In this modeling of the figures of Uma and Mahesh features of the Chola art tradition are exceptionally well pronounced. Sharp nose with elevated middle, lotus-eyes, cute small lips, pointed well-defined chin, large ears with ear-lobes reaching down the shoulders, tall slender figures with perfectly balanced anatomy, curvatures and contours of raised arms and bent legs, styles of partly covered foreheads, Uma’s, with her hair, and Shiva’s, with an ornamental band, Uma’s knotted hair, laid in front over her right shoulder, and Shiva’s coiffure, alternated by a towering crown and an elaborate floral disc on the back, modeling of Uma’s breasts and Shiva’s chest part, styles of tight-clinging and grooved ‘antariya’ : Shiva’s, short, and Parvati’s, long, Shiva’s large ‘yajnopavit’, and their identical ‘kanthis’ – chains or laces worn around the neck, with moderate circular pendants are features characteristic to statue of early Chola period.
The statue is a delightful blend of contrasts. From every part of the figures of Shiva and Uma there reveal great ecstasy, emotional fervour and eloquence but without affecting the figures’ basic poise. The mute gestures of their figures reveal a dialogue more powerfully than would express any set of the spoken words. The artist has arrested the two figures into a static posture firmly fixed into a position, though strangely this static posture is composed of fluid contours, flexion and gyrating bodies exploding with energies and lively movements. The metal’s hardness seems to melt in the overall disposition of the figures, especially the sway of Uma’s hands and legs, ecstatic gestures, ‘bhavas’ on their faces, and passion in eyes, and in their overall mood.
The statue of Umasahita Shiva has been installed on a three-tiered pedestal shaped like an upside down boat. Its base consists of stylised lotus moulding. Over it is a moulding consisting of floral arabesques, and that on the top is a plain one. Towards the pointed edge behind the figure of Shiva there emerges a tall lotus-stem type column terminating on its top into a four petalled lotus. While holding Uma on his left leg and bending on his back Shiva seeks support of this lotus-stem. In the Shiva’s hand and with forked apex it looks more like his trident rather than the lotus-stem. Shiva is standing on the toe of his right leg and Uma’s figure, supported on it, almost swings above the ground. Her figure seems to gyrate around Shiva’s. As Shiva has sought support from the lotus-stem, Uma holds the end-part of her sash, and with her left ringing around Shiva’s neck, his figure. The beautifully carved sash looks like a musical instrument and as if she is paying on.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.