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
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