Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Tribhangi

Tribhangi - A dolu playing shilabalike with the tribhanga dancing pose mounted on a pillar of the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur, Karnataka

Tribhangi – Dolu playing Natya Sundari with the Tribhanga stance

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Tribangi – Dolu playing Natya Sundari
This shilabalike, popularly known as Tribangi, is performing a complicated dance move, known as Tribhanga, while playing a small dolu, a two-sided drum-like percussion instrument.

The term Tribhanga, which is described in the Natya Shastra (ancient Indian text on dance) and the Shilpa Shastras (ancient Indian texts on crafts), refers to a pose with three bends in the body, typically the knee, waist, and neck. It is a dance move commonly performed in the contemporary Indian classical dances, such as the Odissi, Bharatanatyam, and Kathakali.

As you can see from the image (click to expand it), Tribhangi has elegantly curved her body by bending her knee, waist, and neck, to give her a beautiful S-like shape. The sculptor has perfectly captured this dance pose with amazing details.

Tribhangi is mounted on the middle pillar (number 8) located on the fourth section (S4) on the south-side exterior wall surrounding Navaraga (front portion of the temple) and is one of the 42 bracket figures (i.e., 38 on the outer wall and 4 inside) in the temple. Each bracket figure is attached to a bracket placed at an angle just below the eaves of the temple. As you can see from the image, the base of the sculpture is mounted on the side of the pillar just below its capital.

Copyright © 2019 by Lawrence Rodrigues. All rights reserved.

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