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[Sculpture on the Hoysalesvara Temple, Halebid.]

[Sculpture on the Hoysalesvara Temple, Halebid.]

Photographer: Oakeley, Richard Banner

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1856

Shelfmark: Photo 959/(19)

Item number: 95919

Genre: Photograph

Photograph by Richard Banner Oakley, of whom little is known apart from the fact that he was a member of the Royal Geographical Society, and gave some account of his travels and photographic activities in the preface to this album of albumen prints: 'Whilst travelling through the Madras Presidency towards the close of 1856, I was strongly recommended by my friend, Dr. Neill, of the 1st Madras Light Cavalry [Andrew Charles Brisbane Neill, who himself photographed extensively at Halebid], to visit Hallibeede...I was told of a wonderful Temple said to exist there, but very few of the many from whom I sought information, knew anything about it, and it was with very great difficulty, and after a march of some twenty days along the most miserable cross country roads conceivable, that I succeeded in finding this splendid Temple....Having a Photographic Apparatus with me, I lost no time in committing to waxed paper faithful reproductions of almost every portion of the Sculpture, which literally covers its wall. Of the merit of the Photographs as specimens of art, I must leave an indulgent public to judge, only observing, by way of anticipating critcism, that they were done under very great disadvantages, - a considerable portion of my apparatus was broken in the over-land journey, our servants were all ill, many at the same time with rheumatic fever, and moreover, this was my first attempt at Photographing in a hot climate. I was compelled to reject the formulae I had used in England, and adopt such as residents in the country found to succeed, or discover new ones for myself...' Halebid, in the Hassan district of Karnataka, is famous for the remains of twelfth century temples of the Hoysala dynasty. The site is renowned for the vitality and precision of its stone sculptures. The photographer wrote of this site, 'Supposed to be Parvati, in the character of Devi; the club indicates that Goddess, whereas the chank and chakra belong to Vishnu or Lakshmi'. The central figure is that of Vishnu.

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