Abhidha Journal

Abhidha

Journal of Art, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

Abhidha

Journal of Art, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

Title:

Shakti Icons of Ambari : An Analysis of their Style and Religious Significance

Author:

Rashmita Phukan

Abstract:

In tracing the early history of Assam, archaeological sources are of great significance. While references to the ancient city of Pragjyotishpura are found in literary records like the Ramayana, Mahabharata, it is primarily the copper plate grants that throw light on the different historical phases. The rule of different dynasties like the Varmans, the Salastambhas and the Palas not only witnessed changes in the domain of polity, society and economy but also the patronage to religious establishments. In this context, the material culture found in the form of temple ruins, sculptures, pottery demonstrate attempts on the part of the ruling class to patronise the Brahmanas. Moreover, the rich evidence of archaeological remains reflects the existence of artisans as a distinct social group and also the prevalent religious beliefs. The Ambari archaeological site, located in the heart of the Guwahati city in the course of the excavations has yielded a great number of sculptures, among which those of Vishnu, Surya and Mahishamardini Durga predominate. An attempt has been made in this paper to discuss the Sakti icons from the Ambari archaeological site, analysing their style that correspond to two different periods and the religious significance.