Saturday, May 28, 2022

அமெரிக்கா சென்ற மதுரை மதனகோபாலசுவாமி கோயில் கல்தூண் மண்டபம் மீட்கப் படுமா?

அமெரிக்கா சென்ற மதுரை மதனகோபாலசுவாமி கோயில் கல்தூண் மண்டபம் மீட்கப் படுமா?

முனைவர், நா.ரா.கி. காளைராசன் 


1912ஆம் ஆண்டு ஒரு வரலாற்று நிகழ்ச்சி நடந்தது.  ‘சிப்சன்’ என்ற அமெரிக்கக் கலைஞர் இந்தியா வந்தார். மதுரை நகர்க் கோயில் சிற்பங்களைக் கண்களிக்கக் கண்டு மகிழ்ந்தார்.

இவற்றுள் சிற்ப வேலைப்பாடமைந்த ஒரு சிறு கல்தூணையாவது அமெரிக்காவுக்குக் கொண்டு செல்ல வேண்டுமென விரும்பினார்.   அதற்காகப் பல நண்பர்களின் உதவியை நாடினார்.
https://temples-kalairajan.blogspot.com/2019/08/blog-post.html
அப்போது மதனகோபால சுவாமி கோயிலுக்கருகில் பல கற்றூண்கள் இடிந்து பயனற்ற நிலையில் கிடப்பதைக் கண்டார்.  அவற்றை விலைக்குத் தர முடியுமா என விசாரித்தார்.  கோயில் நிர்வாகத்தினருக்கு அக்கற்கள் தேவைப்படவில்லை.  இடம் காலியானால் போதும் என்று அவற்றைக் குறைந்த விலைக்கு சிப்சனிடம் விற்றுவிட்டனர். 
36 தூண்கள் கப்பலில் ஏறி அமெரிக்கா சென்றன.  அழகான ஒரு மண்டபம் அமைப்பதற்கு அவை போதுமானவையாக இருந்தன. 1920இல் பிலடெல்பியா நகரில் இந்திய பாணியில் கோயில் மண்டபம் கட்டப்பட்டது.  
பல்லாயிரக்கணக்கான மக்கள் அதைக் கண்டு களித்தனர்.  18 ஆண்டுகள் அம்மண்டபம் பொது இடத்தில் வைக்கப்பட்டிருந்து பின்னர் பிலடெல்பியா பொருட்காட்சி சாலையில் உள்ள இந்தியப் பகுதிக்கு மாற்றப்பட்டது.
இன்றும் மதுரை மாநாகர் சிற்பிகளின் கலைத்திறனை அமெரிக்க நாட்டினர்க்கு அறிவித்த வண்ணம் அம்மண்டபம் நின்று கொண்டிருக்கிறது.  அலைகடலுக்கு அப்பாலும் தமிழர் சிற்பத்திறம் புகழ் பாடுகிறது.  கடல் கடந்த நாடுகளைக் கடந்தும் தமிழர் வளர்த்த அழகுக் கலைகள் சிறப்படைந்துள்ளன. (மதுரை என்ற புத்தகத்தில் பக்கம் 37இல் உள்ளபடி)/
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“New information is revealed about the collection’s centerpiece, the south Indian Pillared Temple Hall from the city of Madurai. A part of the Art Museum’s collection since the museum was located at Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall, scholars had been stumped as to where the Temple Hall, which dates to about 1560, could have stood in Madurai. Curatorial research debunked the 1940s theory that it came from deep within a temple complex. As a new video shows, it was actually an exterior celebratory space in front of the central Krishna-Vishnu temple in the compound of Madana Gopala Swamy.

So how did these huge granite carvings come to the Philadelphia Museum of Art? Adeline Pepper Gibson, a member of a wealthy Philadelphia family that served as a nurse during World War I, found them among piles of rubble and purchased them from temple authorities in 1912. The family gave them to the museum after Gibson’s death in 1919, and according to the museum, it’s the only pre-modern Indian temple architecture outside of South Asia.”
http://www.tickettoentertainment.com/blog/2016/10/14/exotic-essence-of-south-asia-transformed-philadelphia-museum-of-art-space-re-opens/அன்பன்
காசிசீர், முனைவர், நா.ரா.கி. காளைராசன்; ஆடி 22 (07.08.2019) புதன்கிழமை.

