This anthology represents papers most characteristic of the author’s investigative strengths and methods in the domains of Indian art history and Indology. The selected papers were published between 1979 and 2015. In numerous cases, the large time span covered by these papers has been brought up-to-date. New information reflects developments in the field or in the author’s thinking, and it is noted by an asterisk at the end of a given paper.
The sixteen papers in Volume I fall within four main themes: Saiva, Vaisnava, Secular and Folk Themes as well as Narrative Art. Within these broad categories, analyses and interpretations range across a wide spectrum: Indus Valley material, early sectarian sculpture, temple architecture, miniature paintings, Vedic ritual construction. Most of the topics treat the art in the context of the culture of the Indo-Gangetic Plains, that is, India above the Vindhya Mountains. The author’s studies on the arts beyond this region, comprising the arts from Gandhara, will form the contents of Volume II.
Some specific topics advanced in this volume are: the likely Vedic origin of Rudra-Siva; the meaning and significance of Saiva and Vaisnava icons with the multiplicity convention; Krsna’s Pre Puranic imagery from Mathura; a new attribute associated with Samkarsana/Balarama; the importance of courtesans in ancient India and a newly recognized statue of one beauty; icons attesting to ancient Snake cults; understanding the artistic consequences of Mathura’s emphasis on the oral transmission of sacred knowledge.
Scholars and students alike will be stimulated by the findings and methodology found in this volume.