CHENNAI : A 19th century sandalwood carving depicting scenes from the
Ramayana and Mahabharata is on display in the weekly exhibit at the Government Museum, Egmore.
Sandalwood, or chandan, has a prominent place in Indian society,
said S Prema, curator (art gallery). “This particular piece is from Mysore, one of the main places sandalwood is sourced from. The other hubs are Thiruvananthapuram and Jaipur,” she said.
The panel has three sections: the top and middle ones show scenes from the Ramayana and the last features a detailed carving of Ravana, complete with all ten heads in perfect detail. The panel is surrounded by intricately carved intertwining leaves, birds and monkeys.
Prema said there were over 20 varieties of sandalwood in India,
and most came from the south. “The history of sandalwood carving goes back many centuries and many royal houses employed artisans to make depictions of royal events and scenes from their lives. These can be seen in the art gallery at the museum,” she said.
The weekly exhibit is a regular feature, showcasing a piece from one of the eight galleries in the museum. Visitors can get more information on the displayed piece from pamphlets available alongside.