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Kushana Clay Art of Ganga Plains

Vidula Jayaswal (Author)
Synopsis Clay, one of the most popular media of art and craft activities, has been utilized extensively time and again during the last three thousand years in the Indian sub-continent. Figure making, particularly human forms in this medium appear to cater to a number of socio-religious needs of past societies. The themes the quality of modeling, quantities and skills—together mirror some of the important connotations inherent in the contemporary cultural setup. Thus, the study of terracottas has much wider scope than the often attempted studies revolving around mere identification and stylistical descriptions. In the present book the scope of terracotta study has been extended much beyond conventional studies, as it attempts to examine many aspects of the craft, which are responsible for the co-existence of both poor and high workmanship in one period, admixture of foreign and indigenous themes, styles and techniques at one point of time, origins and survivals of noteworthy execution tendencies and craft skills acquired by artisans and the centre in the individual periods, etc. During the first few centuries of the Christian era, the multi-dimensional clay modeling activities in the Ganga Valley appears to be of particular value. A number of factors such as, the growth of urban centres for politico-cultural reasons, long distance trades resulting in the exchange of ideas and techniques, adaptation and modification of some of the foreign elements, etc., appear to have influenced art and craft traditions immensely. For a proper understanding of these aspects it is imperative to have reliable data in the form of a group of antiquities coming from well stratified archaeological horizons. In accordance, the present monograph is based on major terracotta collections which have been obtained from the Kushana cultural levels of Khairadih and other important sites of the Ganga Valley. Besides providing a comprehensive account of the terracotta human figurines of Khairadih, one of the recently excavated sites the book also contains details on similar compositions from other contemporary' sites of the Ganga Plains. The major modeling tendencies, frequent and less common themes, formulation, continuation of styles, etc. during the early Christian era in the region have been elaborated and discussed extensively. The general personality of Kushana clay modeling which was so far, has been brought out clearly in this monograph. The generalizations made regarding the terracotta craft in this study and the vague evaluation of Khairadih as the terracotta producing centre gives new direction to the study of arts and crafts of ancient times.
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About the author

Vidula Jayaswal

Grand daughter of (Late) Dr. K.P. Jayaswal, Dr. Vidula Jayaswal is presently teaching and guiding research in Ancient Indian History in general and Archaeology in particular at the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. Dr. Jayaswal was selected by the Government of India under the National Scholarship Scheme to study abroad and received specialized training in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A. She also served the Archaeological Survey of India. Author of eight books, five in English – Palaeohistory of India, Chopper-Chopping Component of Palaeolithic India, Kushana Clay Art, An Ethno Archaeological View of Indian Terracottas and Paisra: The Stone Settlement of Bhiar (last two in co-authorship) and three text books in Hindi-Bharatiya Itihas ke Adi Charan Ki Roop Rekha (Pura Prastar Yuga), Bharatiya Itihas Ka Madhya Prastar Yuga , and Bharatiya Itihas Ka Nav Prastar Yuga. She has also edited a proceeding of workshop which is published as Ancient Ceramics. Dr. Jayaswal has to her credit more than fifty research papers, which have been published in the proceedings of International Symposia and various publications of repute. Her noteworthy field investigations are excavations of prehistoric sites at Lahariandih in Mirzapur and Paisra in Munger districts and excavation of historical settlement at Bhitari, and, surveys of pottery and terracotta producing centres of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Her recent discovery of the Ancient Quarries of Asokan times and subsequent periods, near Chunar is a significant contribution to both Archaeology and History of Arts.

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Bibliographic information

Title Kushana Clay Art of Ganga Plains
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1991
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
length xx+120p., Illustrations; Maps; Bibliography; Index; 26cm.