‘A pillar representing the Hindu Lion (or Singha) sacred to Durga or Kali. Place on the Gurda Stambhum before a pagoda of the Sacti near Tusdir[?] 1803.’
Watercolour drawing dated 1803, of a pillar with a lion base, taken from an Album of 56 sheets of drawings (60 folios) mainly of miscellaneous architecture and sculpture in the Deccan and S. India, dated 1793-1806, from the MacKenzie Collection.
This drawing depicts a column with a lion base, typical of Pallava architecture of Tamil Nadu and is found in numerous cave temples erected under the two Pallava rulers Mamalla (c.630-68) and Rajasimha (c.700-728).
Colin Mackenzie (1754-1821) was the first Surveyor General of India. Originally from Scotland, he came to India in 1782 as a member of the Madras Engineers. He took part in numerous map surveys, mainly in Southern India, before he was appointed to the post of Surveyor General in 1815. During his surveys in South India he collected and recorded innumerable details concerning every aspect of South Indian history, language, life and religion, resulting in possibly as many as 2,000 drawings and over 8,000 copies of inscriptions.