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Day 1 – Q 3.Instead of the classical dignity, sobriety and simplicity, the Medieval school of sculpture tend more towards ornamentation, creating highly ornate art objects. Elucidate.

3. Instead of the classical dignity, sobriety and simplicity, the Medieval school of sculpture tend more towards ornamentation, creating highly ornate art objects. Elucidate. 

शास्त्रीय गरिमा, संयम और सरलता के बजाय, मध्यकालीन मूर्तिकला अलंकृत कला वस्तुओं के निर्माण तथा अलंकरण की ओर अधिक ध्यान देते हैं। स्पष्ट करें।


Medieval  Indian sculpture clearly demonstrate that as styles went on developing the sculptors frequently departed from the Shilpashastra, texts and rules laid down, and delighted in those departures and the liberties they took with the bodies of humans and even of gods and goddesses.


  • The sculptor had attained sufficient dexterity, maturity and skill to be able to infuse a certain individuality in his work of art. This is a sign of dynamism. If art has to grow, it has to react to the changing circumstances of different times, inclinations, tastes to reflect contemporary society.
  • The most remarkable achievement of the new artist of this age was to contribute a dreamy, floating quality to the figures of the flying gods and freer movement than in the classical period and there is a tendency towards increasing elegance and slenderness of form.
  • There is a new beauty in women. The hips are more slender, the waist more supple, the legs longer. The face still continued to be stylized and the breasts full and firm. The woman is no longer the mother goddess but a divine charmer. One such superb example of the sculptor’s art is a lovely figure of Vrikshika, or a celestial damsel, from Gyraspur, in Gwalior, standing in a gracefully flexed pose, against a tree. 
  • An artistic movement of great importance flourished under the aegis of the Pallava rulers of Kanchi in Mahabalipuram. Some of the outstanding sculptures that are credited to their patronage are the Mahishasuramardini in relief, Girigovardhana panel, Arjuna’s penance or the Descent of the Ganga, Trivikrama Vishnu, Gajalakshmi and Anatasayanam. The Pallava style concerns itself with a tall and slender physiognomic form. The thin and elongated limbs emphasise the tallness of the figure. The female figures are much lighter in appearance, with their slender waists, narrow chests and shoulders, smaller breasts, sparse ornaments and garments and generally submissive attitude.
  • 8th century the Rashtrakutas created the greatest wonder of medieval Indian art in Kailasa temple at Ellora. Carved out of a hill and solid rocks, magnificent carving shows the Rashtrakuta style of tall and powerfully built figures, reflecting with spiritual and physical poise. The beautiful architectural rock sculpture from Cave No.29 at Ellora shows the marriage of Siva and Parvati. Siva holding the hand of the Parvati occupies the centre of the composition. Another magnificent sculpture at Ellora is a panel depicting Ravana shaking mount Kailasa.
  • A good example of Chola craftsmanship in the 11th century is the relief carving of Siva as Gajsurasamaharamurti. The irate god is engaged in a vigorous dance of fierce ecstasy after having killed the elephant-demon. The later phase of Chola art, in the 13th century, is illustrated by the sculpture showing Bhudevi or the earth goddess as the younger consort of Vishnu. She stands in a gracefully flexed attitude on a lotus base holding a lily in her right hand, while the left arm hangs along her side in lolahasta.

Conclusion :

Instead of the classical dignity, sobriety and simplicity, the sculpture in medieval school  tending more towards ornamentation, creating highly ornate art objects, with strange and unusual imaginary creatures, such as half human, half monsters, etc. The characteristic new form of style of art is the difference with classical art in attitude, if not in skill and aptitude. Loveliness and idealization are still the artist’s passion, but love of the ornate, decorative details is now dominant over classic simplicity. There is more complication, ornamentation and enrichment.


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