Overview for Kamadeva's Pleasure Garden: Orissa
India is an ancient culture replete with mythological folklore and its depiction in sculptural art on the walls of temples down South. Images of love-making including the figures of Kama, the god of love and Siva and Parvati, the eternal couple dominate the iconography and decorative patterns on the walls of Orissan temples. Drawing material from several ancient epics and scriptures, Donaldson goes into the lives and loves of Kama in detail, explaining his origin, his amatory dalliances and above all his frolics as the god with arrows. The life of Siva after he married Parvati is also described. Especially entertaining are the anecdotes of Siva having to give up his garments to Parvati after having lost to her in dice and his teasing Parvati about her â€˜darkâ€™ complexion. The Orientalist will savour the passages detailing Tantric rituals and practices. The last Chapter is devoted to a graphic account of the imagery of these erotic proclivities in Orissan sculpture. The plates and photographs given at the back of the book are particularly delightful. The succulent and erudite style coursing throughout the book makes it intensively worthy of perusal.
Thomas E. Donaldson (Author)
Prof. Thomas Donaldson (Ph.D.) is a leading authority on Indian art, particularly Orissan art, as he has been studying and writing on the subject for more than three decades. His works include a monumental three-volume study titled Hindu Temple Art of Orissa (1985-87), Kamadevaâ€™s Pleasure Garden in Orissa (1987), Sculptural Masterpieces from Orissa: Style and Iconography, co-authored with K.S. Behera (1998), Ornaments of Orissa, co-authored by R.P. Mohapatra (1998), Iconography of Vaisnava Image in Orissa (2001), and The Iconography of the Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa â€“ 2 vols. (2001)