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Indian Art and Iconology: Studies in New Perspectives

Asok K Bhattacharya (Author)

This publication contains fifteen essays on ancient and medieval Indian art, arranged in two sections in view of their distinct approaches to the subject. Essays of the first section deal with the formal aspects, relying chiefly on stylistic developments ensued in various phases of history from such factors as foreign contact, religious enthusiasm and social upheaval. Deliberated issues comprise the West Asiatic impact on Asokan sculpture, type and content of the Bengal terracotta figurines belonging to the Shunga-Kushana period, stamp of Gandhara style on the Gupta classical sculpture, patrons’ role in determining the character of the Ajanta painting, the ‘mannerist’ trend in the eighth-ninth century Ellora sculpture, the socio-political and cultural factors behind the emergence of a new aesthetic vision marked as ‘Medievalism’, and several other important ones. Experiences world over show that in pre-modern civilizations art drew its inspiration chiefly from religion, and India was no exception. Innumerable gods and goddesses carved and cast in ancient and medieval days include such images which require special attention to explain their theological significance. So long images were studied by the iconologists whose concern was to identify and trace the evolution of an icon by analysing its signs and symbols. This anthology in its second section, entitled Iconology, goes further a step to interpret the philosophical content and genesis of each individual icon. The treated gods and goddesses include Brahmanical Devi Mahishasura-mardini, Lingodbhava Shiva, Vishnus of the Pancharatra cult, amorous Surasundaris of the medieval temples, and the embracing Vajrayana Buddhist gods and goddesses known by the generic term Yuganaddha, among others. Each of the essays in its own way studies Indian art from new perspective and throws light to stimulate the reader to look at its objects from distinct viewpoints, fresh and unprejudiced.

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About the author

Asok K Bhattacharya

Dr. Asok K. Bhattacharya, formerly of the Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture, Calcutta University, is an eminent art historian, specializing in the area of Indian art and architecture. He writes in Bengali and English, both for general readers and experts in the subject. He has served many Universities and Central and State Government institutions as an expert in art and antiquity. At present he is a vice-president of The Asiatic Society, trustee of Indian Museum and Bangiya Sahitya Parishad, member of West Bengal Heritage Committee, and adviser of the Directorate of State Archaeology and Museums. He has published many books and articles in learned journals and volumes, including A Comprehensive History of India, Jaina Art and Architecture, Bangalpedia or Encyclopaedia of Bangladesh and Bengal: Sites and Sights (Marg). Some of his monographs are Chitralakshana: A Treatise on Indian Painting (1974),Technique of Indian Painting (1976), East Indian Bronzes (Co-author) (1979), The Jhewari Bronze Buddhas: A Historical and Stylistic Study (1987), Calcutta Paintings (1994), Banglar Chitrakala (in Bangali) (1994), Jamini Roy (An Album) (1996) and Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay (1999).

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Bibliographic information

Title Indian Art and Iconology: Studies in New Perspectives
Format Hardcover
Date published: 24.11.2011
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Anjali Publishers
Language: English
isbn 978818962086X
length 150p., Illustrations; 25cm.