Fact Check: This stone carving of a cyclist is not from Panchavarnaswamy temple in Tamil Nadu

NewsMeter ran a reverse image search on Tineye and found the photo on the French website IMAGES D’ART. According to the information on the website, it is a 20th-century artwork by Eriogan.

By Sabya Singh  Published on  30 May 2022 12:48 PM GMT
Fact Check: This stone carving of a cyclist is not from Panchavarnaswamy temple in Tamil Nadu

Hyderabad: A photo of a stone carving showing a man on a bicycle is doing the rounds of social media with the claim that it is a 2,000-year-old carving on the walls of Panchavarnaswamy temple in Tamil Nadu.




Fact Check

NewsMeter ran a reverse image search on Tineye and found the photo on the French website IMAGES D'ART. According to the information on the website, it is a 20th-century artwork by Eriogan.

Following this, we used Google to search for "Areogun Wood Art" and found the artwork on Artsmia, a website of The Minneapolis Institute of Art. According to the website, this artwork was created around 100 years ago, in the early 20th century, by the famous Yoruba Eriogan of Nigeria's Osi province. The description reads, "This palace door shows the king riding a motorcycle and a horse, holding a sword and a pistol, smoking a pipe, and accompanied by two people carrying boxes full of trade items." It was to show that "all aspects of society are functioning well due to the king's ability to rule and provide for his people."

We also found the photo on BBC UK's website. It was titled, "Wooden door panel carved by Dada Areogun of Osi village, Ekiti State, Nigeria, 1924."

When we performed a Google search using the keywords "bicycles on 2,000-year-old temple," we found a report published on the website Daily Mirror in July 2018. According to the report, a YouTuber named Praveen Mohan claimed to have found a carving of a modern bicycle on the wall of a 2,000-year-old temple. But the photo of the carving found by Praveen in Panchavarnaswamy Temple is different from the one that is doing the rounds of social media now.

According to the report, the world's first chain bicycle was invented in 1885. The Daily Mirror cited an article published in 2015 by The Hindu that had reported that historian Dr. R. Kalaikovan, after visiting the Panchavarnaswamy Temple, said neither the officials nor the people who wrote the history of the temple could explain how a carving of a bicycle came to be there in the temple.

"One of the theory of the cycle carving in the temple can also be that it was done during the renovation of the temple in the year 1920. At that time, some sculptor must have seen a cyclist and impressed by it, made his artwork on stone," he was quoted as saying.

Hence, the claim that a carving of a cyclist was found in Tamil Nadu's Panchavarnaswamy temple is misleading. The artwork is by Nigerian artist Eriogan.

Claim Review:A carving of a cyclist found on the 2,000-year-old Panchavarnaswamy temple in Tamil Nadu
Claimed By:Social media users
Claim Reviewed By:NewsMeter
Claim Source:Social media
Claim Fact Check:Misleading
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