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The Halebidu Temple Sculptures

Listed under Works of Art in Chikmagalur, India.

  • Photo of The Halebidu Temple Sculptures
  • Photo of The Halebidu Temple Sculptures
Photo of The Halebidu Temple Sculptures
Photo by flickr user vaishalee
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Between the 10th and 14th centuries, the Hoysalas ruled a large section of central South India. Their empire is marked out in history as being responsible for the advancement of the arts in that region, and architects, artists and literary figures all found space to flourish there, allowing a number of new techniques and ideas to evolve.

The Hoysala temples are of particular note, not only for their architecture but also for the sculptural art that came with them, which focused intensely on the qualities of feminine beauty and delicacy. The Hoysaleswara temple at Halebidu is one of a pair, which is part of a Hindu complex of religious buildings set beside a lake. Guarded by a large, monolithic statue of a Nandi bull (the mount of Shiva the Destroyer), it holds a spectacular wealth of soapstone sculptures of all shapes and sizes, both secular and religious in subject matter.

Soapstone is a delicate material but lends itself well to the creation of detailed, fine carving; it is relatively soft and even-textured, ranges from deep pink to white and looks similar to marble when polished. Its characteristics are exploited to the utmost here: row upon row of intertwined animals, dancers, mythical monsters and Hindu divinities, no two the same, line every surface and appear surreal and glorious in the temple's half-light.

Written by  larapiegeler.

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