Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1406 Kalamukha brahmin
Subjectbrahmin priest
Culture: Tamil
Setting: Vijayanagara empire, 14-15thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Elgood 2004 p68
"The Kalamukhas (who had a close identification with śakti) worshipped Śiva as Mahākāla, the great destroyer, Bhairava and Kālī and their beliefs and practices were particularly popular in the fourteenth century when the Vijayanagara state was developing.  The Kālamukha brahmans were noted teachers who, between 1347 and 1442, were influential as rāja-gurus, advising the early Vijayanagara rāyas who were themselves kalamukhas."

* Hiltebietel ed. 1989 p174 (Elizabeth-Chalier Visuvalingam, "Bhairava's royal brahmanicide" p157-238)
"The Kalāmukhas were not only mostly erudite Brahman-paṇḍitas but also were often expert in both Pāśupata and Vedic traditions, so much so that their priest Honaya is praised in the same verse as a Mahāvratin, Mahāpāśupata, and a Śrotriya."


* Elgood 2004 p68
"Self-decapitation with a sword is portrayed on a late fifteenth-century hero stone in the Archaeological Survey Museum at Hampi and the Codice Casanatense illustrates self-decapitation with a knife.  A devotee (Pĕriyālvār) with an arivāl, a sickle-like weapon, is carved on the fifteenth-century eastern gopura of the Sriraṅgam Raṅganātha Temple.  A protective monster head is chiselled at the point where the blade meets the cylindrical handle, a detail familiar from surviving examples."

* Elgood 2004 p234
"[A] type [of arivāl] remains in use and consists of a turned wooden handle and broad sickle blade.  The words sickle and rice may be taken to imply an agricultural use but that is misleading, though the sword is used for ritual sacrifice to ensure a good rice crop and to cut kuśa grass for the sacrifice.  Because fire, a purifying agent, is considered a protector against demons, the sword is heated red hot during the ritual so as to drive away evil spirits."