Namaste! Over the last few days, we have been traveling around the world looking at artworks from Japan, Nigeria, Mexico, and Portugal in my Art Around the World in 30 Days series. Today, we are heading to India where we will look at an amazing Hindu temple in India.
Aweeesooooome. This is the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu India. The temple is dedicated to Meenakshi, who is a manifestation (avatar) of Parvati, the wife of Shiva, who is one of the primary Hindu gods.
The temple consists of 14 towers called gopurams. Those big towers are not the sanctuary part of the temple, but gateway entrances. The 14 towers range in height from 147-170 feet. There are lots of amazing components of this temple, but the coolest part, in my opinion, is all of the sculptures covering the surfaces of the gopurams. There are an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple (mind-boggling!). Represented in the sculptures are brightly-painted gods, animals, and demons from the Hindu religion.
Art Discussion Questions
- Describe the way the artists depicted the sculpted figures on the temple. Make a list of the common characteristics of how they depicted the human (god, demon, etc) form.
- Image what it would be like to walk through one of these gateways. How would it feel to be in this space?
- Why do you think they made these massive gateways? What do you think they wanted to happen when you arrived and entered the temple?
Hindu Sculpture and Architecture Art Project Ideas
I have a few ideas for some projects and activities for this one.
1. Look at the sculptures and have your students practice posing like the figures. Then, if you have multiple kids, you could have the student practice doing blind contour drawings of each other in the poses. If you don’t have multiple kids, you could have them do blind contour drawings of the sculptures themselves. A blind contour drawing is a drawing you do where you look carefully at the thing you are drawing, but you do NOT look down at your paper while you draw.
2. Get a big sheet of butcher paper and have students make a big mural of figures in a variety of poses. Color or paint in bright colors.
3. Design a gateway for your house, place of worship, school, etc.
- An overview of Hinduism for kids from the BBC.
- The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow — This is adorable! **affiliate link
Okay, that’s it for today. Let me know what you thought of this one in the comments. Tomorrow, we are headed to Papua New Guinea in the Pacific islands.
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