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Home > Features Of Indian Sculpture > Iconographic presentation In Sculptures
Iconographic presentation In Sculptures
Sculptural art of India can be said as the product of culture and an important mean of social control. This art seems as if regulating the lives of people and societies in contemporary era.

ShivaMyths or legends are used primarily to touch emotions of people. Most of the sculptures carved in temples narrate the tales of the deity as fighting with the forces of evil, where as the essence good always triumphs and evil is finally destroyed. Thus various iconographic forms are used to show the ten incarnations of Vishnu. Similarly, the various murtis of Shiva are carved as different manifestations in fighting evil forces.

The hand gestures or mudras found in most of the images of Buddha are meant to convey the teachings of the Buddha, or the turning of the Dhamma Chakra i.e.Wheel of Law. During the Pallava period, there was a deliberate attempt to clear the forest area & convert the hunter-gatherers into farmers. To spread this message sculptures were employed- the popular deity of that time was Somaskanda was shown as, the family trio of Shiva, Parvati and Skanda, reflecting the ``family values`` that the rulers were trying to promote. Later on, when the agriculture rooted with strong hold, the popular deity became Kamakshi, the Goddess holding sugarcane. So, very strongly social messages were passed with the help of iconic images in sculptures.

It is said that ancient cultures represented gods and goddesses, demons and symbols that were aroused out of the collective consciousness of the people as myths. So, myth formation can be described in the best way as ``a re-echo of the pre-historic and the ancient``. As far as the sculptures were concerned the myths and symbols become the raw materials and subject matter of the art. Indian sculptural art has created symbols that are recognizable and helped in binding the artist and viewer in a common context.

durgaAs the ichnographically developed imagery of Hindu deities like Shiva, Vishnu and Durga developed mainly based on mythology of sect and beliefs that rooted into minds of people. Therefore, Indian sculpture can be considered as the vehicle or channel that strongly conveys these forces to the devote visiting to the temple. But the point that captures the sensibility is the eternal presence of the image and the awesomeness of the genius power enshrined in the image of the deity.

The real skills of the Indian sculptor can be found in his imagination & visualization of the deities` ideal proportions, youthful bodies and expressions. The extent of proportion that is fixed in the Shilpa texts i.e. manuals prescribing about proportions and iconography were strictly followed without much alteration in it. Generally, the deities were endowed with attributes and most iconographical details were already decided for the sculptors & he was required to follow it. However, the expressions of various emotions, body flexions, yogic concentration and narrative compositions remained influenced by individualistic skills that allows the sculptors to experiment with forms of sculptures. Sculptors tried at every age for infusing the deity with the breath of life or prana. Sculptures of deities with their consorts, celestial beings, couples directional deities, composite animals and decorative central ideas resulted in forming the mass of images that adorned the walls of the temples and their interiors. The deities were carved strictly as per the religious cannons and installed in sacred places by performing a special consecration ceremony.
buddha
It won`t be an exaggeration to say that the more perfect the symbolism of the artistic form becomes, the art looks more beautiful. The Gautama Buddha, the dancing Nataraja and the stately Shiva lingamas are all-powerful representations of a superior intellectual process generated through icons.
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