G665.1 GRANITE RELIEF WITH A SHIVALINGHA AND ADORANTS
SOUTHWEST INDIA, PROBABLY KARNATAKA
CIRCA 9TH CENTURY
H. 61 CMS, 24 INS; W. 60 CMS, 23 ½ INS
An outstanding dark grey granite relief, carved in upper and lower sections, the upper depicting a shivalingha on a yoni, flanked by a Nandi bull and an attendant, surmounted by garlands generating from the mouth of a leogryph atop a rectangular column, the lower section containing a male figure, possibly Krishna, supported by two voluptuous female dancers wielding fly-whisks and wearing elaborate jewellery and trailing scarves, with a lateral dedicatory inscription.
The Chalukya dynasty [Abridged from Wikipedia]
The Chalukya dynasty was a Classical Indian royal dynasty that ruled large parts of southern and central India between the 6th and the 12th centuries. During this period, they ruled as three related yet individual dynasties. The earliest dynasty, known as the “Badami Chalukyas”, ruled from Vatapi (modern Badami) from the middle of the 6th century. The Badami Chalukyas began to assert their independence at the decline of the Kadamba kingdom of Banavasi and rapidly rose to prominence during the reign of Pulakeshin II. After the death of Pulakeshin II, the Eastern Chalukyas became an independent kingdom in the eastern Deccan. They ruled from Vengi until about the 11th century. In the western Deccan, the rise of the Rashtrakutas in the middle of the 8th century eclipsed the Chalukyas of Badami before being revived by their descendants, the Western Chalukyas, in the late 10th century. These Western Chalukyas ruled from Kalyani (modern Basavakalyan) until the end of the 12th century.
Both Shaivism and Vaishnavism flourished during the Badami Chalukya period, though it seems the former was more popular. Famous temples were built in places such as Pattadakal, Aihole and Mahakuta, and priests (archakas) were invited from northern India. Vedic sacrifices, religious vows (vrata) and the giving of gifts (dana) was important. The Badami kings were followers of Vedic Hinduism and dedicated temples to popular Hindu deities in Aihole. Sculptures of deities testify to the popularity of Hindu Gods such as Vishnu, Shiva, Kartikeya, Ganapathi, Shakti, Surya and Sapta Matrikas (“seven mothers”). The Badami kings also performed the Ashwamedha (“horse sacrifice”). The worship of Lajja Gauri, a fertility goddess is known. Jainism too was a prominent religion during this period. The kings of the dynasty were however secular and actively encouraged Jainism. One of the Badami Cave temples is dedicated to the Jain faith. Jain temples were also erected in the Aihole complex, the temple at Maguti being one such example. Ravikirti, the court poet of Pulakeshin II was a Jain. Queen Vinayavati consecrated a temple for the Trimurti (“Hindu trinity”) at Badami. Sculptures of the Trimurti, Harihara (half Vishnu, half Shiva) and Ardhanarishwara (half Shiva, half woman) provide ample evidence of their tolerance. Buddhism was in decline, having made its ingress into Southeast Asia. This is confirmed by the writings of the Chinese monk Xuanzang. Badami, Aihole, Kurtukoti and Puligere (modern Lakshmeshwar in the Gadag district) were primary places of learning.
Note: This panel has been broken in half and repaired along a vertical fracture.
References: F.H. Gravely and C. Sivaramamurti, Indian Sculpture Mostly Southern, Chennai; Government Museum, 1999.
C. Sivaramamurti, The Art of India, New York: Harry N. Abrams inc, 1977.
R. Eaton, Temple Desecration in Pre-modern India: When, where, and why were Hindu temples desecrated in pre-modern history, and how was this connected with the rise of Indo-Muslim states? Frontline Magazine, Volume 17 – Issue 25, Dec. 9 – 22, 2000.
R.H. Kulkarni, Pre and Early Chalukya Sculpture: Origin and Development, New Delhi: Harman Publishing House, India, 2009.
PROVENANCE: Private English collection.
Ex-Adrian Maynard Ltd, London.
Old Belgian shipping label attached to the reverse.
Previously sold by us in 2015.