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HomeUncategorizedTerracotta Art on the Walls of Ratneswar Shiva Mandir, Murshidabad

Terracotta Art on the Walls of Ratneswar Shiva Mandir, Murshidabad


On the lower right portion shows a dancing girl, with a female “Tabalchi” behind her, singing and dancing before a nobleman. Below and behind him are tiny proportional figurines of a troupe of musicians playing a variety of instruments. On the left, the lowest panel shows noblemen reclining, recumbent on luxurious divans. Above them a king and queen are seated in court surrounded by courtiers. To the right a wedding is taking place and even the auspicious mango leaves overhanging the couple are individually distinct. At the centre is a nobleman or prince seated on a throne with a lady and they are shown as if engaged in conversation. The entire facade is split into two by beautifully carved series of “mangal-ghats” set vertically above one another. The second arch is an overhanginging cornice cupported on nine twin tigers standing on their hind feet. The smaller arch above supports a series of 24 tiny panels depicting the Dasavatara flanked by ganas Narada, Kali.. etc. The arches up to the second tier are flanked on either side by a series of vertical panels, 14 in number. Those on the right show incidents from the Krishna myth while on the left are scenes from the Ramayana.

On the western facade there is a remarkable terracotta panel of the complete Mahisasura Mardini manifestation with Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartick and Ganesh. On the top of this is a rectangular space on to which has been set a contemporary scene of hunting. Two barefooted bunters with turbans are shown carrying hawks in cages with hunting dog, shield, bow, muskets, water bottle and knives. Turning to the northern face one is immediately struck by the massive sculpture of the Vamananatara. The sculpture is damaged severely, and one can see the legs of the bowed Bali. But the three steps taken by Vamana are clear. This magnificient piece is surmounted by a superb representation of the Rasa-lila which too is damaged. On the top appears two Vaishnav gurus with their disciples. On the centre of the Eastern facade there is a figure on a throne, wearing a turban of the 18th century. This facade is damaged. On the top of this we find on the left Gour-Nitai, and on the right Radha-Krishna.

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Images: Collected



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