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Art, Icon and Architecture in South Asia (Set of 2 Volumes)

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Item Code: NAP972
Author: Anila Verghese, A.L. Dahmen Dallapiccola
Publisher: Aryan Books International
Language: English
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 9788173055331
Pages: 590 (21 Color and throughout B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 12.00 X 8.50 inch
Weight 3.80 kg
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Book Description
About the Author

Dr. Anila Verghese is an historian who has been doing research work on Vijayanagara city and empire since 1985, with special focus on art and religion. She is the author of Religious Traditions at Vijayanagara: As Revealed through Its Monuments (1995), Archaeology, Art and Religion: New Perspectives on Vijayanagara (2000), Monumental Legacy: Hampi (2001), and co-author with Anna L. Dallapiccola of Sculpture at Vijayanagara: Iconography and Style (1998). She is also co-editor of South India under Vijayanagara: Art and Archaeology (2011) and Mumbai ? Socio- Cultural Perspectives: Contributions of Ethnic Groups and Communities (2013), and editor of Krishnadevaraya and His Times (2013). She has also published over fifty scholarly articles. She was formerly the Principal of Sophia College, Mumbai and currently is the Director of Sophia Shree B.K. Somani Memorial Polytechnic, Mumbai.

Dr. Anna L. Dallapiccola has a Ph.D. in Indian Art History and a Habilitation (D.Litt.) from the University ? of Heidelberg (Germany) and is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. She was Professor of Indian Art at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University from 1971 to 1995. In 1991 she was appointed Honorary Professor at Edinburgh University. She worked in India with the Vijayanagara Research Project from 1984 to 2001 and participated in the Cambridge Kumbakonam Project from 1995 to 1997. She has presented papers at a number of international conferences and written and edited many books. Dr. Dallapiccola’s most recent publications are South Indian Paintings: Catalogue of the British Museum Collection (London, 2010) and The Great Platform at Vijayanagara (New Delhi, 2010).

About the Book

These two volumes of papers by a galaxy of scholars are a tribute to the eminent art historian Dr. Devangana Desai, who has made an invaluable contribution in the field of Indian art, iconology and architecture.

The thirty-seven thematic essays in Art, leon and Architecture in South Asia include many by senior and very illustrious scholars as well as some by younger researchers who are now making their mark. They are divided into five broad groups, in each the essays are arranged in a more or less chronological order. The first comprises four articles relating to Buddhist monuments and icons. The second group is the largest with seventeen essays that explore different aspects of iconography, images and narrative reliefs. The next is a set of nine papers on monuments, ranging from temples, to the transmission of architectural knowledge and even to water structures. The following group includes four papers that relate to painting, three of them touch on south Indian murals and one on miniature painting. The last group comprises three papers of a more general nature, dealing with the portrayal of women in Indian art, rasa, and the leap required to be made from iconography to iconology. The inclusion of the latter paper is significant given the seminal contribution that Dr. Devangana Desai has made to iconology through her book Religious imagery of Khajuraho (1996).

Bringing together as it does a large number of papers on a variety of themes related to Indian art, architecture and iconography, this book will be of much interest both to scholars as well as to students of art and aesthetics of South Asia.


I was delighted when told that a Felicitatory volume for Devangana Desai is contemplated by a group of friends in the field of learning, particularly the history of Indian art. She eminently deserved it, in fact even back in the years she crossed sixties.

I have known Devangana'ben and her (late) husband Jayantbhai since long years. As I recall, she first met me in 1978 at the American Institute of Indian Studies, Varanasi. Since then our friendship progressively had grown and turned into a kinship as my wife (now late) and I had felt. As I came to know more of her, I sensed her to be a simple, sincere, and an honest soul possessing an aesthetic inclination beside an unswerving orientation toward making sustained efforts to reach the levels of profounder learning.

As for her research work, from the initial socio-historical field of studies, she eventually has shifted to the domain of art history proper where she began to contribute fruitfully, indeed from the very start. She boldly explored and interpreted an aspect in Indian sculptural art which angels of art history feared to tread. Her first work, the Erotic Sculpture of India, demonstrates how meaning-revealing, significant and fruitful her socio-historical approach proved. That book is her memorable and long lasting contribution. By way of contrast, the papers and articles, sixteen in number, that appeared in her latest collection, Art and Icon: Essays on Early Indian Art, lean more toward pure art history. Within the ambit of her scholarship is also included the study of iconography; as an instance maybe cited the identification of the "Sveta-dvipa devotees of Narayana". A temple as an ordered whole one notices in her book, the Religious Imagery of Khajuraho, where her erudition now shines, now sparkles with insights.

