Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Unicorn" Sculpture Found in India

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 9:06:56 AM (IST)
Udupi: Ancient Unicorn Idol Found at Kalya
Daijiworld Media Network – Udupi (SP)

Udupi, Jun 14: S A Krishnaiah, folklore scholar, and Prof T Murugeshi, professor of MSRS College Shirva in the department of history and archaeology, said that a very rare unicorn sculpture of ‘Hayagajanandi' (combination of horse, elephant, bull), has been found from Nagabrahmasthana at Kalya near Nitte in Karkala taluk. They were addressing a press conference here on Monday June 13. This stone sculpture is claimed to be one of the rarest of the unicorn icons found in India.
The hind and front left legs of the sculpture have been damaged. The right front leg clearly resembles that of an elephant. The hind leg is like those of the bulls, with hoof at the tip. The tail of the icon is like that of the bull instead of horse. The sculpture has the face of a horse, and a part of the face has been broken. A single horn standing at the centre of the sculpture's head, is in broken condition. An artistic chain with tiny jingle bells joined together adorns the body of the sculpture, and a saddle is carved atop its back, while another attractive chain has been looped around the neck and face of the sculpture.

This unicorn sculpture happens to be the vehicle of Bermeru Daiva (demigod) of the Nagabrahmasthana. In Tulu folklore, the demigods riding horse or such other animals are identified as ‘Bermeru’ or ‘Jaina Bermeru’. The sculpture now found, which is an imaginary animal created by creative artistes, is said to be the first of its kind in the country. The sculpture is estimated to be belonging to the 12th or 13th century AD. The sculptures with features of different animals represent fertility, Prof Murugeshi said.

He noted that some precious artefacts are often found during the reconstruction and renovation of various temples and Daivasthanas in the coast. Some of them get buried under the debris, while there is also a practice of throwing them into water bodies. He requested the concerned to preserve these treasures in archaeological museums instead. Prof Murugeshi also added that the unicorn sculpture now found will be preserved at the National Archaeological Museum at New Delhi.

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