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Decorative Arts

The Temple Door

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The Temple Door
13-14th century AD

Place of origin: Katarmal, Almora, Uttrakhand
Materials: Wood, metal carved, cast
Dimensions: L-60.96 Ht-213.36 cm.
Acc.no: 53.15a /1& 2

This huge door with heavy door frame, made of Shisham wood, and metal chain for locking, a 13th-14th century artifact, is an excellent example of traditional wooden doors used as part of the temple or palace architecture. Besides the divine imagery carved on various door-panels attesting the door's temple links, the door also carries an inscription which reveals the door's identity. Accordingly, it comes from the Sun temple of Katarmal village at Almora in Uttarakhand. A conventional form the door is composed of two parts, each with four square panels fixed on a raised frame. Metal hinges have been used for joining the doors with the door frame. These eight panels are intricately carved with images of deities, and human and animal figures.

The right side panel on the top of the door has been carved with the seated images of Uma-Maheshvara with Nandi underneath and the left, with the standing images of Lakshmi-Narayana with their usual attributes and vehicle. Images of Bhairava, stylized mythical animals and Mithunas - amorous couples, have been carved in remaining six panels. The raised panel frame is decorated with floral creeper patterns intercepted by a number of roundels carved in between. These roundels depict various deities' images. The right door leaf carries on its back a five line inscriptions in Devanagari. This door is one of the finest examples of northern temple woodcarving tradition prevalent in Himalayan region in particular. Its finest example is seen in Bharmaur wood temple some 120 kilometers from Chamba.

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