The Durga Temple, Aihole, and the Saṅgameśvara Temple, KūḐavelli: A Sculptural Review

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<ul><li><p>The Smithsonian InstitutionRegents of the University of Michigan</p><p>The Durga Temple, Aihole, and the Sagamevara Temple, Kavelli: A Sculptural ReviewAuthor(s): Carol Radcliffe BolonSource: Ars Orientalis, Vol. 15 (1985), pp. 47-64Published by: Freer Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian Institution and Department of the Historyof Art, University of MichiganStable URL: .Accessed: 15/06/2014 07:49</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact</p><p> .</p><p>The Smithsonian Institution and Regents of the University of Michigan are collaborating with JSTOR todigitize, preserve and extend access to Ars Orientalis.</p><p> </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 07:49:35 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>THE DURGA TEMPLE, AIHOLE, AND THE SAN;GAMESVARA TEMPLE, KUDAVELLI: A SCULPTURAL REVIEW </p><p>BY CAROL RADCLIFFE BOLON </p><p>IN 1979 THE SAN&amp;GAMESVARA TEMPLE AT KUJDAVELLI Safigam, at the confluence of the Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers in Andhra, was cleaned of centuries of coats of plaster in preparation for its relocation to Alampur, and dismantled. This cleaning revealed the temple's abundant imagery (figs. 1 and 2).1 Although both temples were built during the reign of the Early Chalukyas (ca. A.D. 543-757), it is remarkable to find at this outpost sculpture closely resembling that seen on the sophisticated and famous Durga Temple at Aihole (fig. 3). The Kadavelli temple is here described as it existed in situ. </p><p>Also revealed during cleaning of the Kadavelli temple was an imposing wall surrounding the temple, of which only about one meter had previously been visible above the base of the temple. The entire wall is about five meters high and also bears sculpture (fig. 2). The wall extends about four meters below the base of the temple itself. Around the base of the temple, therefore, the top of the wall forms a one-meter high "railing." It seems plausible that the Dravidian- style wall was added after the Nagara-style temple was completed, in order to protect it from the seasonal flooding of the rivers. Silting then seems to have buried the wall. </p><p>The possibility that the wall was added after the temple was built is supported by the figures of its base, or gala (figs. 4-6), which are carved in a different style and are less carefully executed than those found on the temple itself. The gala includes elephant busts (fig. 5) similar to those found on the Pattadakal, Papanatha, Viropaksa, and Mallikarjuna temples, but they are most like those above the pillars of the mandapa hall in the Alampur Vi'va Brahma Temple. The Visva Brahma Temple is about twelve miles from the Kadavelli temple and seems to have been the last temple built at Alampur, probably between 690 and 696. </p><p>The presence of an enclosing wall around a Chalukya temple is also known from the Pat- tadakal VirpIksa Temple (ca. 735). The simpler (mostly buried) enclosing walls of the Alampur Bala Brahma Temple (ca. 660-90) and Mahanan- diivara Temple (ca. 660-70) may have been pre- decessors. The Durga Temple at Aihole may have </p><p>had a wall too, now lost, with its surviving gate one of a symmetrical pair. </p><p>The Kodavelli wall's tall base moldings (fig. 4) include these elements: an upana, a high padmajagatt, a multifaceted kumuda, a gala (or kantha) segmented by pilasters framing ganas (dwarfs), dancers, gods, mithunas (couples), and large elephant busts (fig. 5). The iconography of the Varaha carved on the gala is not that seen in the caves and early structural temples of the Chalukyas; it is found again only on the Alampur Viiva Brahma Temple (ca. 690) and on the Aihole Huchchapayya Temple (ca. 720). Varaha is posed in each case as if in flight, ascending from the ocean floor with Bhodevi seated on his raised elbow (figs. 6 and 7). A comparison of such iconographic and sculptural details as these to the corresponding details of other temples allows us to assign the construction of the wall to the period between 690 and 720. </p><p>The gala is surmounted by a curved eave (kapota). Above this is a garland (vyalamala) and a pilastered segment supporting the encircling miniature shrine series (kuta-sala parivaralaya). The projections of the wall correspond to the locations of the decorative shrines above. </p><p>At the southeast corner of the wall a Sala element is expanded into a rectangular matrka shrine.2 Its entrance is on the north side. The corresponding northeastern subshrine is lost. </p><p>The temple at Kudavelli Safigam is large (12 by 20 m.) and rectangular. Before it stands a small, four-pillared, open Nandi mandapa. Its Nandi, similar to the one in