Her scholarship shows thoroughness: it pays serious attention to accuracy, acuity, clarity, brevity and, of course, communicability and readability, the intrinsic merits a perceptive reader expects in a writing that reflects genuine calibre. The depth of scholarship of four decades has earned for her a name. Symposia, seminars and conferences, in India and abroad alike, take pride in inviting her as a participant and sometimes also ask her to chair. For the past several years, she had been associated with the Asiatic Society of Mumbai and was acclaimed for the efficient editorship of its famous Journal. She is closely associated with the Museum in Mumbai, the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, now called the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, as its Trustee, and a member of its Publications Committee. Recently she has sponsored the renovation of the Sculpture Gallery of the Museum. The time is now ripe for honouring her with a national award.


Preface and Acknowledgements Dr. Devangana Desai is a very well-known and much-respected scholar in the field of Indian art. It is but fitting that these two volumes of research papers on Art, Icon and Architecture in South Asia have been produced in her honour. The essays in it cover some of the broad areas in which Dr. Desai herself has spent so many decades of her life in path- breaking research, such as sculpture, iconography, iconology and narrative reliefs; monuments; Buddhist imagery; themes in paintings; and also general over-arching themes in Indian art.

The Foreword to these volumes has been written by the very eminent and senior scholar, Prof. M.A. Dhaky, who has known Dr. Desai for a long time. He pays a fitting tribute to her scholarship. He begins by remarking "I was delighted when told that a Felicitatory volume for Devangana Desai is contemplated by a group of friends in the field of learning, particularly the history of Indian art. She eminently deserved it, in fact even back in the years she crossed sixtfes .... " and ends by stating: "The time is now ripe for honouring her with a national award." I am sure the many admirers of Dr. Desai's meticulous and well-researched scholarship and her great contribution to Indian art would agree with Prof. Dhaky.

Art, Icon and Architecture of South Asia is divided into two sections. The first, shorter, one is on Dr. Devangana Desai and her work. It contains three essays about her; one by Indira Aiyar, the second by Anila Verghese and the third by Arundhati Banerji. Fifteen photographs have been especially chosen to illustrate the persons and situations that have influenced Dr. Desai's work, sites she has worked on, as well as the wide circle of scholarly friends with whom she interacts. A list of Dr. Desai's publications has been included in this section, also the list of illustrations and the list of contributors to these volumes with their names arranged alphabetically according to first name or initials, with their postal addresses.

The second section contains thematic research papers. These have been arranged into five broad groups; in each the essays are arranged in a more or less chronological order.

The first group on 'Buddhist Monuments and Icons' comprises four papers. It begins with M.K. Dhavalikar's reexamination of the stupa at Sopara; he gives conclusive proof of the existence of an Ashokan stupa at a level lower than the Satavahana one. Next, Pratapaditya Pal analyses some of the very interesting pieces of Gandharan sculptures in the Hirayama Ikuo Silk Road Museum, Japan; while doing so he raises questions about some of the interpretations regarding these magnificent works in the catalogue published by the museum. This is followed by Elizabeth Rosen Stone's observations on the Kanganhalli stupa near Sannati in Karnataka; she links the Kanganhalli finds with the Amaravati School.

The last paper in this group by Suraj Pandit relates to the Shravasti miracle panels found at the cave sites of Kanheri and Kondivate; the author clarifies the unique iconographic features of these panels.

The second group, which includes seventeen papers, is on 'Iconography, Narrative Sculpture and Images'. The first in this set by Doris Meth Srinivasan explores the role of Mathura in the development of narrative art. The next paper by Devendra Handa identifies an image from Bezeklik on the Silk Route, which has been generally taken to be that of Ganesha, as one of Varaheshvara. Haripriya Rangarajan writes on the Matrika Varahi and her position in Vaishnavism citing examples from various parts of India. Amy G. Poster analyses a terracotta figure from Rajghat that is currently in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, comparing it with two others of the same period and from the same location. Gouriswar Bhattacharya examines Sarasvati images from eastern India, demonstrating how and why here she is shown as the consort of Vishnu. The paper by Gerd J.R. Mevissen is on some hitherto unrecorded Dashavatara panels from Gaya; some of these are arranged by the sculptors in the 'direct mode' and others in the 'reverse mode'. Gauri Parimoo Krishnan's paper focuses on the comical figure of the dwarf with a crooked stick, kutilaka, who is seen in sculptures of western India alongside either deity figures or nayaka-nayika couples. The following paper by Tamara Sears takes one to Khajuraho to study the Shikshadana reliefs of the guru and disciples found there. She connects these panels with the Mattamayuras, a prominent central Indian Shaiva Siddhanta lineage of acharyas. Next, Parul Pandya Dhar examines the theme of Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa found among the sculptures at Halebidu and Belur, highlighting the great variety of divinities and mythological figures represented in them. Next, the Gopika Vastraharana sculptures of Kerala are analysed by Preeta Nayar, who highlights in particular the aspect of sensuality that is portrayed in them. Himanshu Prabha Ray's lengthy and exhaustive paper explores the theme of the Ramayana in early sculpture citing examples from all over India. In particular she focuses on the Chalukyan sites of Aihole and Pattadakal. Next are found two papers on Jaina themes. The one by A.P. Jamkhedkar examines Jaina cave temples with special reference to those at Ellora and Dharashiv. He explains their patronage and the icons found in them with the help of legends found in J aina literary texts. The paper by Kumud Kanitkar is on J aina images, with special reference to those found on the Jabareshvara Temple at Phaltan. The following paper by Madhu Khanna explores the evolution of the iconography of the Dakshina Kali image through the Kali Yantra, citing examples of metal icons as well as paintings and drawings. The next paper by S.R. Sarma takes up a very different theme, namely that of a celestial globe of the period of Emperor Humayun; it studies the astronomy, iconography and calligraphy displayed on this magnificent piece. Crispin Branfoot's paper deals with the Minakshi-Sundareshvara Temple at Madurai. It discusses the additions made in this temple during the colonial period and situates the iconographic pattern in the reconstructed Kambattadi mandapa in the context of Shaiva Siddhanta philosophy. The last paper in this group by S. Andhare is on a totally different theme from the rest, namely on the folk bronzes produced in fairly recent times by tribals of the Dang region.

