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Eloquent Earth: Early Terracottas in the State Archaeological Museum, West Bengal

Sharmi Chakraborty (Author) Sima Roy Chowdhury (Author) Gautam Sengupta (Author)
Synopsis Terracotta plaques and figurines are known from the later part of the 19 century from a number of archaeological sites of West Bengal. Sites like Pandu Rajar Dhibi, Chandraketugarh, Tamluk, Harinarayanpur, or Panna evoke memories of a vibrant artistic tradition that goes back to the Second Millennium B.C. and remained active till the 6 Century A.D. The State Archaeological Museum, West Bengal is one of the most important repositories of early Bengal Terracottas. Though largely unknown to the connoisseurs of Indian Art, the collection is accessible to the small community of museum professionals. This volume brings together for the first time all the available information with sensitive black and white illustration of these early Bengal Terracottas. This is an important addition to the existing literature on early Indian Art.
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About the authors

Sharmi Chakraborty

Sharmi Chakraborty is a Fellow at the Centre for Archaeological Studies and Training, Eastern India.  She is working on archaeology of early historic Bengal.

Sima Roy Chowdhury

Sima Roy Chowdhury was a Fellow at the Centre for Archaeological Studies and Training, Eastern India.  Her area of specialization is the early narrative art of India.

Gautam Sengupta

Gautam Sengupta is currently the Director of Archaeology and Museums, Government of West Bengal and the Secretary. Centre for Archaeological Studies and Training, Kolkata. He completed his Phd from the University of Calcutta and taught at Visva Bhaarati, Santiniketan, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong between 1979-90. He was a Charles Wallace Visiting Fellow of the Ancient India and Iran Trust at Cambridge in 1995, a Visiting Scholar, Maisson Science de L’homme Paris, as well as President, Archaeology Section of the Indian History Congress, Calcutta Session (1995). His main area of research relates to historical archaeology and art history of Eastern and North-eastern India.

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Reviews 5in total
Dr. Ajay Pratap - Eloquence beyond Eloquence Jan, 01, 1970

I have had the pleasure of browsing through this excellent volume on the terracottas in the keep of the State Museum of Archaeology, West Bengal. The first thing to be said about this volume, is, that, through this publication, the authors, have brought to light, for the first-time, a majority of the corpus of terracotta holdings of Bengal. As one, who has also had the pleasure of having visited the Museum in whose holdings the terracottas discussed in this work are kept, and having seen, first-hand, some of these excellent pieces of such art, I am more than delighted to say that the authors have done yeo(wo)man service to the cause of the study of these terracottas and to bring them to the notice of the public at large. As may be discerned easily from the book, the main purpose of the authors is to present, although necessarily diminished in proportion to the total collection of that Museum, a brief peep into the wonders of this delectable art form of West Bengal. I was delighted to see in this volume and in the Museum that there are a class of terracottas that are commonly called narrative reliefs, in other words, that these terracottas more than simply depicting a single or double human or animal figure, are composed such that there are multiple characters and they tell a story. Some of these narratives are religious in character, however, equally, some of these pertain to actual historical period events, depcited in terracotta, such as the depiction of Portuguese ships with people in them. This particular piece no doubt tells the story of the first of Portuguese traders that entered the Hoogly through the Bay of Bengal at the time when Gouda flourished as the Capital of Bengal. Then this terracotta must date to the 16th century.

Bibliographic information

Title Eloquent Earth: Early Terracottas in the State Archaeological Museum, West Bengal
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.12.2007
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8190149989
length vi+vi+406p., B/w Plates; Bibliography; 32cm.