- Arts and Design
A FEW FEATURES OF WALL RELIEFS OF TERRACOTTA TEMPLES OF BENGAL
My wife Ruby is an artist....she paints and make ceramic sculptures.The other day she was surfing Internet to find out articles on figure-drawing . A couple of her findings attracted my notice. These two articles , however, are based on Western way of drawing human figures.
I then decided to compare the proportion of 'Krisna', as depicted on two terracotta panels with that of a statue of Vishnu of Hoyshala style from a temple in south India.. At the same time, I compared some of the special features of the two 'Krisna's with those of this 'Visnu' .
The two Krisnas we have here are from two periods.The first one is from Shyam-Rai temple, built in Bishnupur during 1640s. The second one is from Radh-Govindahjiu's temple at Antpur. This was constructed during the second half of 18th century.
The one from Shyam-Rai temple has a beautiful canopy, This is a part of the 'Ras-leela' panel , ....we find Krisna with Radha and a gopi . There are two more gopis on the canopy, celebrating the union of Krisna with Radha.The female figures here are equally tall .The lower halves of the faces are unique in shape.Neither of these three faces has a visible neck. The height/head ratio appears to be between 5.5 to 6.
Krisna from Antpur temple, has a simple canopy.He is alone .... no gopi around.The statue or 'relief' is covered with fungus, but, it is clear that Krisna here, like the one from Shyam-Rai temple,wears no ornaments other a garland round his neck.His face is conventional, He has a neck, approximately 40% of the size of the head, ie, Head/Neck ratio is 2.5 .Height/head ratio is 8.
Vishnu from the Hoyshala period temple has a very ornate canopy, He wears many ornaments .He has one consort each on both left- and right-hand sides.Both the consorts are far shorter than Him, which means their importance is much lesser than that of Vishnu. His Head/Neck ratio is 4.5.
These figures show that the proportions for the terracotta panels or reliefs , used by Bengal's artisans, were different from those used by artisans in South India. We can take more examples to elaborate this point. I welcome comments as well as inputs about reference books/articles on this subject from my friends and readers
I acknowledge having used two articles from Internet :
2.Photo taken by Dhruba Banerjee and published at :