Carved pillar of the choultry of Tirumala Nayyak, Madurai 762
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawing of a carved pillar in the Tirumalai' choultri at Madurai, by an anonymous artist working in the South India/Madurai style, c. 1803. Inscribed: '89. A Pillar of the Choultry of Trimal Naig at Madura Representing the Sheva killing the Asoor who had the shape of an Elephant. Its Height is 25 feet.' 'Mysore Coll. of Drawings.'
This granite pillar is carved in high relief with a figure of Shiva killing the demon Andhaka. The projecting brackets are fashioned as figures of yalis, lion-like monsters. This is one of the elaborately carved piers of the Tirumalai's choultry, a rectangular hall set outside of the east gopura (entrance tower) of the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple. The Temple is dedicated to Shiva and his consort Minakshi, an ancient local divinity. The construction of this imposing temple-town was made possible by the wealth and power of Tirumala Nayak (1623-1659). He was the most prolific builder of a long line of Nayaka kings, a dynasty who ruled a large portion of Tamil country in the 16th and 17th centuries. The rectangular precinct covers 6 hectares and has 11 huge towers and 4 entrance gopurams. Inside this enclosure there are columned mandapas, tanks, shrines and the two temples of Shiva and Minakshi. The temple is profusely ornamented with sculpture and paintings and contains a number of valuable jewels.