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`Hero stone' unearthed

R. Sairam

Depicts an ancient warrior in a heroic posture, along with his wife



FOR THE THEN VALOUROUS YOUTH: The `hero stone' on display at the Government Museum in Madurai. — Photo: K. Ganesan.

MADURAI : The Madurai Government Museum has a new inmate — `hero stone.' It was recently unearthed at Pappapatti in Usilampatti taluk. The four-foot-high and two-foot broad statue depicts an ancient warrior in a heroic posture, along with his wife holding a flower.

"This statue depicts a warrior, probably of the 18th century, and belongs to the post-Nayak period, around 200 years ago," said P. Sam Sathiaraj, Curator, Government Museum.

Statues of this kind had been found all over the southern parts of India and most of them depicted warriors, who had earned a name for themselves in battles, he added. He said that from the architectural features of this statue, it was seen that it could have been worshipped by the people in the ancient times.

Making of these `hero stones' had been prevalent since the Pallava period, dating back to 1,400 years, to the Nayak and post-Nayak period, around 200 years ago.

Most of these statues have detailed inscriptions, which mention the warrior's heroics, achievements and even the cause of his death but this statue does not contain any inscription, according to Mr. Sam. The age and period of these statues can be deciphered from their unique features, like the flower in the woman's hand, which is considered an auspicious symbol.

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