Author: R D Choudhury
Shri Jamal Hasan/
Photographer: Shri Jamal Hasan
Publisher: National Museum
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/A
Tripura is one of the tiny States of North-East India. This beautiful State with green forest hills and plains, is geographically located in the far North East region of India. It is surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides. Tripura is probably one of the worst affected States due to partition of India. A look into its geographical position will show that the line of partition and had been meticulously drawn to cult all communication lines of this State with greater part of the country. Even today it is no better than an island surrounded by a foreign country. This inaccessibility has made Tripura less and less known to our brothers in other States on India. It has only a single point of access to the rest of India-through Assam.
The style of the Tripura artists, no doubt, developed along the Indian Art tradition. Btu it also bears some local trait in some of the works of art. The physiognomy of some stone sculptures, particularly of the pre-Manikya period, carry tribal features. For example the rock-cut art at Unokoti and the standing huge sculpture of Surya t the ruined Hindu temple at Pillak bear eloquent testimony to the fact that in that period, when Christianity and Islam were quite unknown to Indian people, the local tribal people accepted Hinduism, as Hinduism was the major religion in the country, through Buddhism did gain ground in Tripura. The same picture can be seen at Deopani region of central Assam, bordering Nagaland, where icons of Hindu divinities were found with tribal physiognomy. Tripura, moreover maintained close contact with Myanmar, Arakan and some South-east Asian countries, which influenced the art of Tripura. Nevertheless, Tripura art in the pre-Manikya period though carrying some local traits still bears the stamp of Indian tradition.
Thus, the heritage of architecture of Tripura borrowed elements from Burma and also from her homeland and gave birth to anew style by the Tripuri tribal kings, who ruled the State since 15th century, which may be called Tripuri style. The art heritage of the State is certainly based on Indian style (Bengal style) with some influence of Burmese the elements. The style of both art and architecture has certainly contributed to the great Indian style. Tripura was never under Muslim rule. The coinage of Tripura occupies an important position from artistic point of view. It did not undergo any Mughal influence. The early art of Tripura was influenced by the Gupta art to a great extent and this style moved to Burma, nay, as far as to Java.
1. Imitated Gupta gold coin
2. Pillak (Shyam Sundar tilla)
3. Teracotta sculptures, Shyam Sundar tilla, Pillak
4. Site of rock-cut sculptures, Unakoti
5. Siva Head, Unakoti
7. Avlokite-svar, Shyam Sunder tilla, Pillak
8. Surya image at Thakurani tilla, Pillak
9. Uma-Mahe-svar, Udayapur, Preserved in the Govt, Museum, Agartala
10. Mukhalinga, Unakoti
11. Tripureswari Temple, Udayapur
12. Madhav Mandir, Udayapur, early 16th century
13. Gunavati Temple, Udayapur, 1668 A D
14. Hari Mandir, Udayapur
15. Tripuri coins (silver with obverse and reverse)
16. Front view of the Ujjayanta royal palace, Agartala
17. The Ujjayanta royal palace, Agartalas