Sculptural impact on dance | Sunday Observer

Sculptural impact on dance

24 April, 2022

Originally, the dance originated in temples. The dance poses influenced the minds of the sculptural artisans. The stands, hand gestures, body positions and beautiful rhythmic vibrancy movements of dance captured and deeply influenced the minds of the sculptural artisans of the selective study period.

Hence they tried to apply their impressed and gathered ideas which they acquired from the dance in their creativity. Therefore, they created dance based poses in their creations, especially in the Hindu icons, decorative pillar sculptures and carved sculptures of the walls.

Rhythmic vibrancy of dance poses of females along with the male dancers and male accompaniments are also well depicted on these wall friezes of the Polonnaruwa period. Similarly different poses of Ganas reveal and reflect close links and close association with the classical dance poses especially with different dance poses and with different dance nuances. No doubt that dance was the guiding factor for numerous other allied art forms in ancient times.

Prototype of Bharat Naţya called Sadir which was practiced with deep devotion. Among the four types or methods of Hindu worship in Hinduism. One of the practising forms of Hindu worship is Sariya worship. In this form of worship, the Lord is worshipped through physique. It is called Sariya worship. No doubt dance is also considered as Sariya worship.

Particular caste

Dance was practised in earlier Hindu temples rituals by a particular caste known as the devadais clan. It is considered as a method of worshipping the Lord. This temple dance was invariably influenced and impressed and attracted numerous other artistes of temple arts. Earlier temples were considered as citadels of numerous fine arts.

A primary study (personal communication based on unpublished data) in this regard which reveal some interesting facts about the old Hindu temples, their art galleries and sculptures. All these spell out the information about the historical evolution and various transitions which took place in the Sri Lankan Hindu history.

The current study also analyses the comparative data of South Indian chapter to considerable extend. This study emphasises and focuses on the fact that has the rhythm, expression, costume and aesthetic of dance.

Dance influenced the minds of the creativity of the sculptors which became the main basic guiding factor and driving force for the creation of religious icons and decorative architectural sculptures with different body positions and poses of both Hindu and Buddhist temples.

One can easily notice that most of the South Indian sculptures can be divided into different categories. Some are stone made sculptures and others are metal-made sculptures including copper, gold, silver and five mixed metal sculptures which are known as iyempon sculptures in Tamil. Even the stone sculptures are further divided into different varieties of granite stone sculptures, modern cement made sculptures and marble sculptures.

Important role

These sculptures are long lasting. However, there are ivory, wooden and clay sculptures available at ancient archaeological sites and temples. Archaeological and Hindu temple sculptures play an important role in the field of South Indian dance.

These temple sculptures could be divided into different categories. One is worshipping temple sculptures and the other is the temple decorative sculptures which could be seen on the temple pillars, on the rooftops temple towers carved in the temple walls and pillars. The Hindu temples are famous for tower sculptures referred to as temple Kopuram sculptures in Tamil.

The tall Kopurams (towers) of the temples are full of sculptures. Within the temples, on temple pillars, walls and rooftops there are plenty of sculptures around the Mandapams and Madams.

Most temple tower sculptures depict the puranic stories and epics related to the main presiding deity of the temple. The sculptures in the temples mainly depict the dance poses of various gods as well as humans. Among all these temple sculptures, the most famous sculptures depict the female dancing figures. Almost every Hindu temple structure all over the world follows the South Indian temple structural architecture and style.

Even the Hindu temple architecture of Sri Lanka more or less follows the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Hindu temple structure. According to Hinduism, the temple architectural pattern and structure should follow certain Hindu Sastras and Agamas.

The Indian Hindu temples as compared with Sri Lankan temples are quite large. The Indian Hindu temples have large corridors and fairly big art galleries. Bharatha Natyam originated from the temple Sadir, hence naturally it derived its soul and source from temple sculptures.

Sculptural statues

Some temple sculptures are only in standing positions. Some sculptures are in full sitting positions, while another set of sculptures is in half sitting positions. And these sculptures have different body positions, neck positions, glances, hand positions, hand gestures and stands and foot positions.

Some stands and postures of the sculptural statues differ from one era to another and the whole sculptural statues also differ from one area to another. One may predict that these differences might have occurred due to different influences of different regimes, as well as the role and the styles of the individual sculptor.

These factors reveal individual imaginative creativity of each sculptural artiste. That might vary from one another to a certain extent, without changing the basic Sastras and Agama traditions of the statues. These must be the main causes for the differences which arise to be analysed how the same sculptural images differ from one another in different areas and different eras.