Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer

Narthaka - A bracket figure mounterd on the exterior wall of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple in Karnataka, India

Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer

Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer
Popularly known as Narthaka (which means male dancer in Kannada), this bracket figure portrays a man dancing as he plays the davane, a drum-like instrument. Note: Davane is similar to damaru but slightly larger. The davane player typically uses a curved stick to beat it.

The davane is hung from Narthaka‘s left shoulder by a string (part of which is missing). He is likely beating the drum-head of the davane using a stick held with his right hand while holding the davane steady with his left hand. Notice that part of the right hand is missing along with the stick.

As you can see from the image, Narthaka is sporting a mustache (upward-pointing handlebar style) and a beard (neatly-trimmed boxed style), which is probably a reflection of men’s fashion in those days. As for his hair, he has a long ponytail held up behind his head. Like his female counterparts in the bracket figures, he is wearing stylistic jewelry, including large loop earrings, armbands, and necklaces.

As with the other bracket figures, the background is a finely carved creeper. The base of this bracket figure has an inscription, written in Halegannada (Old Kannada), likely inscribed by the sculptor to describe himself and his work.

Narthaka is one of the only three male figures among the 38 bracket figures mounted on the exterior wall surrounding the Navaranga (which is the front portion that includes the main hall and vestibule). Each figure is attached to an inclined bracket placed just below the eaves, with its base attached a pillar just below its capital.

Check the Navaraga Layout page for the locations of the bracket figures. Referring to this layout,Narthaka is figure number 36, i.e., mounted on the leftmost pillar attached to section N3 on the north-side of the exterior wall.

Read more about this and other bracket figures at: Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Bracket Figures.

Male Bracket Figures
Flute playing male musician
Davane playing male musician

Shilābālikes – Female Bracket Figures
Darpana Sundari, Sukha Bhasini, Nātya Sundari, Gāna Sundari, Kesha Sundari, Tribhangi, Nagna Sundari, Kapāla Durga, Koravanji, Nātya Mohini, Betegārthi

Hoysala Temples:
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
Somanathapura Keshava Temple
Badami Chalukya Temples:
Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4
Durga Temple at Aihole

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