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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chennai Government Museum - Bronzes of Hindu Gods & Goddesses

Hindu Religion has three primary deities: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer . They are termed as Trimurthis. Similarly their respective consorts or Goddesses are Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati ( Durga, Kali, Shakti).
Nataraja (Lord of Dance) is a depiction of Shiva as the Cosmic Dancer who performs his divine dance to destroy a weary universe and make preparations for God Brahma to start the process of Creation. Chennai Museum has a fantastic collection of bronzes which I was fortunate to be able to photograph and some of these are presented below for your viewing:

1. Shiva & his consort Shakti (Parvati)

2. Sukhasana (Shiva) (Thanjavur - 10 Century AD)3. Adhikara Nandi
4. Can you identify this bronze?
5. Durgai (a form of Shakthi)6. Maheswari ( another form of Shakthi)7. Somaskandar ( Siva,Parvati & Little Muruga)
8. Mahisasamardini
9. Maheswari (Velankanni - 11th Century AD)
10. Ardhanareeswarar - Half Shiva (left) & Half Parvati (right)
11. Chandikeswarar ( the accountant of the Gods)
12. Vishapaharanar (Shiva) - 9th Century AD
13. Tripurantaka - 11th Century AD
14. Natesa or Nataraja (a dancing form of Shiva)
15. Nataraja16. Parvati or Shakthi - consort of Shiva17. Figurines of Parvathi
18.Sivakamasundari or Parvati19. Parvati - 14 Century AD20. Kali21.Kali
22. Bhadrakali (popular form of Goddess Parvati worshipped in kerala)23. Trisoolam - Kali's weapon of destruction24. Tirugnanasambandar - The famous saint who has sung praises of the Lord Shiva25. Ayyanar on elephant back
26. Tirugnanasambandhar27. Can you identify this figure?28.Can you identify this figure ?29. Chandikeswarar - 15 century30. Appar - another famous saint
31. Trisulam32. Trisulam33. Ardhanareeswarar34.Trisulam
35.Can you identify this figurine ?
There will be more bronzes to follow in the next series which will focus mainly on Nataraja.


  1. The images do give such an ancient look!

  2. Wonderful array of sculptures. And that they let you photograph is a bigger wonder. My favourite of all times is the "Natarajan".

    The temples in Tamilnad have some strange customs and rules. They don't let you photograph. They shout ,"kadavulley photo edukka koodathu".

  3. superb!!!!!
    what an artistry...
    and i solved 1/3rd of the task...
    i think the 27th fig is of Lord Rama..
    tell me if i'm right??? or wrong :-(
    rest two doesn't have any identifiable


  4. This is a fascinating assortment of Hindi holy figures. I'm amazed by all of the gods and godesses, and also by the intricacy of the sculptures.

  5. Very informative post. Excellent photos. Kudos to you for this wonderful post.

    Best wishes,

  6. Appa - your title says "Hindi" instead of "Hindu" :-)

  7. No.31 and other thrisoolams are unique. Haven't seen anywhere else like these.

    2 Thirugnana sambandar figurines. Why in the dancing pose?

    You have got patience to take so many clear pictures with details too. Thank you. This post might become a document.

  8. Amazing and all in bronze!

  9. wonderful collection of sculptures...i like Nataraja moorthies..identifying these is so difficult...will surely give a try correct me if I am wrong.

    4. Parvati devi
    27. Sri Ram
    35. Sakthi

  10. @anilkurup: Thanks. The Museum charges Rs.200 for camera. So it was official. Yes in Temples in Tamilnadu & Kerala they do not permit taking pictures. I have another series of bronzes to follow,comprising mainly Nataraja Bronzes.

  11. @Expression: Thanks. Well #27 appears like Rama but I am not sure. Normally Rama does not appear with folded hands. I suppose another trip will have to be made to the gallery to verify this !

  12. @Sandhya: Thanks. Yes this could become a document, hence I have sent the blog link to "Bronzes of India" group in Facebook.
    Tirugnana Sambandhar was a child saint - hence the sculptor has shown him in a childlike dancing pose.

  13. @Bhavana: Thanks for pointing out the eroor. I have corrected the title suitably.

  14. @Sobha Shyam: Thanks for the attempt & hope you are right.One may have to go back to the museum gallery to verify this.

  15. @Raji Muthukrishnan: Visit the museum today :)

  16. These are so cool. What a treasure, and preserved so well through the centuries. Is #3 Parvathi? I don't know!

  17. sir,

    nice collection and captured beautifully...

    indeed info...

    thanks for sharing

  18. Pic #27: Just received confirmation from from Vijay Kumar of "Bronzes of South India" that this bronze is that of Saint Kannappa Nayanar who was born a hunter before becoming a devotee of Shiva.

  19. some wonderful bronze sculptures....I saw a lot of similar ones in madurai meenakshi amman temple!!

  20. Many of my very favorites! [7, 12, 14,33] Thanks for snapping. # 8 is Nisumbhasudari, a form of Durga but as slayer of Demon Nis[h]umbha.

  21. Superb.. I did no realize that the useum had so many such beautiful exhibits. You have done a wonderful job of capturing these beautifully.

  22. We have been to museums in our lifetime.. but never have we been able to such wonderful documentation!!

    But, isnt photography prohibited?

  23. @Injamaven: Thanks for the feedback reg. Nisumbasudini. Glad you enjoyed the pics.

  24. @Anupama: Thanks.Photography is permitted here. Camera is charged @ Rs.200.

  25. @Sridharan: Thanks.Glad you like the pics

  26. wow, such incredible statues of celestials and gods!! I love your culture so much, it is so rich and captivating!!!

  27. Excellent sculptures and statues.

  28. Beautiful! Love them all. I have a small collection I brought from India.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. @Maryam Maquillage: I can promise you that your visit to India will be quite exciting !

  31. That is a wonderful collection. Excellent works of art. Thanks for capturing them beautifully. :)

  32. Beautiful bronze idols. True treasure.

  33. Wow, looks like a comprehensive series of images on the bronze statues. Well done...Thomas

  34. Really amazing and so interesting!

  35. Beautifully covered. I too have covered them and I am trying see what could be done with the background so that we have only the bronzes and not other things.

  36. Another great post!
    Thanks for sharing.

  37. A laudable work enabling those who cannot visit to see the great pieces of art.

  38. Dear Friends,

    For all your info.

    27.Kannapa nayanar
    28.Parvati and her consort
    35.Vishnu durgai.

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