Chola bronzes are part of the artistic heritage of the world; no museum can consider its collection complete unless it has one of them. This book focusses on the images that once graced the Svetaranyesvara Temple at Tiruvenkadu. Considered the classics of the Chola style, several of the images were gifts of Rajaraja Chola I and his queens. The history of the Chola dynasty provides information on the political, social and religious condition of those times and about the nature of patronage to art, architecture and the performing arts. The long-unsolved puzzle, “What happened to the Chola bronzes after the Cholas?” is explained taking into consideration the socio-political developments in Tamil Nadu after the collapse of the dynasty. The author argues that the bronzes were dispersed rather than destroyed as long believed. Discussion on the recently returned images from the Sarabhai Gallery, Ahmedabad, disputes popular assumptions about their identity and the date of those images. This sumptuous volume illustrated with 87 plates and 18 line drawings comprehensively deals with the historical, aesthetic and iconographic aspects of the Chola bronzes. Some excellent examples of Chola bronzes from the museums in the US and the UK are also included in this volume to provide a broader discussion.
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