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Four standing figures. ‘Sculptured Figures on the 2nd Story of the Square Ruddam at Mahabalipooram. Copied by J. Mustie 5th April 1819.’

Four standing figures. ‘Sculptured Figures on the 2nd Story of the Square Ruddam at Mahabalipooram. Copied by J. Mustie 5th April 1819.’

Artist: Anonymous

Medium: Pen and ink on paper

Date: 1816

Shelfmark: WD.1068

Item number: f.36

Length: 28

Width: 48.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Pen and ink drawing of sculptured figures outside a ratha 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. This drawing depicts some of the figures carved on one of the Pancha Rathas. The rathas or chariots are monolithic buildings carved out of granite and are similar in shape to the temple chariots used to carry deities in procession during temple festivities. Each Ratha is named after a hero from the Mahabharata, an epic Hindu tale.

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