--> Skip to main content

Various Talas Or Measurements Of Hindu Sculptures

The Talamana System in Hindu sculpture delineates various talas or measurements for different types of beings, ranging from animals to deities. One fundamental principle of this system is the notion of "tala," which establishes a proportional relationship between different parts of the human body. According to this principle, the length of a person's face, from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin, is approximately equal to the length of their palm, from the top of the middle finger to the base of the palm above the wrist. This length is divided into twelve equal parts called "angula," serving as the basic unit of measurement in the Talamana System.

Here's an expanded explanation of some of the important talas mentioned:

  1. Ekatala (One Tala): This measurement is symbolized by the lion's head in motifs and is associated with the Kurma or Tortoise incarnation of Vishnu.
  2. Dvitala (Two Talas): Represented by the Matsya or Fish-incarnation of Vishnu, this measurement spans two talas.
  3. Tritala (Three Talas): This tala is linked with bhootas or goblins, who are considered attendants of Shiva.
  4. Panchatala (Five Talas): Extending across five talas, this measurement is associated with various beings such as boys, hunchbacks, Ganapati (Ganesha), and Vamana.
  5. Shattala (Six Talas): Symbolized by six talas, this measurement pertains to deities like Ganesha, Varaha, and Kumara (Subrahmanya).
  6. Ashtatala (Eight Talas): Spanning eight talas, this measurement is attributed to sages and human beings, encompassing both males and females. 
  7. Navatala (Nine Talas): Associated with gods like Indra and demons like asuras, this measurement covers nine talas.
  8. Dashatala (Ten Talas): This measurement spans ten talas and is allocated for various significant deities and goddesses, including the Ashta-dikpalakas (eight guardian deities of the quarters), the twelve Adityas, the eleven Rudras, and goddesses like Lakshmi and Parvati, as well as the trinity—Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
  9. Saptatala (Seven Talas): Another version suggests that all human beings should be represented within seven talas.
  10. Ashtatala (Eight Talas): Goddesses are recommended to be depicted within eight talas according to another version.
  11. Navatala (Nine Talas): This version suggests that gods should be represented within nine talas.
  12. Talas Greater than Ten: Talas ranging from eleven to sixteen are to be utilized for depicting deities like Narasimha, Skanda, and Hanuman, goddesses like Chandi, wicked giants, fierce goddesses, and formidable demons like Mahishasura and Ravana.

These talas serve as guidelines for sculptors to ensure proper proportions and representations of various beings in Hindu iconography.