Mahabalipuram – Stone sculpture

Mahabalipuram, or Mamallapuram, group of monuments lies along the Coromandel Coast (facing the Bay of Bengal) around 60 kilometres from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The monuments were declared a World Heritage Site in 1984 and are some of the finest specimens of stone architecture in south India.

Mahabalipuram long history and wider connections have identified it variously as the seaport Sopatma mentioned in Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (c. 50 C.E.); the commercial port Melange Ptolemy cited in Geographia  (150 C.E.);This was a great port city in antiquity with international trading with south east Asia, Rome, Middle eastern empires  and mainland China.

The Pallava dynasty which ruled this part of South India from 3rd -9th CE were seafarers, who also gained power in several south east Asian countries , thereby spreading  the Tamil cursive script, Hindu culture, art and architecture . The stone temples of Mahabalipuram dating to 7th CE were testament to their astonishing imagination and skill, the builders of  temples of stone and rock-cut cave architecture , the first in South India.

Mahabalipuram is unique in that it is the only place where the concept of art forms assumes primary importance and religious  themes play a subsidiary role. Second, the sculptors chose rocks on the basis of their natural formations . The sculptor of this boulder could see the shape of a horse and lion in the rock formation of a boulder lying on the sea front, not necessarily related to any religious or mythological theme.

Mahabalipuram was suddenly abandoned after the late 8th century. Work on several monuments   remained unfinished.  Its artistic splendour and glory finally collapsed  around 730 C.E. Later dynasties of the Cholas and Vijayanagar  did not complete these  half-finished monuments .

However to this day Mahabalipuram serves as as a workshop for training artists and sculptors in the traditional skills with international export an active source of income .


Prints : Available as Giclee print on finest quality paper or  canvas. International shipment

Sizes available: 8 x 12″(203 x 305 mm); 12 x 16″(305 x 410mm); 18 x 24″(457 x 610 mm); 24 x 32″ (610 x 813mm)

For list of prices, details of paper or canvas and pigments used,  please get in touch via contact form