Walking in the general direction of the Intihuatana at Machu Picchu trailing our rather attractive Quechua guide, we had to climb up a few steps The ancient 15th century Inkan artisans have repeatedly and cleverly blended natural rock formations into building structures (as you can see in this picture). A sprawling rock has been converted into a tiny staircase.
Yet, how inexplicable is the disparity of attention provided to the steps on the left – nicely detailed and finished – and to the one on the right – rough hewn and incomplete.
Why did the artisan stop when he are almost there? Budget cut? Reprioritization?
Will we ever know?
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Here is the profusely decorated south wall of the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur. Right in the middle of the frame, notice a glaring 5 X 3 space of schist left raw?
A space assigned to a famous (popular?) sculptor who could not finish it (accident/death?). A now forgotten compulsion (contractual/superstition/cultural sensitivity?) that did not allow another artisan to complete it?
Or should one believe a story of supreme confidence that the space was left blank as a challenge to other artists of unknown generations to try and better the art on the surrounding walls? Or one of servile humility silently agreeing that perfection can only be attained by God? I will never know.
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On a different note, I encountered these steps while climbing up to the ballekilla – the fort within the fort - of the 17th century Pratapgad in Maharashtra. You can see two sets. One is 360 years old. The second has been laid less than 15 years ago.
One is beautifully intact, the other in tatters. I am sure you know which is which.