front of the Alampur Viiva Brahma Temple, is of a distinct type, with its head tossed up.3 The temple's sandhara plan includes a vestibule (antarala) before the four- pillared sanctum, which holds a liriga, and a large mandapa with four rows of pillars creating five aisles. The pillars of the mandapa are of two types: the outer pillars are of the square racaka shape of standard Chalukya style, but the long vertical bands on the two inner rows of pillars are unique for this period. They are carved with foliage and the shaft cubes are carved with figures. The roof above the side aisles slopes in the typical Chalukya fashion.4 </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 07:49:35 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>48 CAROL RADCLIFFE BOLON </p><p>These details of the wall and the temple's ba- sic sandhara plan are the features the Kodavelli temple shares with the Alampur temples. Yet some architectural and sculptural features are pe- culiar to this temple, such as the many sculpture- bearing niches found inside and outside the sanc- tum. Other features of the large Kodavelli temple bypass Alampur and can be related directly to the temple art of the Chalukyas' western sites, espe- cially to the Durga Temple at Aihole in Karnataka. Most striking is the similarity of niche images in the Safigamesvara and Durga Temples. </p><p>The exterior walls of the Kodavelli temple, like those of the Durga Temple, are generously en- dowed with sculpture in niches. The north and south sides of the Safigameivara Temple have four windows alternating with five niches. The east- ern niche on both sides is empty. Iconographi- cally, the program of the temple is like that of no other Chalukya temple. Starting from the south- east niche and reading clockwise around the tem- ple, one finds Yama on his buffalo; an anthro- pomorphic serpent king (nagaraja); Andhakasura; and a Siva or a guard with one hand on his hip- the other one is lost (fig. 8). On the west wall three male figures are depicted with one hand on the hip and the other holding a lotus. The north side has four figures: two more of these Padmapani-like male figures, a Nataraja (fig. 18), and a standing two-armed Lakulisa holding a rosary and a club (fig. 9).5 On the east wall wealth deities (nidhis) in niches, carved with virtuoso foreshortening, flank the entrance (fig. 10). Yamuna (fig. 23) on her tor- toise appears on the south side of the east wall. The goddess Gafiga may have appeared in the northeast niche, now empty; such a placement for river goddesses, in facade niches, is unique among Chalukya temples. Visnu appears on the east side, south corner, standing; he holds a staff, rosary, and cakra, while the fourth hand rests on his hip. </p><p>The proportions of the Kodavelli temple figures are somewhat stunted from the waist down. All are inset, high-relief figures in red sandstone, about 117 cm. high by 61 cm. wide. </p><p>A seventh Padmapani-like male figure is de- tached from its original location and was found loose within the temple (fig. 11). Two more figures of this type are kept in the Alampur Museum.6 They are carved in a distinctive broad- plane style. These are odd images for niches, especially in such quantity. Unidentifiable due to their lost attributes, they recall the placid and broadly carved door guardians (dvarapalas) of Badami Cave Temple 2 (ca. 550) (fig. 12), </p><p>although with a more extreme posture, and a more fully shaped chest. Also in the Alampur Museum is Andhakasuravadha, which may be the origi- nal image from the temple since the one placed in the niche seems a later and poor rendition.7 The fourth Kfdavelli temple figure now in the Alampur Museum may be a Lakulisa carrying an axe in his left hand. His other hand is lost. He wears a tigerskin dhott (skirt). Each standing fig- ure has a broad, round face, adopts the tribhariga pose, and has a clinging cloth covering the geni- tals, which are thereby subtly emphasized.8 </p><p>These details and the modeling of the figures are similar to some figures of the Durga Temple at Aihole. For example, the Surya (with Chaya) (fig. 13) from an eastern pillar is similarly stout and broad-chested, and the faces are similar in shape and expression. The handling of ornamentation is similar, too. Figures like the anonymous males of the Kadavelli temple are also seen in the interior porch pillar medallions in groups of mithunas (fig. 14) and in a large carved slab in the apse end of the cloister (fig. 15); the latter figure is too damaged to identify but can be described as a four-armed, standing male with two females and three ganas at his feet and a host of flying figures above.9 The Harihara niche image of the Durga Temple also shares features of proportion and modeling with sculptures seen in the Kadavelli temple (fig. 16). </p><p>The Varaha image