Friday, 17 January 2014

// Nammalvar \\

Gouache painting on paper from a portfolio of sixty-three paintings of deities and daily life. Nammalvar sits in lalitasana on a low asana placed on a platform. His complexion is blue, he wears a headdress, the chayakkontai, and Tengalai namams (emblems) are drawn on his forehead throat, arms and stomach. His jewellery is made of rudraksha beads. His right hand is in the teaching gesture and in his left he holds a palm leaf manuscript. Two Brahmins flank the image of the Alvar (south Indian poet saint). The one on his right writes with a long stylus on a palm leaf, the one to his left is in teaching attitude. At the bottom of the page, immediately opposite Nammalvar, is an image of Ramanuja, set off by a green background and surrounded by a metal frame. The philosopher, dressed in a russet dhoti and wearing a cylindrical cap, sits in virasana with his hands folded in anjali mudra and his typical banner resting on his right shoulder.

Company School
1820 (circa)
Tamil Nadu

Curator's comments - Dallapiccola 2010:
Shown in the background is a tamarind tree, suggesting that the painting refers to the Adinathasvami temple at Alvar Tirunagari (Tirunelveli), birthplace of Nammalvar, where the tamarind tree is still the focus of worship.