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Narrative sculpture on the north side of the Amritesvara Temple at Amritpur, 1805. Second panel of the Mahabharata frieze

Narrative sculpture on the north side of the Amritesvara Temple at Amritpur, 1805. Second panel of the Mahabharata frieze

Artist: Anonymous

Medium: Pencil and ink on paper

Date: 1803

Shelfmark: WD1064

Item number: f.72

Length: 23

Width: 38

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Topographical Drawing

Pen-and-ink drawing of the second narrative sequence of the Mahabharata carved on the porch of the Amriteshvara temple at Amritapura in Karnataka. This drawing is taken from an album of 156 drawings (185 folios) chiefly of architecture and sculpture in S. India, dated 1803-08. Some drawings are by MacKenzie himself, others by his assistant surveyors and draftsmen, including H. Hamilton and J. Newman.

The Amriteshvara Temple at Amritapura, located 110 km from Hassan, is a beautiful example of Hoysala architecture decorated with fine sculpture. An inscription records the building of the temple in 1196 AD. The Hoysalas were prolific temple builders and during their rule (circa 1006-1346) they built nearly 700 monuments in Karnataka. The Amriteshvara, which is dedicated to Shiva, consists of a sanctuary with its tower, a vestibule, a closed hall, and a large open hall. The hall has half-open walls with slanting seat-back remarkably with narrative panels from the Hindu epics of the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana. On the north face of the porch of the open hall 36 panels illustrate episodes from the first three books (Adi, Sabha and Vanaparvan) of the epic of the Mahabharata which tells the story of the war between the two families of the Kauravas and Pandavas for the kingdom whose capital was Hastinapura. This great epic is attributed to Vyasa and traditionally dated circa 400 BC-400 AD. The sequence of the scenes is from right to left. Each scene is framed and separated by pilasters and floral motifs. This drawing depicts the sequence of the panels 5-10. The scenes represent, from right to left, starting from the top: the Five Pandava playing; Bhima shakes the Kauravas from a tree; Drona's vow of revenging king Draupada is fulfilled; Purochana approaches the Pandavas; the 'House of Lac' is burning; Bhima carries Kunti and the Pandavas out of the House of Lac; Bhima slays Hidimba; Bhima slays Baka asura; King Draupada obtains a son and a dauther; the Princes attend Draupadi's svayamvara.

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