Through the action of the temple priests in refusing admittance, to even the outer precincts, to a non-Hindu, a description of the panels from the originals cannot be given; such information therefore, as may be required about these and other details of the interior, can only be had by a reference to the drawings. The present Memoir shows what an amount of trouble Dr. C. Minakshi must have faced in bringing out the true significance of these panels by intensive study. Her work shows an amount of critical knowledge of history and mythology which she has brought to bear on her task. The sculptures now stand self-revealed as unique illustrations of the Pallava history. The work, which was at first submitted as a thesis for the Ph.D. degree of the Madras University in 1936, is now being published as a Memoir of the Archaeological Department.

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