Madurai Veeran (A folk hero)

This is deified Tamil Warrior Madurai Veeran. Here he is identified by the sword (broken), the shield and the dagger on his wait belt.

As typical of a warrior, he is wearing a short dhoti and sandals. The horizontal religious mark on his forehead identifies his Shaivite affiliation and reinforces the identification as Madurai Veeran. An example of Madurai Veeran, in worship, is included for reference. The photo is from Wikipedia.

The iconography of Madurai Veeran, a true folk hero, varies and includes depiction with a sword and a mace and with him riding a horse.

This bronze is about 13 cm in height. Interestingly the base is about 5 cm in height, a large proportion of the overall height.

I have seen such tall bases in a set of Dasavathara Vigrahas, now in Victoria Albert Museum. Those Vigrahas are dated to the nineteenth century and are probably ‘company school bronzes’, made for the East India Company representatives. It is very likely this Madurai Veeran belongs to the same genre.

This bronze is from Tamil Nadu and it is most likely from the late nineteenth century or the early twentieth century. It is a well-crafted bronze and see the Bhadrapeetha for the number of patterns engraved on it.

It is not often you see a classical representation of a folk hero. We are possibly seeing an assimilation process.


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