2 February 2008


Beautiful, intriguing yet clueless as to what these embossed figures, on old church walls, are. One can find tigers, peacocks, dragon, hunters, horses, moon, elephants, fishes, …er fish mutations and what not. 
Heres a few of them (make sure you turn on the titles and descriptions):

A line of thought, from a church guide, led me to agree with him. He asserts that these are Hindu influences of an age bygone. Partly true as many of these architects would have been the same who built contemporary temples. Thus we can see most Vishnu avatars on the walls: Matsya(fish), Koorma(tortoise), Varaha(boar) etc.
The dragons (the closest that I could name the figure) are not really Indian, so it should be Chinese in origin. No Indian would in anyway leave out the auspicious equivalent, the Elephant, so that's no surprise. In my opinion, these stuccoes were the 'signatures' of the architects.

Another thought-line was strongly along the lines of the story-telling ability of these figures. The emboss(ition)s that depicts a tribal lady tied up at the feet and being transported by a gang stood out as the prominent example for this line of thinking. The well-known Dr. Scaria Zacharia explains that this says something about the history of the church and that lady is supposedly a 'yakshi' (ghost/vampire).

However, some of these churches were rebuilt or built post 16th century. During this time the Hindu-istic similarities of Nasranis were quickly disappearing. So how did astrological symbols like moon and mythical characters like mermaids come onto Christian churches?
Any clue? Let me know.