The South Asian galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which reopened on Jan. 8 after being closed due to Covid-19), has opened a special exhibit of South Indian devotional art. There are scenes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana carved in stone, and a pillared temple hall—or mandapa—that fills up an entire gallery. Rows of slender columns demarcate three sides of a rectangle within which 10 more life-size figures, bejeweled from headdress to anklet, face one another across a broad space.
More about the exhibition: https://philamuseum.org/calendar/exhibition/collection-highlight-temple-hall
Until relatively recently, art historians paid little serious attention to this period in South India’s art history. Crispin Branfoot, a reader at SOAS University of London, has helped give proper due to an artistic genre that flowered in Madurai from the late 16th to the 18th century. Anyone interested in finding out more about its genesis and development will enjoy “Sculpting Devotion in South India,” a talk Mr. Branfoot gave in 2019— watch the video below:[ art ] [ epics ] [ exhibit ] [ museum ] [ philadelphia ] [ sanskrit ] [ stone ]