Click here to skip to content

The rock sculpture of Arjuna's Penance, Mahabalipuram

The rock sculpture of Arjuna's Penance, Mahabalipuram

Artist: Gantz, John (1772-1853)

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1825

Shelfmark: WD4206

Item number: 4206

Length: 33.7

Width: 44.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Watercolour of the rock sculpture of Arjuna's Penance, by John Gantz, c. 1825. Inscribed: 'A view of the Sculptures representing the tapass or intense penance of Arjoona Mahabalipoorum from a Sketch by Mr J. Braddock. J. Gantz'.

John Gantz and his son Justinian ran a lithographic press, but are remembered best for their watercolours of flat-top houses and public buildings in and around Chennai (Madras), dating to the first half of the 19th century. Though not British-born, they both lived and died in India, in the service of the East India Company. Mamallapuram, a tiny village south of 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 some monolithic sculptures created in the 7th century reign of Narasimhavarman Mahamalla. Covering two huge boulders, 27 m long and 9 m high, is the remarkable carving in low relief seen in this drawing. The scene has been interpreted as the story of Arjuna's Penance from the great Hindu epic, The Mahabharata.

Search within this collection

Elsewhere on our websites

Newsletter

Latest events - register free online

Mobile app

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Email link to a friend

Write a brief note to accompany the email

Your friend's email address: