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Vijayanagara Era Narasimha Bronzes and Sculpture: Digital Iconometry

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Vijayanagara period sculptures in stone and bronze represent distinctive and rich stylistic traditions. This paper explores the usefulness of bringing together aspects of digital rendition together with iconographic and iconometric studies to better document and enhance the understanding of Vijayanagara sculpture. Studies on iconometric conventions and iconographic aspects have a role to play in terms of gaining more insights into the traditional modeling of such sculptural examples. This is relevant especially given that the images have had their own individual trajectories in the course of time, as for example some of the images that were damaged or broken. One of the points of interest in terms of studies in 3D modeling and digital restoration is that apart from in situ examples of stone sculptures extant in the numerous monuments at the World Heritage Site of Hampi, there are some examples of sculpture, to be found in collections such as Kamalapura museum, Hampi, and from the region of Hampi, which have missing body parts, including of the head and torso, and which include stone portrait sculptures. Hence, comparisons with intact examples in different media can give us a better sense of the totality of the artistic vision in those examples. A major aspect that this study dwells upon is thus the identification of similar themes executed in stone, bronze, stucco, and so on and for purpose of comparisons between the iconometric aspects of modeling and portrayals of themes in different sculptural media. A 3D laser-scanned digital image generated from the Ugra Narasimha image from Hampi undertaken by KCST has been examined together with animation to explore the iconometric and iconographic aspects. Using the traditional talamana canon, a bronze Lakshmi Narasimha image from Chandragiri Museum has also been studied in relation to the well-known stone Ugra Narasimha which in itself represents a reconstructed version of a damaged image. Thus, comparisons of stone, bronze and stucco versions of Vijayanagara sculpture of Narasimha images throw intriguing light on iconometric measurements in terms of the talamana canon and in terms of the development of iconography.

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The authors acknowledge the inspiration, insightful inputs, and scholarly engagement of Prof S. Settar over the years, who is helming the NIAS-IDH Hampi Knowledge Bank, NIAS.

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Correspondence to Sharada Srinivasan .

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Srinivasan, S. et al. (2017). Vijayanagara Era Narasimha Bronzes and Sculpture: Digital Iconometry. In: Mallik, A., Chaudhury, S., Chandru, V., Srinivasan, S. (eds) Digital Hampi: Preserving Indian Cultural Heritage. Springer, Singapore.

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