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Sculpture of Mahakali. Ramesvara Cave (No. 21), Ellora

Sculpture of Mahakali. Ramesvara Cave (No. 21), Ellora

Artist: Taylor, Philip Meadows (1808-1876)

Medium: Pencil on paper

Date: 1837

Shelfmark: WD127

Item number: 127

Length: 56

Width: 33.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Pencil and wash drawing by Philip Meadows Taylor of a sculpture of Mahakali in the Ramesvara Cave (No.21), at Ellora, dated 1837. Inscribed on front in pencil is: 'Skeeton Groupe. Rameswur. Ellora.'

Taylor made this and the following sketch when journeying to Bombay to catch his boat.

The spectacular site of Ellora, in Maharashtra, is famous for its series of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples excavated into the rocky fa├žade of a cliff of basalt. The works were done under the patronage of the Kalachuri, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta dynasties between the sixth and the ninth centuries. The Hindu cave of Rameshvara was excavated in the late 6th century. The cave is adorned with a series of finely executed, fully modelled sculptures. A courtyard with Nandi seated on a plinth on the middle and side shrines leads to the verandah. Large figural panel in the verandah depicts various scenes in which Shiva and Parvati are involved. This drawing represents the skeletal Kala and Kali carved on the right end shrine. Kala is the god of death and Kali, his consort, represents the most wrathful form of the Goddess. Kala is depicted with four arms. One of his legs is held by his son, who is looking towards his mother who is holding a human head in her hands. Kala dances, overwhelmed with joy. On the right side of Kala, above, a flying figure of a Vidyadhara brings offerings.

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