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The Great Temple At Thanjavur: One Thousand Years 1010 - 2010

George Michell (Author) Indira Viswanathan Peterson (Author)

A thousand years ago, 1010 CE the Brihadishvara Temple at Thanjavur was consecrated by Rajaraja I Chola. This truly visionary monarch was the sponsor of what may be regarded as the greatest Hindu monument in the Tamil country. The genius of Rajaraja's architect, who conceived and executed this stupendous structural feat, and the multifarious talents of the numerous artists employed to work on its stone carvings and mural paintings, are still apparent today. The temple is the supreme achievement of the Chola era and indeed one of the greatest masterpieces of Hindu architecture and art in the whole of India.

While fully acknowledging Rajaraja’s crucial role in conceptualizing and executing the Thanjavur Temple, the volume also draws attention to the contributions of later Nayaka and Maratha patrons in the period spanning the 16th to 19th centuries. Thus was the ritual and artistic life of the monument preserved down to modern times.

All phases of the temple’s history are presented in this volume, which offers a comprehensive account of its architecture, sculptures, paintings, and historical records, as well as its ritual and cultural life. Bharath Ramamrutham’s splendid photographs are the most complete ever to be published. His images are supplemented by high quality digital images of the Chola-period murals in the passageway around the main shrine supplied by The Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai Circle. Though now much eroded, these survive as the most important testament of Indian painting in the centuries after Ajanta.

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About the authors

George Michell

George Michell obtained his PhD in the field of early western Chalukya temple architecture from the School of Oriental African Studies, University of London, in 1974. From 1974 to 1977, he directed courses on Asian architecture at the Architectural Association, London, and was the co-editor of Art and Archaeology Research Papers from 1972 to 1982. Since the 1980s, he has co-directed an international team of scholars and students at Vijayanagara, the medieval Hindu site in Karnataka. George Michell has also lectured at universities and museums throughout the USA, Europe, India and Australia. Among his many Publications are The Royal Palaces of India, Islamic Heritage of the Deccan, Architecture of the Islamic World: Its History and Social Meaning and Hindu Art and Architecture.

Indira Viswanathan Peterson

Indira Viswanathan Peterson is David B. Truman Professor Asian Studies at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts. A specialist in Sanskrit and Tamil literature and South Indian history, she has published widely, including Poems to Siva: The Hymns of the Tamil Saints, and articles in previous Marg volume: Eternal Kaveri, Chidambaram: Home of Naaraja and Portraits in Princely India 1700-1947. Her most recent research is on literature and culture in Thanjavur in the Maratha period. Her monograph Serfoji II of Tanjore: Enlightement, Modernity, Cosmopolitisam is forthcoming.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Great Temple At Thanjavur: One Thousand Years 1010 - 2010
Format Hardcover
Date published: 16.11.2010
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Marg Publications
Language: English
isbn 9380581017, 9789380581019
length 188p., 185 Illustrations; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.