The Hindu Sculptures - Part I
Exact Match
  North Indian
  South Indian
  West Indian
  East Indian
  Central Indian

  Indus Valley

  Bharat Natyam

  Indian theatre

  Indian Cinema
Home    |    Painting    |    Sculpture    |    Dances    |    Theatre    |    Cinema

Lord Vishnu As Hinduism grew in popularity, so Buddhism in India declined. Much of the greatest Indian sculpture from the 400's until the Muslim conquest in about 1200 was made for Hindu temples. One of the finest Gupta sculptures to survive is the Dashavtara temple at Deogarh in central India. On one side of the temple is a beautifully carved doorway; each of the other sides has one large sculptural image. The south wall shows the god Vishnu sleeping on a hundred-headed serpent in the ocean of eternity.

In Hinduism, the world is created, passes through many aeons, and is then destroyed, only to be created once more. Between creation and destruction, Vishnu sleeps. The problem for the sculptor is to show the god at rest and still convey his majesty, power, and benevolence.

The most sacred image in a Hindu temple stands in a small, dark shrine at the heart of the temple. Hindus believe the power of the deity flows from the heart of the temple outward: the single large sculptures on the outside walls transmit the power of the indoor image to the world. As temple design developed, the number of sculptures on the outside multiplied until the entire outer walls of the temple were covered with sculpted figures, each one intended to transmit divine power.

Different styles of sculpture developed in the north and south. Sculpture in the north was angular and decorative because the local sandstone could be carved into complex shapes. In the south, especially in Tamil Nadu, sculptors had to work most often in granite. Their works, therefore, had simpler lines and round flowing forms. Many distinctive regional styles developed within these broad divisions.

During the 600's and 700's, a group of temples were carved out of gigantic outcrops of rock at Mahabalipuram, in southern India. One huge boulder depicts the Descent of the Ganges River. The river banks are crowded with saints, pilgrims, and a variety of animals. A family of elephants is almost lifesize. Water once flowed from a tank at the top of the rock to suggest the river itself.

Ancient Hindu temples in northern India have tall, sculpted towers with curving sides that taper at the top. In southern India, the gateway towers of Hindu temples rise in rectangular pyramids made of steplike blocks of stone. Each step tells in sculpture a story about Hindu gods. The temple dedicated to Shiva at Ellora, dating from the mid-800's, was carved out of the cliff like a giant piece of sculpture. This temple shows the influence of the Mahabalipuram sculptures.


Copyright ©2000 All rights reserved.
By using this service, you accept that you won't copy or use the data given in this website for any commercial purpose.
The material on is for informational & educational purpose only.
This site is best viewed at 800 X 600 picture resolution.