Visit in a museum is not a usual thing to do for people who are busy earning for their living. But when one does it is such an awesome feeling because there is the sense of feeling you have the connection from the past.
You have seen how our societies have developed to what it is now. Museums in one way or two is the connecting line of people in the present from the past no matter of their nationality, ethnicity, or simply where they are and where they came from.After visiting the museums, I’ve seen some artifacts or objects from India. I somehow had the glimpse of how they were before.
How the civilizations have changed and how India have transformed to what it is now. I have also thought of the great things they have contributed to the present world. The ancient civilizations maybe gone but what they have done is remarkably awesome.The two objects that I have chosen are the Bronze Image of Natraja from Chola Dynasty and the Gupta Buddha Head from Gupta Dynasty.
These two show how rich the arts of India and these show that the said dynasties have contributed a lot in the arts not only in the development of the society. Both dynasties have their own great contributions in culture that are still useful today. The two dynasties, aside from expanding their governed territory also enhanced the culture and produced prominent people who later on contributed great works in art and literature. They might differ in terms of expertise but they have common denominators that made them the same in a way or two.
Like what I have said, India wouldn’t be India without the two dynasties that ruled India. They have made contributions that are still useful today and can be considered as a mileage in the rich culture of India. Aside from that, they have also contributed to the world that somehow shaped it to be part of the wonders of the world.If Gupta period was considered the Golden Age of Sanskrit, the sacred language of the Brahmans, the Chola period was considered to have the abundance and breakthroughs in making bronze and sculptures.
(Wallbank, 1958)The Bronze Image of Nataraja symbolizes religion, art, and science, while the Gupta Buddha Head symbolizes how the Guptas looked like. They are both made with the religious purpose and having the religious nature. The sculptures also show the mystical aspect of Indian art, not to mention the realism and earthiness. The sculptures also express the deep religious experience.
(Basham, 1959)Basham also said, “The sculptures came chiefly from the hands of secular craftsmen who, though they worked according to priestly instructions and increasingly rigid iconographical rules, loved the world they knew with an intensity which is usually to be seen behind the religious forms in which they expressed themselves.”Below are my researches on the two dynasties and the two objects that I have chose that can be a proof to my claims on this paper.;The Gupta Dynasty, 4th-5th CenturyThe Gupta Dynasty is said to be one of the largest political and military empire and was considered the “Great Power”. They ruled during the 4th to 5th century in Northern India which is now considered as the Eastern part of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The rulers were considered good in conquering and handling administrative post. The Gupta Dynasty was considered the “Golden Age” in India when it comes to science, astronomy, religion, and philosophy. To Hindu and Buddhist art and literature, the empire brought the “Classical Age” because the empire contributed a lot in religion, education, mathematics, and the arts. In mathematics, specifically in Algebra the people who appeared in this empire contributed the concept of zero and infinity.
After two centuries of being the ruling empire they lost track and eventually die out due to poor governance and series of invasions to their land.(Hooker, 1996)Among the numerous contributions of the Gupta Empire, for me the Gupta Buddha Head stands out. What is the Gupta Buddha Head? Below are my researches about the said artifact.;Gupta Buddha HeadThere are significant areas that have helped to the making of this figure or artifact as I would put it during the Gupta dynasty.
One of these is the Mathura City which can be found in the mid-western part of India, the images of Buddha in this city were borrowed from the Kushan Dynasty. The Gupta Buddha Head was done using the Mathura style where the appearance and characteristics of the object shows how a Gupta looks like and these are (1.) the knotted hair that looks like a snail shell; (2) the half-closed and downward cast eyes shows the meditative quality and being religious; (3) the smooth neat skin shows beauty and grace to the figure. It also gives the appearance of being true.
(“Mathura:Evolution of Buddhist Art in India”, 2004)But as you would see the figure now, it is kind of distorted. It doesn’t look like what it is before.;The Chola Dynasty, 10th-12th CenturyThe Chola Dynasty on the other hand was called Tamil Dynasty and the most famous of them was Karikala Chola, they were the ruler in Southern India. In Asia, the dynasty had the power of military, economic, and culture.
