Mahabharata in Art with Special Reference to the reliefs of Angkorvat by Dr. Nanditha Krishna

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Presentation made by Dr. Nandita Krishna at the International Seminar on Mahabharata organized by Draupadi Trust in April 2012 at New Delhi.

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Mahabharata in Art with Special Reference to the reliefs of Angkorvat by Dr. Nanditha Krishna

  1. 1. MAHABHARATA IN ART WITH SPECIAL REFERENCETO THE RELIEFS OF ANGKOR VAT Dr. Nanditha Krishna Director The C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation Chennai
  2. 2. 4 TYPES OF STORIES IN THE EPIC1. STORIES OF KRISHNA – WONDER CHILD; LEADER; AND PHILOSOPHER3. STORY OF THE KURUS5. STORIES OF GODS AND AVATARAS OF VISHNU7. MINOR STORIES (e.g. SHAKUNTALAM)
  3. 3. A STEATITE TABLET FROM MOHENJO DARO(2600-1800 BCE) DEPICTS A BOY UPROOTING TWO TREES,
  4. 4. •• It is an interesting archaeological discovery for fixing possible dates associated with Krishna. Source: Mackays Report, Part 1, pp.344–45, Part 2, plate no.90, object no.D.K.10237.This image recalls the yamala-arjuna episode of the Bhagavata Purana. The young boy could be Krishna and the two human beings emerging from the trees the two cursed Gandharvas, Nalakuvara and Manigriva.
  5. 5. • Cave painting dating back to 800 BCE in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, shows a horse-charioteer who is about to hurl a wheel, not unlike Krishna Source: D. D. Kosambi (1962), Myth and Reality: Studies in the
  6. 6. BALARAMA-SAMKARSHANA and VASUDEVA KRISHNA ON COIN ISSUED BY GREEK KSHATRAPA AGATHOCLES .
  7. 7. • Patanjali, in his Mahabhashya (150 BCE), mentions musical instruments being played at meetings in the temples of Rama (Balarama) and Keshava (Krishna).• Patanjali also describes performances of drama and mine (Krishna-Kamsopacharam) representing the killing of Kamsa by Vasudeva.
  8. 8. A Brahmi inscription on a slab (1st centuryBCE - now in the Mathura Museum ) fromMora near Mathura mentions an image ofVrishni, probably Vasudeva, and of fivewarriors - Balarama, Krishna, Pradyumna,Aniruddha, and Samba.Source: Puri, B.N. (1968), India in the Time of Patanjali,Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Page 51. The coins ofRajuvula were found in Sultanpur
  9. 9. VISHNU / KRISHNA ON AN ENGRAVED GEM OF HUVISHKA (160-190 CE)Engraving on a nicoloseal (1.4 inch by 1.05inch) published byCunningham. The godrepresented on thisseal is a four-armedstanding Vishnu orKrishna. The godholds a club, chakraand a conch-shell,
  10. 10. KRISHNA BLOWING THE CONCH PANCHAJANYA, 2nd century CE SAGAR, MADHYA PRADESH GARUDA PILLAR FOR VASUDEVA ERECTED BY HELIODORUS IN VIDISHA, M.P. – 2nd century CE
  11. 11. KRISHNA BLOWING THE CONCH PANCHAJANYA, 8th century CE,NALANDA MUSEUM
  12. 12. KRISHNA LIFTING MOUNT GOVARDHANA • This life-size sandstone Gupta image of Krishna supporting mount Govardhana was recovered from a Mohammadan cemetery on the outskirts of Benares (Fig. 2), Sarnath Museum (ASI) Originally this image must have been installed
  13. 13. KRISHNA IN ICONOGRAPHY• Krishna is universally shown with blue skin, wearing a yellow silk dhoti and peacock feather crown.• His common iconographic forms include • playing the conch (flute in later sculpture) • accompanied by cows • with the gopas or cowherds (later, gopis or cowherdesses) • lifting the Govardhana mountain • as the charioteer (Parthasarathy) on the Kurukshetra battlefield, where he addresses Arjuna in the Bhagavat Gita • as the Vishwarupa, with multiple arms and heads and holding the attributes of Vishnu - the Ultimate Supreme Being.• Later • Dancing on the snake Kaliya • as the child on a pipal leaf floating in the water
  14. 14. NO KURU STORIES IN THE EARLY PERIOD• MAHABHARATA IS A STORY OF FRATRICIDE.• ART WAS A HANDMAIDEN OF RELIGION • GLORIFICATION OF DIVINE BEINGS • ESTABLISHED SOCIAL VALUES• STORY OF WARRING COUSINS NOT EDIFYING IN A SOCIETY THAT
  15. 15. EARLY CHALUKYA & PALLAVA ART• STORIES OF KRISHNA’S CHILDHOOD EXPLOITS• STORIES OF THE PANDAVAS AND KAURAVAS• IMPORTANT EVENTS – • KRISHNA BATTLING DEMONS • DRAUPADI SWAYAMVARA & ARJUNA SHOOTING THE FISH • DRAUPADI VASTRAHARANA BY DUHSHASANA • KIRITARJUNIYAM • DEATH OF BHISHMA ON THE BED OF ARROWS • KURUKSHETRA WAR
  16. 16. KRISHNA BATTLING A DEMON, PATTADAKKAL
  17. 17. KĪRITĀRJUNIYAM - ARJUNA fighting SHIVA PATTADAKKAL
  18. 18. DEATH OF BHISHMA (ON THE BED OF ARROWS). BHIMA FIGHTS DURYODHANA. VIRUPAKSHA TEMPLE, PATTADAKKAL
  19. 19. KURUKSHETRA WARMALLIKARJUNA TEMPLE,PATTADAKKAL
  20. 20. IRIDHARIGOVARDHANA GIRIDHARI, MAMALLAPURAM
  21. 21. KIRĪTĀRJUNIYAMMAMALLAPURAM
  22. 22. ARJUNA’S PENANCEMAMALLAPURAM
  23. 23. DRAUPADI VASTRAHARAN, Draupadi and Duhshasana HOYSHALA
  24. 24. DRAUPADI SWAYAMVARA,Arjuna shooting the arrow, HOYSHALA
  25. 25. DRAUPADI SWAYAMVARA, Arjuna shooting the arrow VIJAYANAGARA
  26. 26. MAHABHARATA in CAMBODIA• ANGKOR WAT – Episodes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas• Built by SURYAVARMAN II (1113 - 1150 CE)• Conceived and planned by DIVAKARAPANDITA
  27. 27. HINDU TRINITY, PHNOM BOK BAKHENG STYLE – 900 CEBRAHMA SHIVA VISHNU
  28. 28. DRAUPADISWAYAMVARA -Arjuna wielding the bow, ANGKOR WAT
  29. 29. BATTLE OF KURUKSHETRA•• PANEL – 48.35 METRES LONG• KAURAVAS AND PANDAVAS FACE EACH OTHER• KRISHNA IS ARJUNA’S SARATHY
  30. 30. THE PANDAVA ARMY MOVING INTO THE BATTLEFIELD
  31. 31. THE KAURAVA ARMY MARCHING TO KURUKSHETRA
  32. 32. HAND-TO-HAND FIGHTING IN THE BATTLE BETWEEN KAURAVAS (LEFT) AND PANDAVAS (RIGHT)
  33. 33. DRONA - IDENTIFIED BY HAIRSTYLE
  34. 34. ARJUNA AND HIS SARATHI
  35. 35. BHISHMA ON HIS BED OF ARROWS
  36. 36. DEATH OF BHISHMA, BAPHUON

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