Cave interior, Mahabalipuram
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawing of the sculptures in the interior of the Krishna Mandapa at Mamallapuram, by an anonymous artist, part of the MacKenzie Collection and from an Album of 37 drawings and plans of the temples and sculptures at Mamallapuram, c. 1816.
Colin MacKenzie (1754-1821) joined the East India Company as an engineer at the age of 28 and spent the majority of his career in India. He used the salary he earned from his military career as a captain, major and finally a colonel to finance his research into the history and religion of Indian culture. During his surveys he collected and recorded details concerning every aspect of Indian architecture, language and religion, resulting in thousands of drawings and copies of inscriptions.
Mamallapuram, a tiny village south of Chennai (Madras), was a flourishing port of the Pallava dynasty from the 5th - 8th centuries. The site is famous for a group of temples, a series of rock-cut caves and monolithic sculptures that were most likely created in the 7th century reign of Narasimhavarman Mahamalla. The caves are all fronted with fine columns resting on seated lions, typical of the Pallava style. The Krishna Mandapa is a columned hall with a large sculpture panel carved on the wall inside the cave depicting the myth of Krishna lifting Mount Govaradhana to protect the villagers from the torrential rains caused by Indra.