The dynasty contributed to Tamil literature through building temples which they were patron of. Building temples for their kingdom was one of their plans, not only for worshipping but as a place of their economic activity as well. The centralized form of government and the concept of a disciplined bureaucracy were the things that they have started and contributed.The Chola Dynasty ceased out during mid of 12th century due to the rise of Pandyas and Hoysala, nevertheless they have excelled in art, religion, and literature.
(“CholaDynasty”, 2003);Bronze Image of Natraja (Nataraj)The sculpture is tagged “Shiva as Nataja – The Lord of Dance” and it depicts Shiva with its characteristics being the source of every mobility inside the perimeters of the city that is illustrated by the arch of flames. The reason of the dance is to remove the illusion of men from the idea or concept of the self and the worldly things. The said dance has gestures which embody the five activities of Shiva namely – creation, protection, destruction, embodiment, and release.(“Shiva as Nataraja – The Lord of Dance”, 2003) These gestures can be seen in the sculpture itself.
The rejection of the society is symbolized through the messy hair of Shiva which says that he is in self-denial for religious reasons. This is in contrast with his status of being a family-man. The illusion, suffering, and pain in the universe can be described in the fiery ring, while fire and water were symbolized by the outer and inner edge respectively. The dreadlocks show Ganges’ goddess.
The god of nightly love Kama, remains alive through its presence in the figure of the moon in its first or last quarter that can be seen in the matted hair. The snake which is winded up around the upper arms and neck represents the Hindu dogma of the rebirth of the soul in a new body. It also symbolizes the power of Nataraja over other deadly creatures. The hour glass which is the shape of a drum can be found in the right back hand.
The rhythmic sound which makes Nataraja dance and recreate the universe can be depicted in the drum. The flames of the fire found in the back left hand depict destructive energy which Nataraja uses in purifying sins and eliminating illusions. Those who come to Nataraja are granted with eternal bliss, this is symbolized through the left foot that is slightly elevated. The said food was also given significance with the front left hand placed across the chest with a pose that is of that an elephant trunk.
On the other hand, the right foot symbolizes the birth of knowledge through the style of having the dwarf of ignorance. The sculpture also shows Apasmara who is considered the dwarf demon and this depicts that all opposites are false which is considered an ignorant teaching. The said dwarf demon also serves as to where Nataraja dances.(“Shiva as Nataraja – The Lord of Dance”, 2003);;;;;;;;;;;;Reference:Basham, A.
L. (1959). The Wonder That Was India. New York: Grove Press Inc.
CholaDynasty. (2003). Retrieved November 22, 2006, 2006, from http://www.answers.
com/topic/chola-dynastyHooker, R. (1996). World Civilizations. Retrieved November 22, 2006, 2006, from http://www.
wsu.edu:8080/~dee/ANCINDIA/GUPTAMAP.HTMMathura:Evolution of Buddhist Art in India. (2004).
Retrieved November 22, 2006, 2006, from http://www.jcu.edu/faculty/nietupski/rl251/projects/Buddhist_art_student_project/Gupta/Mathura/Mathura.htmShiva as Nataraja – The Lord of Dance.
(2003). Retrieved November 22, 2006, 2006, from (http://www.lotussculpture.com/nataraja1.
htm)Wallbank, W. T. (1958). A Short History of India and Pakistan.
New York: Mentor Books Inc.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;BIBLIOGRAPHY;;Basham, A. L. (1959).
The Wonder That Was India. New York: Grove Press Inc.;Embree, A. T.
(1988). Sources of Indian Tradition. New York: Columbian University Press.;Wallbank, W.
T. (1958). A Short History of India and Pakistan. New York: Mentor Books Inc.
;Hooker, R. (1996). World Civilizations. Retrieved November 22, 2006, 2006, from http://www.
Retrieved November 22, 2006, 2006, from http://www.answers.com/topic/chola-dynasty;Mathura:Evolution of Buddhist Art in India. (2004).
Retrieved November 22, 2006, 2006, from http://www.jcu.edu/faculty/nietupski/rl251/projects/Buddhist_art_student_project/Gupta/Mathura/Mathura.htm;Shiva as Nataraja – The Lord of Dance.
(2003). Retrieved November 22, 2006, 2006, from (http://www.lotussculpture.com/nataraja1.htm)