Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer

Narthaka - A bracket figure mounterd on the exterior wall of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple in Karnataka, India

Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer

Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer
This bracket figure portrays a man – indicated by his mustache and beard – with an elegant dancing pose. With his left hand, he is seen holding a dolu, and with his right hand, which is missing, he is most likely beating the dolu. He is wearing beautiful jewelry on his neck, waist, and hands. The sculpture is popularly known as Narthaka, which means male dancer in Kannada. Note: Davane is a two-sided hour-glass shaped percussion instrument similar to damaru but slightly larger. The davane player uses a stick slightly curved at the end to beat it.

As with the other bracket figures, the background is a finely carved creeper. The base of this bracket figure has an inscription written in Halegannada (Old Kannada) describing the sculptor, likely inscribed by the sculptor himself.

Narthaka is one of the only three male figures among the 40 bracket figures mounted on the exterior wall surrounding Navaranga (which is the front portion that includes the main hall and vestibule). Each of these figures is attached to an inclined bracket placed just below the eaves of the temple. The base of the sculpture is attached the side of a pillar just below its capital.

Narthaka is mounted on the north-side of the exterior wall, and he is figure number 36 in the Navaraga layout.

Male Bracket Figures
Flute playing male musician
Davane playing male musician

Shilābālikes – Female Bracket Figures
Darpana Sundari, Sukha Bhasini, Nātya Sundari, Gāna Sundari, Kesha Sundari, Tribhangi, Nagna Sundari, Kapala Durga, Koravanji, Nātya Mohini, Betegarthi

Related Pages
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Magnificent Temple Dedicated to Vishnu

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