“CULTURE IN SCULPTURE” – ‘HAMPI’
The sculpture of Hampi is popular for its rock cut sculptures. Huge slabs of rocks have been chiselled out and given the form of the beautiful sculptures. Unfortunately, the temples of Hampi are in ruins today. Images of gods, goddesses and animals dominate the temple sculptures of Hampi. Built during the VijayaNagara Empire the features of Hampi sculpture reflect the architectural elements that were commonly used during this dynasty.
Hampi is like an Open -air Sculptural museum of famous temples and monuments of Hampi are Virupaakshar Temple, 6.7 m tall monolith of the fearsome deity Ugra Narasimha or Lakshmi Narasimha, is located in the south of the Hemakuta group of temples that includes the Virupaakshar Temple, Vijaya Vitthala Temple, a finely-sculpted chariot at the heart of the complex, The King’s Balance, AchyutaRaayar Temple, Krishnar Temple, Archaeological Museum, Hazara Raamaa Temple complex, Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy temple, Lotus Mahal, MahaaNavami Dibba, Courtyard, and an element of the VijayaNagar style is the carving and consecration of large monolithic statues, such as the Sasivekalu Ganesha and Kadalekalu Ganesha, Ugra-Narasimha seated on the seven-hooded snake Aadhisesha, the monolithic Badava Linga, Queen’s bath, royal elephant stables, the King’s balance and the gigantic Ganesh — all hewn gloriously in stone at Hampi
The Bas-relief on the outer walls depict processions of elephants, horses, soldiers, dancers and musicians. There are also carvings of women in the royal harem, who were well versed in music, literature and other fine arts. Women occupied a respected position in Vijayanagar society. Besides accomplished musicians and dancers, women excelled as astrologers, soothsayers, judges, writers and eminent litterateurs, and many were actively involved in matters of administration and trade.
The main feature of Vitthala temple is its impressive pillared halls are carved with an array of sculptures on the giant granite pillars. The stone chariot located inside the campus is an iconic structure of Hampi. The chariot is built on a rectangular platform. All around this base platform is carved with mythical battle scenes. The four giant wheels attached mimic the real-life ones complete with the axis shafts & the brakes. A series of concentric floral motifs decorate the wheels. The northern hall is surrounded with a series of pillars with various facets of Narasimha (the man-lion incarnation of Vishnu). The most notable ones are that of Narasimha slaying Hiranyakashipu on his lap. Prahlaadhan is seen sitting at the base in a praying posture. The outer wall of the sanctum is richly decorated with the Kumbha-Pankajas.
Portrayal of Communal Culture in Vijayanagara Sculptures
Dress, ornaments, make-up, hair styles, furniture, swings, mode of transport, games, cultural activities, dance music, wrestling, dueling, fight with animals, popular amusements, hunting, child care only are scrutinized for their sculptural wealth is also given in the above list of temples. VijayaNagara, Hampi sculptors have relied on the Puraanas, Raamaayanam and Mahaabhaaratham for the subject. However, they did not miss a single opportunity to depict contemporary social life on independent panels on pillars, verandahs, and foundations of buildings. They are represented as down-to-earth human beings. The sculptors have also taken care to make almost a photographic depiction of dresses and ornaments.
Hazaare Raamaa temple has five continuous sculptures that cover the outside of the enclosure wall. The panels display processions of horses, elephants, attendants, soldiers, musicians and wrestlers witnessed by a few seated royal figures around the temple.