A Terracotta from Maniyambadi

by

Sugavana Murugan

Maniyambadi is a small village in Dharmapuri District. The village is famous for its Chennakesava Perumal Temple built by the great Jagadeva Raya of the later Vijayanagar period who had successfully fought in the Penukonda war. The ancient site is identified with the hills of Mookanoor Malai which is Kudirai Malai of the Sangam age Adiyamans. Recently, a terracotta was collected from a disturbed megalithic chamber in a private land by Shri. Pudu. Po. Venkataraman, a retired Tamil pandit of Kadathur town near Maniyambadi in Dharmapuri District.

The terracotta represents a female figure. It appears to be the image of the buried one rather than a mother goddess. The artifact is assignable to the period before Christ which is the date of the megalithic chamber. Vathal Malai, a neolithic site is a part of the Mookanoor range of Chervarays. The find spot is well known for its black and red ware as well as some stray finds of punch marked coins and Roman coins of Tiberious Caesar.

Truely, it is unique find as it is one of the earliest terracottas of the ancient Tamil region. The hands and the legs of the figure are broken. Fortunately, the masterpiece is in good condition. The colour of the figure is grey and black. It was well baked. The height of the figure is 5 cm. Two breasts were clearly shown. The navel was dotted as a small hole.

The significant feature of the terracotta is its- magnificent necklace with a dollar like pendant. It clearly shows the ancient craftsmans endeavour. The circular mud ear rings in the figure are well-welded. The mud ear rings and the necklace were perfectly fixed before it was baked. The curled hair style is another special feature. This is one of the finest specimens of the terracotta art heritage.

figure

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