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Halebid. Hoysalesvara Temple. Detail.

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Halebid. Hoysalesvara Temple. Detail.
Author(s): Rowland, Benjamin
Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham
Keywords: Hoysala, South India, Mysore;architecture;stone sculpture;book scan
Series/Report no.: Basham Collection
Description: [A] feature of Hoysala temples is the incrustation of sculpture that covers them literally from top to bottom. The material of most of these shrines is chloritic schist, a very fine-grained stone much more tractable to the chisel than sandstone or granite. It has the added virtue of being soft to work when first quarried and turning to adamantine hardness on exposure to the air. Underlying the plastic exuberance there [is] a strict iconographical framework governing the installation of divinities and epic narratives. Hoysalesvara temple surpasses all others in the prodigality of its sculptural embellishment, and shows the fixed order of decoration for the base: in the lowest tier is an endless defile of elephants, symbols of stability
next a row of lions, emblems of valour
above a tier of horsemen for speed, and still higher makaras and hamsa, the geese or birds of Brahma. Above this again, is a frieze of divinities conceived like so many separate panels set side by side, each suggesting an enormous enlargment of a small sculpture in sandalwood or ivory. A kind of Rococo over-ripeness, but however smothered in carving, it actually carries out and does not interfere with the main structural lines of the building it ornaments.
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-1654


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