ArtListings > News > Archive > Dancing Shiva X-rayed by Rijksmuseum: Indian masterpiece shown to be solid bronze

Dancing Shiva X-rayed by Rijksmuseum: Indian masterpiece shown to be solid bronze

14 January '12 by the editors | Source: www.artdaily.org

Research recently revealed that the Rijksmuseum’s monumental bronze statue of Shiva was cast in solid bronze.

The thousand year-old temple statue was X-rayed, along with the lorry transporting it, in the most powerful X-ray tunnel for containers of the Rotterdam customs authority. It is the first research of its kind on a museological masterpiece.

At 153 cm x 114.5 cm, the Rijksmuseum’s Shiva is the largest known bronze statue from the Chola Dynasty (9th to 12th century) kept in a museological collection outside of India. Given its weight (300 kg), the statue has always been suspected of not being hollow, as has been common practice in Europe since the Greek Antiquity. As part of an earlier investigation, an X-ray was taken of the statue in a Rijksmuseum gallery in 1999 while visitors were evacuated as a precaution against radiation. Unfortunately, the equipment used at the time (280 KeV) was not powerful enough to determine anything definitively. The Rotterdam X-ray tunnel of the Rotterdam customs authority offered a solution. Normally used to scan sea containers for suspicious contents, the high-energy digital radiation (9.3 MeV) offers sufficient resolution and range to distinguish between a 1mm copper wire and a 30 cm piece of steel.

The Rijksmuseum renovation project has provided conservators and curators the opportunity to carry out in-depth research on special pieces from the Rijksmuseum collection, including this masterpiece from the Asian Art Collection. The statue was created ca. 1100 in South India. This region, the area that is now the state of Tamil Nadu in particular, is famous for its impressive Shiva temples, the most important of which were erected during the rule of the Chola Dynasty (9th to 12th century). Each temple had its own set of bronze statues which were carried through the city during major temple festivals. This gives the statues their name: utsavamurti, which is Sanskrit for ‘festival images’. Chola bronzes were considered masterpieces of Indian bronze casting.

Anna Ślączka, curator of South Asian Art, comments, ‘We had expected that the statue itself would prove to be solid, but it was a complete surprise to discover that the aureole and the demon under Shiva’s feet are also solid.’


Read entire article...


More news

The Musée d'Orsay is planning an upcoming show on "Degas and the Nude" for March, but they didn't expect half-nude models to produce their own exhibition in the Impressionist galleries one day last month.
14 January '12
artinfo.com


Pablo Picasso has been dethroned. The world auction market’s top earner in recent years must yield to Chinese artist Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), according to a report from French research company Artprice.
12 January '12
www.bloomberg.com


The house where Van Gogh lodged in the Borinage, where he was an evangelist among the coalminers, is falling down.
12 January '12
www.theartnewspaper.com


An exhibition, The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011, is currently being mounted simultaneously at 11 Gagosian Galleries around the world, including London, New York, Paris and Hong Kong.
12 January '12
www.telegraph.co.uk


Attendance at the Museum of Modern Art dropped 11 percent last season to 2.8 million, as the previous year’s marathon motionlessness of Marina Abramovic and designs from movie director Tim Burton proved to be hard acts to follow.
12 January '12
www.bloomberg.com


A spectacular bronze figure of the Farnese Bull (The Punishment of Dirce) is one of the major pieces of sculpture to be shown by Tomasso Brothers Fine Art at TEFAF Maastricht at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre (MECC) from 16 to 25 March 2012.
12 January '12
www.artdaily.org


Gagosian Gallery presents “The Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011” by Damien Hirst. The exhibition will take place at once across all of Gagosian Gallery’s eleven locations in New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Geneva, and Hong Kong, opening worldwide on January 12, 2012.
12 January '12


Art Amsterdam will be undergoing a metamorphosis. The art fair will be more exclusive and compact. Art Amsterdam will be held from 20 - 23 September 2012. The exact location of the event will be announced shortly.
12 January '12


The Andy Warhol Foundation was accused in a lawsuit by The Velvet Underground of infringing the trademark for the banana design on the cover of the rock group’s first album in 1967.
12 January '12
www.bloomberg.com


Artist Riusuke Fukahori’s meticulously detailed goldfish works make their debut at London’s ICN gallery, in an exhibition titled “Goldfish Salvation.”
12 January '12
hypebeast.com


The gallery is being sued over an alleged fake Pollock, sold for $17m in 2007.
11 January '12
www.theartnewspaper.com


Damien Hirst’s spotty creations will flood not just the art market this week, as his shop Other Criteria launches a new range.
11 January '12
www.telegraph.co.uk


The ever popular and equally enigmatic artist Damien Hirst has kicked off The Complete Spot Challenge.
11 January '12
hypebeast.com


Spring is art fair season in New York, and this year it will be more crowded — and more competitive — than ever.
11 January '12
www.artinfo.com


The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation on Tuesday proposed building a museum in the Finnish capital after a yearlong feasibility study.
11 January '12
www.artdaily.org


Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs has tapped the legendary Japanese polka-dot painter Yayoi Kusama as the company's latest artist collaborator, most likely with an eye toward the Japanese market, one of the world's largest for luxury goods.
11 January '12
www.artinfo.com


The world’s first online contemporary-art fair is set to expand with three new events in 2012, following the hiring of a new chief executive officer, director and technical team.
09 January '12
www.bloomberg.com


Artist David Hockney has denied attacking Damien Hirst for using assistants to complete his works.
09 January '12
www.bbc.co.uk


Follow ArtListings
New on ArtListings
Latest art news
Art & Antiques Fairs