SONNETS IN STONE

ONCE A PILE OF RUB­BLE, THE MADANA GOPALASWAMY TEM­PLE HALL OF MADU­RAI HAS NOW FOUND A HOME AT THE PHILADEL­PHIA MU­SEUM OF ART

India Today - - COVER STORY ARTI EXHIBITION - MAITHILI PAREKH

Art His­to­rian

Much like the Hindu gods who man­i­fest in mul­ti­ple avatars and rein­car­na­tions, the 60 pieces of gran­ite thought to be rub­ble by local Madu­rai author­i­ties back in 1912, had a re­birth of sorts when Amer­i­can Ade­line Pep­per Gib­son pur­chased these mag­nif­i­cent carved por­tions that be­longed to the Madu­rai tem­ple com­plex of 1560. As the story goes, Gib­son shipped these mas­sive stone sec­tions to the PHILADEL­PHIA MU­SEUM OF ART United States where a cos­tume pageant, with over 100 Philadel­phi­ans and an or­ches­tra, wel­comed “the gods of In­dia to the shores of Amer­ica.” They found a home at the Philadel­phia Mu­seum of Art.

It has taken years of ded­i­cated re­search, site vis­its to South In­dia, and metic­u­lous re­con­struc­tion by Darielle Ma­son, the Stella Kram­risch cu­ra­tor of South Asian Art, to iden­tify these as part of the Madana Gopala Swamy tem­ple NaNdi, the Sa­cred Bull of Shiva This happy bull was made as parT of a shiva Tem­ple (12001250 ad), com­mis­sioned un­der The hoysala rulers

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