While the finest of the bronze sculptural tradition of India is to be found in temples of the South, the pieces curated here do a great job of conveying the workmanship and beauty of the skill of working with bronze. Bronze-sculpting began with the Pallava dynasty in the eighth century in the Tamil districts of Thanjavur and Tiruchirapalli, but gained momentum under the patronage of the Chola dynasty in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Metal followed stone as a medium as the Pallavas came to power. Despite the period of classical sculpture having ended in the eighteenth century, to this day Tamil Nadu continues to produce superb bronze art in keeping with the eye-watering standards established by the forefathers of present-day sculptors.
The cire-perdue method, popularly called the vanishing-wax method, is followed up with finishing sculptural touches, which means that the bronzes you see on this page are the best of modelled as well as carved. Besides a few Buddhist and Jain images, bronze sculptures usually draw from the Hindu pantheon, from handheld icons for home temples to larger-than-life sculptures designed for the elaborate processions the South is famous for. Typically fully formed in all angles of view - the hallmark of quality bronze sculpting - an unputdownable dynamicism, a subtle tension of quivering balance, and unsurpassed elegance characterise this thoughtfully curated collection.