Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Tribhangi

Tribhangi - A davane playing shilābālike with the tribhanga pose mounted on a pillar of the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur, Karnataka

Tribhangi – A davane playing Nātya Sundari with the Tribhanga stance

Tribhangi – A davane playing Nātya Sundari
This shilabalike, popularly known as Tribangi, is performing a complicated dance move, known as Tribhanga, while playing a davane, a two-sided drum-like percussion instrument played with a stick slightly curved at the end.

Tribhanga, a term described in the Nātya Shāstra (ancient Indian text on dance) and the Shilpa Shāstras (ancient Indian texts on crafts), refers to a pose with three bends in the body, typically the knee, waist, and neck. It is a dance move commonly performed in the contemporary Indian classical dances, such as the Odissi, Bharatanātyam, and Kathakali.

As you can see from the image, Tribhangi has elegantly curved her body by bending her knee, waist, and neck, to give her a beautiful S-like shape. The sculptor has perfectly captured this dance pose with amazing details.

Tribhangi is mounted on the middle pillar (number 8) located on the fourth section (S4) on the south-side exterior wall surrounding the navaraga (front portion of the temple) and is one of the 42 bracket figures (i.e., 38 on the outer wall and 4 inside) in the temple. Each bracket figure is attached to a bracket placed at an angle just below the eaves of the temple. As you can see from the image, the base of the sculpture is mounted on the side of the pillar just below its capital.

Other Shilābālikes
Darpana Sundari, Sukha Bhasini, Nātya Sundari, Gāna Sundari, Kesha Sundari, Tribhangi, Nagna Sundari, Kapāla Durga, Koravanji, Nātya Mohini, Betegārthi

Male Bracket Figures
Flute playing male musician
Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer
Davane playing male musician

Related Pages
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Magnificent Temple Dedicated to Vishnu

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