on the Durga Temple (fig. 17) is iconographically distinct from the one on the Kodavelli temple wall. However, if we compare the modeling of the Varaha to that of the Padmapani-like Kodavelli temple figures, we find distinct similarities in the treatment of the broad chest, with its distinct muscular curvature in the pectoral area and the curved, ridged flesh- fold beneath the rib cage. The treatment of the armbands, the necklace, and the sweep of the Brahmasatra thread across the chest is almost identical in both images. If we move from the Varaha to the Narasirihha image (fig. 18) on the same temple, it is difficult to accept one scholar's opinion that the Varaha is original and the Narasirihha a replacement.10 The proportions and details are the same: note especially the armbands, the fold of flesh under the rib cage, the manner of tying, draping, and pleating the sashes, and the manner of dividing the multiple arms. Although there are differences in the quality of carving and in matters of composition, the Durga Temple images seem to be close relatives of those on the Kodavelli temple. </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 07:49:35 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>THE DURGA TEMPLE 49 </p><p>Six images of deities are still in situ within the eleven niches of the Durga Temple. All are carved in high relief on inset slabs. Lippe's opinion is that the Narasirhha is a replacement piece, a copy of the Badami Cave Temple 3 Narasirhha, which he believes to be a Pallava recutting dating to the period following the Pallava victory over the Chalukyas at Badami in 642.1 He considers the others to be original but notes that the supposed substitute Narasirinha was carved on a slab which was crudely fitted into the niche. Possibly this tailoring of the slab to the niche shape, which is also evident on the </p><p>Kf.davelli temple, is due to </p><p>the working method of the sculptors, who may have begun work on a stone without being certain where it might be placed.12 </p><p>While there do seem to be divergent sub- styles in the images of the Durga Temple, this circumstance may be the result of their being the work of different sculptors; perhaps a sin- gle sculptor was responsible for the images of Narasimiha, Vrsavahana Siva, Visnugarudasana, and Mahisasuramardini, all of which show a mas- tery of line and volume.13 These particular images are somewhat similar to those on the Mahakata Safigamesvara Temple, which share the refine- ment of surface and the taut, supple outlines.14 Comparing the Mahakuta Safigameivara Temple's </p><p>Urdvaliliga Siva image to the Durga Temple's </p><p>Vrsavahana, we find the proportions and body shapes similar and a subtlety of gesture and re- laxed attitude in both. The images of Vrsavahana and the others by this particular artist on the Durga Temple are unique within the context of Early Chalukya sculpture. These figures, buoy- ant with an energy generated by their lines, sur- pass earlier images such as the Lad Khan facade mithunas in their weight and earthiness, yet have none of the attenuation that sometimes character- izes the figures on the early eighth-century tem- ples at Pattadakal.'I There is a freshness and vigor about these images that distinguishes them from most Chalukya sculpture. </p><p>The Varaha and Harihara images, by contrast, are by a more conservative or less masterful hand. They are stout and shortwaisted, and their modeling is not as appealing as that of the other figures. </p><p>The Kudavelli temple's Nataraja (fig. 19) is so like a Nataraja now in the Aihole Museum (fig. 20) in style and iconography that one is led to suppose either that one hand carved both or that the second is a copy.16 The Aihole Nataraja's original or intended location is unknown." The </p><p>figure is most like those of the Durga Temple in style but too large to fit into one of its niches. The face is petite like that of Mahisasuramardini or Vrsavahana Siva and it is slightly less open, broad, or moonlike than that of the Kadavelli temple image. The extreme bend (bhariga) of the tandava dance pose is duplicated, and each image had either fourteen or sixteen arms, the front left one thrown across the chest in the gaja hasta gesture. The accompanying figures are in slightly different locations on each Nataraja panel, and the Aihole Nataraja adds flying gandharvas to either side of his halo. The arms of the Nataraja images were carved partially free of the slab, as were the legs. These two dancing Siva figures remind one of the lower relief image of Siva on Badami Cave Temple 1 (ca. 550), which has eighteen arms (fig. 21).18 All three figures radiate from a center point, and move in balance as they dance, like a pinwheel.* The treatment of the genital area o...</p></li></ul>


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