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Bastar Bronzes: Tribal Religion and Art

Niranjan Mahawar (Author)

This book is a comprehensive study of the religion, myths, rituals and art of the Bastar tribes. The author has been connected intimately with Bastar since four and a half decades. He developed a fancy for the tribal people of Bastar and became interested in their culture. He started collecting their artifacts specially the bronzes which are made for them by Ghasia craftsmen who are living with them since time immemorial. Due to the long association with the tribal’s these craftsmen are well acquainted with their myths, religion and rituals. As a matter of fact this ancient community of bronze makers has given the idolatry forms to their animistic religious beliefs. Bastar has always been an enigma for the outside world. Covered under thick forests, situated on the Southern plateau, remote and closed for many centuries, it was considered a magic world.

The Bastar tribes although have been greatly influenced by their Hindu neighbours, yet they have their own religion, own pantheon and way of worship. This book is a study of their religious beliefs, gods and goddesses, totems, demigods, demons and spirits of natural forces.

So far no serious attempt has been made to study deeply the religion and art of the Indian tribes. The subject has been dealt with their larger anthropological studies and not exclusively dealing with their religion and art. I hope this book will fulfil that void. The author has travelled Bastar’s every nook and corner. In the last forty five years he has travelled roughly one lakh kilometres in his several visits and stays in Bastar and had a close association with the people and the bronze makers.

The bronzes published in this book are the rarest and very special. The author has collected them in the last forty five years. He has the most authentic, finest and the largest collection of the Bastar bronzes of his own which is known throughout the world.

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About the author

Niranjan Mahawar

The author did his post-graduation in economics in the year 1960 from Sagar University and went to Bastar in 1962 to look after their family business of rice mill. He was fascinated by the tribal’s and their way of life. While living in Bastar he developed interest in anthropology and culture of the people and started documenting various aspects of arts and culture. Gradually, he developed interest in the tribal culture and various art forms of Central India and since last forty five years he has been documenting tribal and folk arts, folk theatre forms, folklore, tribal myths and other aspects of tribal and folk ways. On the basis of his work which is spread in more than four decades span of time he has planned five books on tribal and folk arts, eight books on folk theatre, four monographs on tribes and three- four books on folk tales and folk songs and ballads. All these works will be appearing soon gradually.

The author has a very large collection of artifacts of his own which includes tribal bronzes from Bastar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal. He has also a large collection of folk and tribal paintings, artistic wooden tribal combs, tribal ornaments and other ritual objects. He has gifted his collection of terracotta artifacts numbering about six hundred of Central India to the Anthropological Survey of India Museum at Bastar.

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Bibliographic information

Title Bastar Bronzes: Tribal Religion and Art
Format Hardcover
Date published: 27.09.2011
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8170174805
length 343p., 47p. of Plates; Col. Illustrations; Maps; Appendices; Index; 29cm.