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| Last Updated:: 05/07/2019

Rare murals on hero stones discovered







Hero stones are discovered every other day in Tamil Nadu, but how about one with murals on it. In a rare discovery, a team headed by hero stone expert Sugavana Murugan, found a hero stone slab with murals on it. Considered a rare find by experts in the field, the 600-year-old murals have been identified in a hero stone temple in Sivampatti, a remote village near Mathur, 35km from Krishnagiri.



This temple comprises a cap stone of 3mx1.5m with three hero stones inside the house for prayer. The identified murals depict the figures of three horses, two procession umbrellas and the face of a woman with neatly braided hair. A hero stone is a memorial paying tribute, particularly to a chief of a local clan or community.




It was while going through a set of photographs of a heritage walk conducted by his teacher-friend for students to Sivampatti village that Murugan noticed the murals.




“I couldn’t find any mural on the slab first, but a second look revealed the faded and ruined patches of natural dye scattered around the hero stones. I soon set out to the village. What I doubted in the photographs appeared to be portions of a great piece of art,” said Murugan, who has documented hero stones in Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts of Tamil Nadu. About the kind of pigments used. “I have no idea about pigments used in the murals. I believe the ancient artists must have used natural dyes. A detailed study is needed to clarify it,” he said.




The new finding is significant as it is the second time a hero stone slab with murals has been discovered in the region. Murugan had discovered a mural on a hero stone near Paiyur in Krishnagiri in 2008. “Hero stones are discovered every other day, but this is the second time I am seeing one with murals on it. I am happy but at the same time we have been thinking about how to preserve the ancient piece of art,” he said.




Murugan has reason to worry, because the murals are in ruins. S Govindaraj, curator of the government museum in Krishnagiri, who visited the site, suggested coating these murals with polyvinyl acetate to preserve them. “This is a rare find. Both the murals and hero stones are in a bad shape. The stones will survive but the murals need immediate attention. We will do our level best to preserve it,” said Govindaraj.




A team from the Krishnagiri District Historical Research Centre will be erecting a fence around the hero stone temple to protect the site. The team will also create awareness among people about the importance of these murals as well as the hero stones.





Source: The Times of India, 05 July 2019, Chennai.