12th-Century Sculpture of Vishnu Unearthed in India


12th-Century Sculpture of Vishnu Unearthed in India

KARNATAKA, INDIA—The Times of India reports that a twelfth-century sculpture depicting Vishnu has been discovered at a temple site near India’s southwestern coast.

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Vishnumurthy sculpture of 12th century AD behind the panchayat office at 80, Badagabettu near a temple in ruins on January 31.

T Murugeshi, associate professor, department of ancient history and archaeology, MSRS College, Shirva who led the discovery on Wednesday said the idol was discovered in a dilapidated well near the temple filled with architectural remains and laterite bricks.

The discovery team came across this beautiful mutilated sculpture of Janardhana, popularly known as Vishnumurthy in Tulunadu after removing around 18 feet of debris, Murugeshi said.

This sculpture has ‘Karanda mukuta’ (headdress), ‘makara kundala’ (ear rings), armlets, anklets, ‘Kaustubhahara’ and nice eyebrows, nose and lips which make it a masterpiece of coastal Karnataka, he explained. It holds a ‘pinda’ in the front right hand.

The left hand is resting on the waist and the sculpture is seen holding a club. In the back left hand, one can see Vishnumurthy holding a conch, he said. Noting that the right hand is missing, he said efforts are on to discover this piece too.

In the ruins of sanctum sanctorum, only a pair of human foot parts has remained in the middle of the peetha with the upper part missing. The sculpture stylistically belongs to the period of 12th Century.

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Opining that the sculpture was a pre-Madhwa one and a best specimen of the Bhagavatha cult of coastal Karnataka, Murugeshi said reasons why the temple was razed is still mystery.

The work of restoring this sculpture, a delicate process, is on, he said adding it will be kept in the archaeology museum of the college and used for academic purposes. Research papers too will be published on the finding, he said, adding work at the discovery site is still on.


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