Sittanavasal heritage site
2022 SEP 28
Art and Culture > Painting > Ancient Indian paintings
Why in news?
- With much of the art in Sittanavasal either damaged or vandalised, Archaeological Survey of India has undertaken conservation measures and also introduced digital checks to track public access
- It is located in Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu
- It is considered to be one of the oldest inhabited areas in the district and a major centre of Jain influence for 1,000 years just before the Christian era.
- Sittanavasal is the name used synonymously for the hamlet and the hillock that houses
- (a) Arivar Kovil (temple of Arihats – Jains who conquered their senses)
- (b) ‘Ezhadipattam’ (a cavern with 17 polished rock beds)
- (c) Megalithic burial sites and
- (d) The Navachunai tarn (small mountain lake) with a submerged shrine.
- This is the only place in Tamil Nadu where one can see Pandya paintings.
- The site is administered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
About Sittanavasal’s painting works
- The artwork on the ceiling of the sanctum and the Ardha mandapam of Arivar Kovil is an early example of post-Ajanta cave paintings of the fourth to sixth centuries.
- It is done using the fresco-secco technique
- A process that dispenses with the preparation of the wall with wet plaster.
- The ceiling paintings show ‘bhavyas’ (exalted souls who work to achieve moksha or spiritual liberation) enjoying themselves in a pool, full of blooming lotuses.
- The colors are a mixture of plant dyes and mineral elements such as lime, lamp black, and clay pigments such as ochre for yellow and terre verte for the greyish-green tints.
About Sittanavasal’s inscriptions
- The Sittanavasal has inscriptions from Brahmi and ‘vattaezhuthu’, from the third century AD.
- Early Tamil inscriptions from the ninth century AD of the Jain monk Ilan-Gautaman were also present here.
Consider the following statements regarding ancient inscriptions at Arivar Kovil, Sittanavasal:
1. The script used in the inscriptions were Brahmi and Vattaezhuthu
2. Tamil inscriptions of the Jain monk Ilan-Gautaman were present here
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2