Terry and Shailja Curell

About Mantra Sacred Sculpture

Mantra Sacred Sculpture is the husband and wife team of Terry and Shailja Curell. From the moment we discovered Chola Bronzes fifteen years ago, this sublime art form has been our life’s artistic and spiritual inspiration. We travelled throughout south India, visiting temples and workshops, hungry to learn all we could before starting a small online gallery, Kaalita. Despite the logistical issues, we developed a loyal client base by bringing our clients and their special Chola sculpture together. However, as the years passed, we were faced with insurmountable quality issues from our traditional sources and reluctantly suspended our enterprise. Now, under a new name, we once again offer our clients the same dedication to craftsmanship and client satisfaction.

A thousand years ago, Chola bronzesmiths created masterpieces whose sensual elegance was secondary to their religious function of facilitating a visual connection, Darshan, between the Divinity and worshipper. Shailja and I believe such powerful art deserves the highest level of artistic and technical excellence.

We bring a similar commitment to our client relationships as well, so whether your sculpture will be the focal point of your spiritual life, or simply a striking garden feature, we offer one-on-one consultation guiding you through the acquisition process. Whether you purchase or not, we hope you’ll browse our Reference Library to learn more about this extraordinary art form.  

Our initial offering is found in Our Gallery, select pieces we’d sourced directly from traditional south Indian workshops – the photographs don’t do their patina justice. And if we don’t have what you want on hand, we offer a custom order option. 

Testimonials: Here’s a link to comments received from our clients.

Ethics: Anyone mixing commerce with objects of a spiritual nature must come to terms with the ethical issues. Be assured, Shailja and I are sensitive to the fact that many of our sculptures are destined to become the object of our client’s spiritual practice. We are fully aware that our pieces represent the heritage of an ancient spiritual tradition. 

Antiques: Should you wish to purchase an antique Chola Bronze, we will refer you to a specialist dealer. We choose not to deal in antique Chola Bronzes when India’s sacred sculpture is stolen and smuggled on an industrial scale. As collector’s appreciation of Chola Bronzes has grown, prices at auction for originals with a solid provenance are fetching in the millions. While reputable auction houses are usually diligent when confirming provenance, many thousands of Chola originals are still being stolen to order from village temples and shrines where they have sat unguarded for centuries. UNESCO estimates that over 50,000 objects, most of them spiritual in nature, have been lost. Sadly, enforcement at the source remains largely ineffectual. As an alternative to the risks involved in purchasing an antique Chola original, we offer the option of a custom order.

Temple Sculpture: Should you wish to acquire a sculpture for temple worship, we feel it ought to be cast by one of the few remaining Indian sthapathy still adhering to the centuries-old traditions of their forefathers. As worldwide demand for Chola Bronzes mushrooms many village workshops have chosen quantity over quality, yet there remain a few old-school sthapathys who remain true to the spiritual traditions of the ancient past. 

Privacy: We will never share your contact information with anyone.