NCERT Class 11 Indian Culture Chapter 7: Indian Bronze Sculpture YouTube Lecture Handouts

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NCERT Class 11 Indian Art & Culture Chapter 7: Indian Bronze Sculpture

Lost Wax Process or Cire-Perdu

  • Indus Valley Culture
  • Bronze sculptures and statuettes of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain icons have been discovered from many regions of India dating from the second century until the sixteenth century.
  • Sometimes an alloy of five metals — gold, silver, copper, brass and lead — is used to cast bronze images.
  • The lost-wax process involves several different steps. First a wax model of the image is made by hand of pure beeswax that has first been melted over an open fire, and then strained through a fine cloth into a basin of cold water. Here it resolidifies immediately. It is then pressed through a pichki or pharni — which squeezes the wax into noodle-like shape. These wax wires are then wound around to the shape of the entire image. The image is now covered with a thick coating of paste, made of equal parts of clay, sand and cow-dung. Into an opening on one side, a clay pot is fixed. In this molten metal is poured. The weight of the metal to be used is ten times that of wax.

Sculptures – Across Religions

  • Dancing Girl in Tribhanga Posture
  • Perhaps the ‘Dancing Girl’ in tribhanga posture from Mohenjodaro is the earliest bronze sculpture datable to 2500 BCE. The limbs and torso of this female figurine are simplified in tubular form
  • Excavation at Daimabad (Maharashtra) datable to 1500 BCE. Significant is the ‘Chariot’ , the wheels of which are represented in simple circular shapes while the driver or human rider has been elongated, and the bulls in the forefront are modelled in sturdy forms
  • Jain Tirthankaras have been discovered from Chausa, Bihar, belonging to the Kushana Period during second century CE – model masculine human physique and simplified muscles
  • Remarkable is the depiction of Adinath or Vrishabhnath, who is identified with long hairlocks dropping to his shoulders. Otherwise the tirthankaras are noted by their short curly hair

Sculptures – Across Buddhism

  • Many standing Buddha images with right hand in abhaya mudra were cast in North India, particularly Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, during the Gupta and Post-Gupta periods, i.e.. , between the fifth, sixth and seventh centuries. The sanghati or the monk՚s robe is wrapped to cover the shoulders which turns over the right arm, while the other end of the drapery is wrapped over the left arm
  • Treated with refinement and torso
  • The figure appears youthful and proportionate in comparison with the Kushana style. In the typical bronze from Dhanesar Khera, Uttar Pradesh, the folds of the drapery are treated as in the Mathura style, i.e.. , in a series of drooping down curves.
  • Sarnath-style bronzes have foldless drapery. The outstanding example is that of the Buddha image at Sultanganj, Bihar, which is quite a monumental bronze figure.

Sculptures – Across Buddhism

  • Vakataka bronze images of the Buddha from Phophnar, Maharashtra, are contemporary with the Gupta period bronzes. They show the influence of the Amaravati style of Andhra Pradesh in the third century CE. Buddha՚s right hand in abhaya mudra is free so that the drapery clings to the right side of the body continuous flowing line on this side of the figure. At the level of the ankles of the Buddha figure the drapery makes a conspicuous curvilinear turn, as it is held by the left hand

Gupta & Vakatakas

  • Portable
  • Monks carried from one place to another
  • Spread overseas
  • Akota, near Vadodara
  • Jaina tirthankaras like Mahavira, Parshvanath or Adinath
  • A new format was invented in which tirthankaras are seated on a throne; they can be single or combined in a group of three or in a group of twenty-four tirthankaras. Female images were also cast representing yakshinis or Shasanadevis of some prominent tirthankaras
  • Chakreshvari is the Shasanadevi of Adinath and Ambika is of Neminath


  • Buddhist and Hindu Gods
  • 8th – 10th century
  • Four-headed Vishnu or Chaturanana or Vaikuntha Vishnu - central face represents Vasudeva, the other two faces are that of Narasimha and Varaha.
  • Narasimha avatar and Mahishasuramardini Durga images of Himachal Pradesh

Pala Dynasty

  • Nalanda – 9th century
  • Bihar and Bengal
  • Kurkihar near Nalanda revived classical style of the Gupta period
  • 4- armed Avalokitesvara, which is a good example of a male figure in graceful tribhanga posture
  • Worship of female goddess during Vajrayana phase in Buddhism
  • Tara on a throne with curvilinear lotus stalk and her right hand is in the abhaya mudra

South India

  • Pallava Period in the eighth and ninth centuries, some of the most beautiful and exquisite statues were produced during the Chola Period in Tamil Nadu from the tenth to the twelfth century.
  • Kumbakonam.
  • tenth century was the widowed Chola queen, Sembiyan Maha Devi
  • Chola bronzes are the most sought after collectors′ items by art lovers all over the world


  • Shiva in ardhaparyanka asana (one leg kept dangling) . The right hand is in the achamana mudra gesture, suggesting that he is about to drink poison
  • Dancing figure of Shiva during Chola period
  • range of Shiva iconography was evolved in Thanjavur (Tanjore) region of Tamil Nadu. The ninth century kalyanasundara murti is highly remarkable for the manner in which Panigrahana (ceremony of marriage) is represented by two separate statuettes. Shiva with his extended right hand accepts Parvati՚s (the bride՚s) right hand
  • The union of Shiva and Parvati is very ingeniously represented in the ardhanarisvara murti in a single image

Chola – Nataraja

  • Shiva - In this Chola period bronze sculpture he has been shown balancing himself on his right leg and suppressing the apasmara, the demon of ignorance or forgetfulness, with the foot of
  • the same leg. At the same time he raises his left leg in bhujangatrasita stance, which represents tirobhava, that is kicking away the veil of maya or illusion from the devotee՚s mind.
  • His four arms are outstretched and the main right hand is posed in abhaya hasta or the gesture suggesting. The upper right holds the damaru his favourite musical instrument to
  • keep on the beat tala. The upper left hand carries a flame while the main left hand is held in dola hasta and connects with the abhaya hasta of the right hand. His hair locks fly on
  • both the sides touching the circular jvala mala or the garland of flames which surrounds the entire dancing figuration.


  • 16th century in Andhra Pradesh
  • At Tirupati - Krishnadevaraya with his two queens, Tirumalamba and Chinnadevi
  • combined the likeness of the facial features with certain elements of idealization (physical body was modelled)
  • The standing king and queens are depicted in praying posture, that is, both hands held in the namaskara mudra.