The next group of papers appear in the second volume, and relate to monuments, mainly temples. The first is by Kirit Mankodi. He unravels the mystery of who the Aulikaras mentioned in the Silk Weavers' inscriptions dated 437 and 473 CE were. He also describes the best known monument attributed to the Aulikaras, namely Bhim ki Chauri. Next is the paper by Michael W. Meister on the temples at Pipad near Jodhpur and their importance in the transmission of architectural knowledge. The following one by Adam Hardy throws light on the temples of the Pratihara and Paramara periods at the little-known site of Ashapuri near Bhopal. In his paper, Hardy, while discussing the work in progress of resurrecting the temples which were all destroyed of this medieval site, also points to how temples of this site throw light on the beginnings of the Bhumija style of architecture. Nachiket Chanchani discusses in detail the rock-cut Ek Hatia Deval at Thal in Uttarakhand. In order to understand its architecture the author relates this monument to structural temples at the same site and also to other contemporary temples built elsewhere. The paper of Arvind K. Singh is on the Kadwaha Temples in Madhya Pradesh, which he attributes to the later Pratiharas. The next paper, by Amrendra K. Singh, is on the rather unusual mathas or monasteries and madha or temple remains at Panna, also in Madhya Pradesh. The paper by Snehal Shah takes us to water architecture, dwelling in detail as he does on three lesser , known water structures of Gujarat. Purnima Srikrishna focuses on the Vidyashankara Temple at Sringeri, Karnataka, exploring the symbolism of Mount Meru in this temple built over the samadhi of a guru. The last paper in this group is of a more general nature, for in it Jutta Jain-Neubauer explores the layers of meaning in the udumbara, or the threshold at the entrance of a temple and she explains why this term is used for the threshold.

The group on paintings contains four papers, three relating to south Indian murals and the fourth to two miniature paintings. The first paper of this set is by George Michell on the Chola period paintings within the Brihadishvara Temple at Thanjavur; the paper focuses on two panels each portraying one male figure accompanied by three females. These are identified by Michell as the portrait paintings of Rajaraja I and his queens; he claims that these could be the earliest known royal portraiture in painting. In the next paper B.N. Goswamy analyses with much insight and in detail a painting of the Saptarishis from the collection of the Chandigarh Museum. He compares it with another painting of a rishi from the same museum. The paper by Anna L. Dallapiccola is on the Ramayana murals of the Nayaka period in the Vasanta mandapa of the Alagar Koyil Temple near Madurai. The last paper, by Anila Verghese discusses one group of the murals in the Ramalinga Vilasam at Ramanathapuram, namely those pertaining to the king and courtly life.

The last three papers of this volume are more general in nature. Harsha Dehejia writes about the portrayal of women in Indian art, comparing these at times with descriptions of women in classical Indian literature. Kamal Giri's paper dwells on rasa in the context of sculpture. The final paper is by Ratan Parimoo, who traces the history of Indian iconography beginning with Ananda Coomaraswamy. He makes a plea for the need to move from iconography, which studies the components of icons, to iconology which focuses on the meaning of the icon. Given the seminal contribution that Dr. Devangana Desai has made to iconology through her book Religious Imagery of Khajuraho (1996), it is significant that this paper by Parimoo is included in this volume.

We the editors have been inspired by the meticulous scholarship that characterizes all Dr. Desai's writings and awed by the wealth of her knowledge and expertise. We have known her over a period of years and have interacted with her closely. Editing these volumes is a token of our gratitude to her and of our admiration of her work as well as of Dr. Desai as a person and scholar.

**Book's Contents and Sample Pages**

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