A tiny sculpture of Ganesa made of Terracotta dated back to the Satavahana times at Nilakanthapuram village in Madakasira Mandal of Ananatapuramu district today.
It was found by a team of archaeologists led by the CEO of the Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravathi Dr E Sivanagireddy during excavations in the Nilakanthapuram area as part of their data collection effort to compile the history of the Village. The exploration was going on in the agricultural fields of the former Minister and Congress leader N Raghuveerareddy.
Revealing the details of his finding, Dr Sivanagi Reddy said the sculpture measuring 6x4x1.5 cms is created by a potter well versed with the iconography and it is seen seated in Lalitasana posture and the head of the god is elephantine without any head gear and with only two hands, which is a unique feature of the Satavahana era. The proboscis is clearly seen turned towards the right side which facilitated him to identify it as a Ganesa figure whose ears, hands and legs are broken due to constant tilling of land.
Based on the iconography, style of art and delineation, Sivanagireddy said it must be dated back to the 2nd century AD. It is hand made using levigated clay and baked or burnt well in a separate kiln under the supervision of a potter who is an expert in hand made sculpture.
He further added that this becomes one of the earliest Ganesa images in South India and announced that with this discovery, the Nilakanthapuram now gains its place on the Satavahana map adding that a similar terracotta Ganesa of the same period was discovered in Veerapuram in the Kurnool district by the Birla Archaeological and Cultural Research Institute in the early 1980s.
An Art Historian from the College of Fine Arts in Chitrakalaparishad, Bengaluru Dr RH Kulkarni has also confirmed that it is an image of Ganesa created during the times when the Brahmanical images are taking the perfect forms. He cited
a reference in Gathasaptasati compiled by Hala, the Satavahana Emperor.