A treasure trove of Thanjavur paintings lies in neglect

A painting showing Lord Rama and Sri Sita on the dome of the Ettukaal mandapam in Chetti Oorani in Gandarvakottai on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Ettukaal mandapam, an ancient eight-pillar structure with a treasure of Thanjavur paintings on the bunds of Chettioorani at Gandarvakottai in Pudukottai district, has been in complete neglect. The dome of the mandapam carries an array of paintings of the late Maratha period that were painted using bio-materials, vegetables, leaves, lime, yellow myrobalan (kadukkai), and conch. Specific colours have been used for specific images in the paintings. For example, yellow has been used to denote goddesses, and blue for Lord Krishna.

One of the paintings shows a man killing a tiger using a weapon when it attempts to attack a cow. Another painting shows two persons involved in a clash. The third painting signifies the marital relationship between couples of different sections of society. In two other paintings, Lord Krishna is seen conversing with a cow, and Lord Rama along with Sri Sita and Anjaneya is seen blessing a devotee. As the mandapam is without any gates it is being used for pasting wall posters and writing advertisement slogans. “The only solace is that since the dome is not easily accessible, the paintings are intact,” says A Manikandan, a local teacher. S.Arumugam, a resource person from Pavendar Tamizh Mamandram, said that the mandapam should be properly maintained.

Raja Mohamed, former curator of Government Museum, points out that the mandapam could have been used for shorts-tay of passengers. Pointing out that the route between Thanjavur and Pudukottai accounted for a large number of choultries and similar mandapams, Mr.Mohamed said that some of these mandapams were later converted into mini-temples to ensure proper upkeep.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 3:22:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/a-treasure-trove-of-thanjavur-paintings-lies-in-neglect/article6074700.ece

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