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An Ancient Hindu Royal Throne
By Deepak Bhattacharya

D - Nidarsana Saili O Chitra Bhasa

The nidarsana saili (indication methodology) is in chitra bhasa (dialect of art). Converting the same into tools to decipher, I arrive at the following.

1 - The apex crowning member is a symbolic temple cranium composed of a purna kumbha fig - 3 having a lid which signifies (i) a new architectural & engineering concept (ii) faith (iii) state of affairs which is full of resources for self sustenance (iv) symbolised by the occupant of this seat. The foliated art pattern is reminiscent of the mauryan bell capital saili 5, lotus petals on the kumbha replacing the rib pattern of the bell is significant nidarsana

fig - 3

2 – Pair of Jhapata Kesharis (pouncing lions) JK; sitting on hinds; one arm in jab position fig – 3 & 4; other butted into fore-ground to give the body a erect pose; snarl on face; symbolic human face; happy countenance & twirled up mustache. In art JK is different from Uda Singha *and from the literary titleof Unmada Singha 6. The nidarsana is of a alert Lion, who protects all those who’s symbolic art signatures constitute the crowning members. JK represents the occupant’s lineage; it is therefore the occupant’s theriomorphic signature.

* - lion with both arms thrown forward in flying mode – specimens at Lingaraj & Bramheswara vajra mastaka; Term taken from Deula Sabdakosha (The Temple Dictionary), by Kalamani Rabi Narayan Sahu.

Fig 4
fig - 4

3 - The flanking peacocks with back turned face on either side are Parasta Mayura (defeated peacock) PM fig – 4. PM signifies the defeated Mauryan power that solely represents emperor Asoka. PM now decorates the empire; the seat’s arch represents the symbolic domain of the empire; it also imparts an impression of a pidha (stepped) arch; while the occupant of this seat should have had something to do with such domains.

5 - The occupant surely had something to do with the pidha saili of architecture & engineering fig – 3. The crown of the Narasingha suggests a head gear of pidha saili (stepped model).

Fig 5
fig - 5

6 - A pair of Prasphutita Padma (full blown lotus) PP on either corners at shoulder level indicates the full bloom status of kingship on one hand & on the other may indicate the Surya-kesari-sambandha (Sun - Lion co-relation) fig – 5. Bright sunshine climate throughout the year marks the habitat of Lion & Lotus. In Orissa similar PP pairs are noted on the stele of Hindu icons dated to post 10th AD.

7 – Pair of makara (crocodile) mark the arch of the throne, which makes it a makara torana. The arch is full with Jhaleri art work in low bass relief with lotus & buds fig – 5 & 1. It is different from Mukteswara torana.

8 - At the center of the arch, below the apex member is a Narasingha motif. It has prominent Vaishanava tilak on forehead; a crown; composite human -lion face (upper portion being human – lower gives a fugged sense of lion); large oval eyes much alikechakadola #, *. Kulke 7 have re-produced a Jagannath icon having close ophthalmic configure. A prominent avian beak like nose and a pair of human fore limbs held at breast level as in Narasimha Vishnu icons in suggestive Narasimha pose. It is not Narasimha Vishnu. The placement is clearly above the head of any seated occupant. The occupant is a faithful of Hindu Vaishnava sect, is the nidarsana. The motif & its placement impart rare articulation. It is an important nidarasana via chitra bhasa in the art history of Orissa fig – 3

# - The face art has closer resemblance with the present face art of Balabhadra.

Fig 6aFig 6b
fig - 6afig - 6b

8. 1 - The Narasingha motif * wears a crown that appears to be a filigiri work fig – 2. Similar item is noted on the Damadar mukha of Lingaraj & in a chaiti on Mukteswar NE koni paga. It may be profitable to remember that silver filigiri work is indegenous to Cuttack.

* - Author has reported a Narasingha form of Jagannath at Rajarani which is different from the throne specimen.

9 - At terminal point on either side of arm’s rest a pair of Gajja arudha singha GAS are noted. fig – 6a &fig – 6b are the two sides of the throne. The nidarsana of parasta gajja (defeated elephant) signifies defeat of Dharmma (Buddhism). The jabbing Lion type is reproduced twice on this seat, rest motifs presented in single pairs. Jabbing Lion signifies a victorious sovereign & his lineage. Bhauma; Ganga or Suryavansi art is not associated with GAS motif.

10 – Above the terminus point of GAS a erect, robust, lotus bud on either side are noted as palm grip. They signify (i) Hindu occupant (ii) full control (of Hindu domain ?). Arms length position of the terminus indicates that indeed the seat was designed for human occupancy & not for idolatry. It is an important aspect in context to this topic .

11 - Flat, grooved back rest sans any art work indicates scope for mattress use; Chamara dharaka & dharini clearly establishes it to be a seat meant for occupation by a VIP. The Tala-patra pankha # (palm leaf hand fan) is the traditional type that even to this day is extensively used in Orissa fig – 6a & 6b.

Fig 7
fig - 7
Fig 8
fig - 8

12 - The base of the seat is Ratha-yukta, bhadra pitha in pancha ratha saili. accentuates the scheme & indicates the seat to be solely associated with a exalted person fig – 7.

13 - The standing person in vyakhana mudra (on a raised podium) placed at about feet level could be the depiction of symbolic court official who are expected to explain matters & provide updates to the occupant fig – 8. Full gown indicates such subordinate person too was of much senior rank.

The placement of the motifs individually & as a group impart rare articulation & brevity.

# - Palm tree leaf.

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