Surya on a chariot


Surya on a chariot


This is Sun god, Surya, His iconographical features include lotus buds in his hands and chariot driven by seven horses. The single wheel chariot (See the side view) is another characteristic of Surya.Surya on a chariot right.jpg

Here Surya is sitting in Padmasana on a lotus base. His charioteer is Aruna and his lower part is left undefined to indicate that Aruna is lame.

The circular halo behind Surya denotes Sun. In earlier times the circular halo was used signify Surya, the Sun God, himself. Now it is another iconographical feature of Surya.

The book Change and Continuity: Folk and Tribal Art, By Lowe Art Museum has an example of similar Surya, Figure 174/Page 86.  Attributed to the 15th century and North-West India.

Studies in Tuluva History and Culture by Prof Gururaja Bhatt has another example, Figure C Plate 288. It is attributed to the 13th century.

Surya on a chariot leftSculpture at Vijayanagar, Iconography and Style by Anna L Dallapiccola and Anna Verghese documents a stone sculpture of standing Surya on a chariot driven by seven horses, Figure 73.

HJH, a collector and this site’s well-wisher, pointed out a similar sculpture in Chennai Government museum.

This iconography, Surya on a chariot, is more widely known in North India. Going by the last three examples above, this bronze may be from South India. Given the way Surya’s torso is modeled, this is likely to be from Karnataka.

Probably dates to post-Vijayanagar period. More like the eighteenth century. It is about 8 cm in height and shows ritual wear. This is likely to have been used in home shrine.



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