Tribhanga Here, There and Everywhere

August 27, 2009

So about two years ago I had linked to the blog of a guy called Anil Menon, where I had got a whole bunch of fundaes which I used to make questions for my KQA quiz. This year, I found out that Anil Menon is actually a sci-fi writer. Here is an interview of Anil Menon by Vandana Singh.

I found the blog because I had been searching for more information on the Tribhanga pose, which it provided in great detail. If you didn’t read that post when I first linked to it in 2007, read it now. It’s brilliant.

The tribhanga is a pose in which the body twists or flexes thrice – on the leg, the waist, and the upper body. Because this pose comes more naturally to women than men, Chola sculptors used it in their statues of Parvati to emphasise her feminity, something I learnt in V Ramachandran’s Rieth lecture on the neurological basis for art appreciation. I found the Reith lecture (and then decided to set a question on the funda) in a link from Ravages, who had been photographing the Chola bronzes. I can’t find the original photos he had posted then, but here’s one he posted more recently: 


And here is a photo of a lady in Raffles City mall who is checking her iPhone while standing in tribhanga:

Her face is obscured, so there are fortunately no privacy issues. It’s also a happy coincidence that I got this snap – I was practicing manual focus on the awesome 50 mm f/1.8 lens while waiting for a friend to join me at lunch, and didn’t notice that I had got this tribhanga snap until I came home and transferred my pics.

Incidentally, the Wii Fit – in sharp contrast to Anil Menon – insists that the tribhanga is a terrible thing and that standing in this pose is the road to ruined posture, upper body weakness, and spinal injury. In a shocking display of Nipponese hypocrisy, the animations for the yoga and stength exercises show the trainers standing with their bodies flexed before the routine actually starts.