Chola Bronze Sculpture

Chola Bronze Sculpture


The Chola Dynasty was one of the longest ruling dynasties in southern India. It started ruling from the later half of the 9th century till the beginning of the 13th century. The Chola’s have now left behind magnificent pieces of architecture, sculptures as well as grew extensively in the field of literature.

During this period, a great number of bronze statues were casted, giving importance to the sensuous figures, elaborate and detailed treatment of their clothing and jewellery. These sculptures were not only made for decoration purposes, they were heightened when people worshiped them. It not only added to the significance of the statues but gave it a greater value and recognition.

Among the numerous Chola bronze sculptures, I’m focusing on the Durga that is now found at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Durga is known as a powerful warrior goddess who destroys and battles demons. She is considered to be the sister of lord Vishnu and therefore is often found in the Shiva temple.

The exquisite sculpture of Durga, reminds me of a lithe, youthful goddess. Unlike the other female figures of that period, she isn’t as curvy or sensuous like them. Her bodily form is more like an adolescent’s body. Moreover, the position in which she is standing is symmetrical, be it the two arms on either sides, the beautifully wrapped dhoti and her short, but identical leg form. The rough details in her short, patterned lower garment is contrasting to the long dhotis worn by the other female figures, adding to the assumption of her being a young goddess. Her breasts too are softly modeled and naturalistic in profile. The way, in which her eyes are shown, make it seem like she is calm but at the same time inactive. Beneath a tall conical crown, her face is gentle and introspective. It therefore is hard to comprehend what she is doing standing in this front view position. The dull, black bronze metal complements her gloomy mood.

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