News: The works being repatriated include 13 objects connected to art dealer Subhash Kapoor through his antique shop ‘Art of the Past’ in New York, and one acquired from art dealer William Wolff. They include six bronze or stone sculptures, a brass processional standard, a painted scroll and six photographs.
About Chola Art:
The period of the imperial Cholas (c. 850 CE – 1250 CE) in South India was an age of continuous improvement and refinement of Dravidian art and architecture.
They utilised the wealth earned through their extensive conquests in building long-lasting stone temples and exquisite bronze sculptures, in an almost exclusively Hindu cultural setting.
The Cholas built their temples in the traditional way of the Pallava dynasty, who were themselves influenced by the Amaravati school of architecture.
The Cholas in addition to their temples, also built many buildings such as hospitals, public utility buildings and palaces.
About Lost Wax Technique:
Chola period bronzes were created using the lost wax technique.
It is known in artistic terms as “Cire Perdue”. The Sanskrit Shilpa texts call it the Madhu Uchchishtta Vidhana.
Beeswax and kungilium (a type of camphor) are mixed with a little oil and kneaded well. The figure is sculpted from this mixture fashioning all the minute details. This is the wax model original.
The entire figure is then coated with clay made from termite hills until the mould is of a necessary thickness. Then the whole thing is dried and fired in an oven with cow-dung cakes. The wax model melts and flows out, while some of it vapourises.
By means of the facial expressions, the gestures or mudras the overall body posture and other accompanying bronzes we can imagine the surroundings and the religious context of the figure of the god or goddess; what instrument or weapon he or she is holding; what he or she is leaning on; and what he or she is doing or about to do.
The most famous of all the bronze icons is that of Nataraja or Adavallar.
The symbolism presents Shiva as lord of the cosmic dance of creation and destruction. He is active, yet aloof, like the gods on the Parthenon Frieze.
Surrounding Shiva, a circle of flames represents the universe, whose fire is held in Shiva’s left rear palm. His left front arm crosses his chest, the hand pointing in “elephant trunk” position (gaja hasta) to his upraised left foot, which signifies liberation. His right foot tramples the dwarf Apasmara, who represents ignorance.
About Amaravati School of Art:
Amaravati School represents the evolution of uniquely beautiful regional art style based on a thriving commercial and imperial system.
The Amravati Stupas began about the time of Christ but the perfection of form and proportion seen in the middle phase of Amaravati as well as some of the themes continued to influence art at Nagarjuankonda and also later Vakataka and Gupta art styles.
It shows a mastery of stone sculpture. The monuments at Jaggayyapera, Nagarjuna-konds and Amaravati are some examples.
All the railings of the Amaravati stupa are made out of marble while the dome itself is covered with slabs of the same material. Currently, the entire stupa is in ruins. Fragments of its railings have been partly taken to the British Museum.
The figures of Amaravati have slim blithe features and they are represented in most difficult poses and curves.
Features of Amravati School of Art:
The stupas at Amaravati are predominantly made of a distinctive white marble.
The sculptures at Amaravati have a profound and quiet naturalism in human, animal and floral forms. There is a sense of movement and energy in the sculptures.
The human figures are slender and slightly elongated.
The faces are oval with sharp and well delineated and expressive features.
The animals such as makaras have scaly naturalism and the vegetation environment is lush
There is emphasis on the narrative element with stories from the life of Buddha and bodhisattva dominating such episodes relating to the Birth, the miracles, Enlightenment and the victory over Mara, Sundari, Nanda, Tushita heaven and Angulimala.
There are few Jataka scenes such as the Shibi, Nalagiri and Chhadanta Jatakas.
The technical excellence of sculptures in caging plants and flowers; particularly die lotuses at Amaravati are most admirably represented in this school.
The Buddha is mostly represented by symbols.
2. FISCAL DEFICIT
News: Concerns about high government borrowings crowding out the private sector’s fund-raising efforts were misplaced and not based on evidence, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian asserted on Thursday reacting to comments made by a member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
About Fiscal Deficit:
Fiscal deficits are negative balances that arise whenever a government spends more money than it brings in during the fiscal year.
This imbalance—sometimes called the current accounts deficit or the budget deficit—is common among contemporary governments all over the world.
A government experiences a fiscal deficit when it spends more money than it takes in from taxes and other revenues excluding debt over some time period.
This gap between income and spending is subsequently closed by government borrowing, increasing the national debt.
An increase in the fiscal deficit, in theory, can boost a sluggish economy by giving more money to people who can then buy and invest more.
Long-term deficits, however, can be detrimental for economic growth and stability.
3. INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)
News: Russia’s troubled Nauka laboratory module has caused a fright when its rockets accidentally fired after docking the with the International Space Station, briefly throwing the station out of position.
About International Space Station (ISS):
The International Space Station (ISS) is a modular space station (habitable artificial satellite) in low Earth orbit.
It is a multinational collaborative project involving five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.
The station serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which scientific research is conducted in astrobiology, astronomy, meteorology, physics, and other fields.
The ISS is suited for testing the spacecraft systems and equipment required for possible future long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars.
It maintains an orbit with an average altitude of 400 kilometres (250 mi) by means of reboost manoeuvres using the engines of the Zvezda Service Module or visiting spacecraft.
The station is divided into two sections: the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) is operated by Russia, while the United States Orbital Segment (USOS) is run by the United States as well as many other nations.