Appar

Appar

This is Appar, one of the key Nayanmaars (Saints) of Tamil Saivism.  Appar is a historical figure and contemporary to the Pallava King Mahendravarman (CE 600-630). Appar, along with Sambandar, Sundarar and Manikkavachakar were considered to be the most important of the sixty-three Nayyanmars. They are generally referred to as Naalvars meaning the four. Appar back

Appar was a Jain by birth and embraced Saivism and Siva. He spread the devotion to Siva by composing songs and singing them to honour Siva. In addition, Appar engaged himself in cleaning  Siva temple grounds of unwanted growth. The hoe on his left side symbolises that act.

Here he is wearing a short patterned dhoti. He is wearing Rudrakshamala on his head, arm and wrists. His other ornaments include three short chains and one long chain. Most probably these are Rudraksha mala as well.  His hands are in Anjali mudra, worshipping Siva. His standing posture is Tribanga (Three bends), with his weight on his right leg and his left leg is slightly bent.  The hoe seems to have been cast as a part of the bronze.

The book Slaves of the Lord The Path of the Tamil Saints by Vidhya Dehejia has examples of Appar bronzes, figures 10 and 11. Those examples are dated to the eleventh century or earlier.

The bronze is about 10.5 cm in height. This bronze is from Tamil Nadu. The quality of casting, material and the topic help us in determining the origin. There is a lot of ritual wear to the bronze and it may date prior to the eighteenth century.

 

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