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Iconography of the Door Guardians of South India: Dvarapalas

Myneni Krishnakumari (Author)

In Indian sculptural art are often seen dvarapalas: the door guardians (or the door keepers) on the door frames (toranas) or portals leading to the deity within a shrine. Invariably, carved in pairs and positioned on either side of the doorways, they are depicted at the entrance of religious monuments: whether they be rock cut or structural shrines; whether they be of the Hindu, Jain or Buddhist affiliations. Besides being a vital part of the temple’s decorative elements, the figures of dvarapalas are believed to function as protectors of the shrines. In the ancient texts, they are considered under the group of divinities, called as parivara devatas. And are endowed with divine attributes as well.

This book is, perhaps, the first comprehensive iconographic study of dvarapala images found in the south Indian shrines. Surveying diverse dvarapala images as well as other kindred images, sculpted on the entrances of the enclosure walls, maha mandapas, antaralas, and sanctums of the religious monuments, the book highlights their significance and their roles as protectors of the temple deities and as mediators between the devotees and the god, besides their importance in imparting beauty to the temple complex. Based on her extensive field work, together with use of countless digital photographs and art history sources, the author also traces the development of the dvarapala images, particularly in the Hindu iconography in south India. For this study, Professor Myneni has surveyed a vast array of south Indian temples that came up over the centuries: from the earliest days to the medieval period. The book is generously illustrated with about a hundred exquisite pen-sketches and equal number of photographs.

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About the author

Myneni Krishnakumari

Myneni Krishnakumari obtained her M.A., Ph.D. and D.Litt degrees in History and Archaeology from Andhra University in 1973, 1978 and 1999 respectively. In her academic career she received many honours, awards and distinctions. She is the first and only person to receive the D. Litt degree from Andhra University in History and Archaeology since the establishment of the Department in History in 1931. The Andhra University has honoured her with "Best Researcher Award" in the 1992. The Andhra Pradesh State Government has honoured her by bestowing the "Best honoured her by bestowing the "Best Teacher Award" in 2001. She is the visiting Professor of Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah (U.S.). She is a member of the International Research forum supported by the Cambridge University and Leiden University and is working on Buddhist Relics and Relic Worship in India and Burma. She has successfully completed major and minor research projects financed by UGC and ICHR, Delhi. She has authored ten books and 130 research papers and is activity engaged in research work.

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Bibliographic information

Title Iconography of the Door Guardians of South India: Dvarapalas
Format Hardcover
Date published: 18.02.2015
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 9789350502037
length xvi+212p., Illustrations; Colour; 29cm.