 When a mandapam with all its parts was sold

KRA Narasiah MAY 25, 2022 

The pillared temple hall at Philadelphia Museum of Art. | Photo Credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art    Some facts are stranger than fiction. It is hard to believe that parts of a Madurai temple mandapam could be sold to an American lady in 1912. Adeline Pepper Gibson of Philadelphia, who served as a military nurse, while travelling in India, liked the parts lying about. She purchased the pillars and stone articles of the Madanagopalaswamy temple and shipped them to the U.S.

Unfortunately she died, while in service, at Nantes, France, on January 10, 1919. When the consignment reached the U.S., it was cleared by her relatives Mrs. J. Howard Gibson, Mrs. J. Norman Henry and Mr. Henry Gibson and presented to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in August 1919 in Adelaine’s memory.

When I was researching for my book on Madurai, I visited the Madanagopalaswamy temple. I was told by an elderly priest that there was a mandapam in front of the Andal shrine that was taken away by an American lady. Then I came to know that the components of a mandapam were indeed sold to an American lady and they were assembled and exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

I got in touch with Dr. Darielle Mason, then curator of the museum, who gave me the details and sent some pictures of the mandapam. I understood various details from the museum’s literature and the mails received from the museum.

To assemble the pieces in proper order, the structure had to be studied thgoroughly. When W. Norman Brown (1892-1975) was appointed the curator of the museum, who was at that time the chair of Sanskrit at the University of Pensylvania, he undertook a study by visiting Madurai towards the end of November 1934. He was assisted by the officials of Madras Government Museum.

Of the work he undertook, he wrote a monograph, A pillared hall from a temple at Madura in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Connemara Library, Chennai, has a copy of it). He details the parts available in the museum as 16 eight-foot simple columns, 14 compound columns, 12 corbels, 12 lion capitals and 8 frieze slabs. His study was based on the findings of G.J. Dubreuil (1885 -1945). Brown feels that when purchased by Gibson, the parts were lying inside the compound of the Madanagopalaswami temple. He also quotes Ananda Coomaraswami, who appears to have visited the temple and taken some pictures. He further quotes a letter, dated January 25, 1920, from John Marshall, the then Director-General of Achaeology, that the mandapam belonged to this temple.

In the monograph, he says the temple was in existence before 1599 as found from an inscription in Tamil of that year. Another inscription is also dated to 1596. It is likely that the construction was undertaken during the 16th Century under Viswanatha Nayakar (1529-1564). He believes the mandapam could have been razed by a Mohammedan conqueror in the 16th Century. He also found some frieze slabs lying around during his visit to the temple and they were similar to the ones in the museum.

He went about finding the way the hall might have been built and after elaborate studies of other temples of the time in Madurai, including the Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, drew a plan for erecting the hall in the museum. In the book referred, of 86 pages and in six chapters, he describes the mandapam that includes its structure and iconography with photographs.

According to the museum’s pamphlet, the hall consists of 12 monolithic composite pillars with large sculpted figures, 16 square-based pillars carved with 10 lion brackets, 10 drop brackets, two non-figural cluster pillars and eight slabs carved with scenes from the Ramayana. Between 1935 and 1940, the pillars were installed at the museum to resemble the temple’s entry hall known as the Artha Mandapam. The pamphlet states this is the only example of Indian stone architecture to be found in any American museum. “It is also the only place outside of South Asia where visitors can experience, from original pre-modern elements, the monumental synthesis of sculpture, structure, symbolism and story that make Hindu temple architecture one of the world’s greatest artistic legacies.”

For the creation of an Asian art section in the museum, credit goes to Dr. Stella Kramrisch (1896-1993), the first to join the museum and assume the curatorial position. It was because of her that the museum has a separate section on Asian art. She lived and taught in India and has to her credit many scholarly writings about Indian art. She taught at Shanti Niketan and was honoured with the  Desikottama in 1974 and the Government of India conferred the  Padmabhushan upon her in 1982. 

In Madurai, it is a temple where even today youngsters learning music are initiated as the ruling deity Madanagopalaswamy is the image of Krishna playing the flute.

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