From the mysteriously untainted ‘iron pillar’ in Delhi’s Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, to the slowly gyrating bronze Shiva in the Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai – a small collection of precious metal:
Standing within the courtyard ruins of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, in Delhi, the mysterious Iron Pillar probably speaks of the glory and munificence of Chandragupta II (380-414 CE), but what fascinates visitors these days is the mystery of its almost untarnished surface, unsullied until the backs, arms and grasping hands of a myriad visitors began to visibly diminish the inscriptions – and hence, these days the column stands inside a protective metal fence.
Over in Lanka, some more contemporary metal was wrought into a huntress by Laki Senanayake
An artist and sculptor, garden creator, musician, and architect, Laki Senanayake was a frequent artistic collaborator of Geoffrey Bawa. This dramatic owl dominates the central stairwell at Bawa’s masterpiece Kandalama, near Dambulla. Their final collaboration resulted in the glorious extravaganzaa “The Portuguese Arriving in Ceylon Under a Cloud”, around the upper reaches of the spiral staircase of the Lighthouse Hotel, Galle.
Laki Senanayake’s giant, swooping owl, suspended over the central stairwell at Kandalama, is a ferocious and primeval hunter, rendered with great tactile appeal in iron.
Lastly, two views of my favourite piece of metal
The over-loved bronze statue of Shiva has since been restored and now dances inside a glass box in the temple museum (which, from photographs I’ve seen, luckily can’t diminish its grace and sinuous movement).
Scanned from an old print from a visit in the 90s, unfortunately – but I don’t think that diminishes the beauty of this extraordinary piece of metal.