Drunken dance of the eight-armed divinity, Shiva, rock-hewn temple, Elephanta, India
Photographer: Ricalton, James
Medium: Photographic print
Stereoscopic photograph of the Shiva Temple on Elephanta Island, near Bombay, Maharashtra, taken by James Ricalton in c. 1903, from The Underwood Travel Library: Stereoscopic Views of India. This temple dates to the 6th century and was excavated into a cliff high above the water. The columns seen in this view have fluted cushion-like capitals. On the back wall is a large sculpture of Shiva with eight arms. This is one of a series of 100 photographs, designed to be viewed through a special binocular viewer, producing a 3D effect. The photographs were sold together with a book of descriptions and a map with precise locations to enable the 'traveller' to imagine that he was really 'touring' around India. Stereoscopic cameras, those with two lenses and the ability to take two photographs at the same time, were introduced in the mid 19th century and revolutionised photography. They cut down exposure time and thus allowed for some movement in the image without blurring as subjects were not required to sit for long periods to produce sharp results.