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Lupadakhe: Unknown Master Sculptors of Ancient India

Deepak Kannal (Author)

ndia has a great tradition in aesthetic theorization but surprisingly it has totally ignored the possibilities of critiquing a specific aesthetic manifestation. Indian aesthetic tradition does not reveal a single occurrence of any theoretical or critical analysis of a particular creation: literary, performative or visual. Since value judgment was never an agenda of the aesthetic contextualization in this tradition, it never attempted to identify the peaks of creativity and excellence.


It is ironical that the very maker of sculptural history in ancient India is cursed with anonymity. For various reasons, the sculptural tradition of this country is tight-lipped regarding its creative geniuses. This anonymity was further romanticised by many, identifying it as the selfless gesture of the Indian master artists. A few stray names of artists surface from some myths, texts or inscriptions but they cannot be associated with any of the known sculptural manifestations. Despite a long inventory of publications on Indian sculpture, the sculptors in ancient India are lost in collective oblivion, either because of the social hierarchy in which they were not placed in an enviable strata or because of the a-aesthetical perspective of Indian art historians who did not find it necessary to give a thought to the artistic component of this discipline.


The proposed publication gives a brief introduction of the artists’ community and art activity in ancient India and the most significant masterpieces of the past. In the core chapter, employing the methods of intrinsic studies, mainly focusing on the stylistic typologies and morphological developments, we have tried to identify a number of masters of Indian sculpture from different eras and sculptural lineages. We presume that it has not been attempted earlier in Indian art historical writing. The text also attempts to draw attention to the glyptic aesthetics of the spatial creations in India.


The volume follows the methodology of intrinsic i.e. formal and stylistic studies of Indian sculpture. Heinrich Wolfflin is one of the significant scholars who pioneered this methodology. Though, this is the most appropriate methodology for studies in Indian sculpture, in absence of adequate recorded information, it has not been exploited enough in India. The present volume, though rooted in the art historical discipline tries to address the art lovers from the other disciplines also hopefully enriching their understanding of Indian sculpture and plastic aesthetics.

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Bibliographic information

Title Lupadakhe: Unknown Master Sculptors of Ancient India
Author Deepak Kannal
Format Hardcover
Date published: 30.08.2019
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Mandala Books
Language: English
isbn 9789353915841
length x+150p, 178Colour Plates, Bibliography; 26cm.