Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Exploding the myth of Jakkanacharya

The biopic of Jakkanacharya potrayed him as a legendary sculpture along with his son Dakkanacharya in 1964.   The film was a super hit being first kannada movie in colour and with the character played by yester  year superstar Kalyan Kumar.  What was the need to create a fictious character and then showering praise on his artistic and sculpting talent ? 

The historical dateline of hoysala monuments have been well recorded and preserved with regard to various monuments built during their reign.   The royalty and ministers concerned largely took the credit for sponsoring the construction, but a deviation was allowed.   The sculptures name was engraved below an idol or on the facade of the temple.   Let us have a cursory glance at some of the important monuments :

MONUMENT                             LOCATION               YEAR                  EMPEROR

Chennakesava temple                   Belur                            1117                   Vishnuvardhana

Hoysaleswar temple                     Halebid                         1120                   Vishnuvardhana

Parsvanath temple                        Halebid                         1133                   Vishnuvardhana

Amrutheswara temple                  Amruthapura                  1196                   Veera Ballal II

Veera Narayana temple               Belavadi                         1196                   Veera Ballal II

Ishwara temple                            Arisikere                        1220                    Veera Ballal II

Harieswara                                  Harihar                          1224                    Vira Narasimha II

Laxmi Narasimha                        Nuggehalli                      1246                    Vira Someshwara

Chennakeshava                          Arleguppe                       1250                    Vira Someshwara

Keshava                                    Somnathpur                     1268                    Narasimha III

All the above emperors realised the importance of monuments and left behind edifices worth remembering in sands of time.   Majority of the royalty never gave freedom or importance to their sub ordinates or their citizens.   King Vishnuvardhan being benevolent began the tradition of allowing the artisans to engrave their names on their creation from Chennakeshava temple at Belur.   This might have triggered further generation of kings in Hoysala dynasty to allow their artisans to engrave their names on the sculpture created by them.

Mallitama's name features as one of the prominent artisan during Vishnuvardhana's reign.   Probably he is elugised in the form of  Jakkanacharya.   He seems to be involved in sculpting many a statues in Chennakesava temple Belur and Hoysaleswar temple Halebid.   The second name which features in Hoysala architecture is Chikka Mallitama, can we conclude it is his son and he is converted into Dakkanacharya.
The justification for creation of epic character in the form Jakkanacharya might be justified because the artisans had to be recognised by future generations.  The hoysala artisans were blessed with availability of soap stones in the area which enabled them to carve out statues with perfection beyond imagination.   Secondly they were patronised and given full artistic freedom to express their skills by the emperors and finally the society was willing to appreciate their creation.  

Apart from engraving their signatures some of the artisans have left behind their own headshots engraved on the facade of the temple walls discreetly.   Sometimes they were passed off as representation of royalty figure heads.  

The myth of Jakkanacharya has been exploded by the Prof Narsimha moorthy of  Bangalore university, but the proof of the pudding is in providing evidence of the same.  These are the photographic evidence which are sourced from the annals of history produced as proofs.

Secondly anyone who is famous does have a dateline of birth and death, but Jakkanacharya and Dakkanacharya don t have any specified dateline, which itself provides ample evidence about their myth.

Thirdly there is no incription mentioning the names of these artisans anywhere in Hoysala architecture.   Why would any artisan let go of such a golden opportunity when the emperors were permitting their names to be engraved on their creation.  

Finally we can conclude that these artisans name was creation of ficition to sing praises of the great artisans in general during Hoysala period.   Let us now rest the controversy as solved rather than remaining as mystery.


R Niranjan Das said...

That is a lot of Information. Nice post.

Deguide said...

I believe the myth will continue to live a little longer

nitu mishra said...

nice information, for Kodava movies do visit this site. KODAVA MOVIES


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