Cultural Postcards + [South Asia]

India: Unearthed idols dated to the 15th century
The two-and-a-half-foot-high ‘panchaloha’ idol and a part of another idol damaged below waist, seized by police after they were unearthed by workers of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme while desilting a water tank at Thalirmarundoor near Thondi on September 15, belonged to the 15th century and should be more than 500 years old, said K. Sakthivel, Curator of the district unit of the Department of Archaeology.

Unearthed idols dated to the 15th century
The idols unearthed near Thond in Ramanathapuram district 
[Credit: The Hindu]

Mr. Sakthivel, who inspected the idols and the pedestals recovered along with them, said they were ‘panchaloha’ idols with the composition of gold, silver, copper, iron and lead, but the proportion of the five metals used in the idols was not known.

The four pieces weighed about 50 kilograms. “The metal value of the idols and pedestals could be around Rs.60,000, but they had great antique value,” he said.

The idols and pedestals were presently kept at Thiruvadanai Tahsildar’s office, sources said, adding once they were brought to the Collectorate, they would be shifted to the museum in Chennai.

The idols were that of Devi, but it could not ascertained whether they were of Valli, Deivanai or Sri Devi as their consorts, Lord Muruga and Vishnu, were missing at the site, Mr. Sakthivel said.

They should belong to the Nayak period as indicated by certain features such as pointed nose, highly decorated ornaments and dress, body muscles and micro-level carving, he said.

He said the two pedestals did not match with the idols, suggesting that there could be two more pedestals (belonging to the unearthed idols) and two more idols matching with the recovered pedestals, he said.

He said there were no markings in the pedestal to determine their period. “They should be 200 to 300 years old,” he said. The upper portions of the square type pedestals were round and global, he said.

The idols could have been thrown into the waterbody, he said.

When idols were preserved against invasions, they would be buried in a pit filled with sand, he added.

Source: The Hindu [September 25, 2014]