The Maratha Nayak paintings in Brihadishvara temple
1. During the reign of King Vijaya Raghava Nayak (1645-1673), the restoration and improvement works were undertaken in the Brihadishvara temple. Due to constant exposure to smoke and soot from the lamps and burning of camphor in the sanctum over a period of centuries, certain parts of the Chola paintings on the circumambulatory passage walls had been badly damaged. The artists of the Nayak period tried to set it right, as they thought it fit; and decided to replace the old paintings with paintings of their own. They went on to paint their pictures over the thousand year old Chola murals; covering the old murals completely.
The modern day scholars could not help remark that the artists of the Nayaks’ rather ham-handed and overdid their task.
2. The Department of Archaeology, during the 1980s, did a remarkable conservation of the 11th century Chola paintings, by scientific cleaning. And, they at the same time achieved to retain intact the upper layer on which the Nayak paintings were drawn.
3. The Maratha Nayak paintings (18-19th century) can be seen on the ceiling of the adjoining great-hall (maha-mantapa); on the west and north walls of another pavilion (tiruchchurru-maaligai); as also on the walls of the mantapa in front of the Subramanian shrine.
4. Since the pictures of these beautiful paintings, looking fresh, could not be posted along with the Chola paintings, I am posting a few of them here as an Appendix to the main post. Please look at them.
All pictures are courtesy of internet.
Continued in Part Nine
Paintings on the ceilings of the Sri Pampa Virupaksha temple, Hampi (Vijayanagar )