About the Book
The book is a study of the fundamental principle of ancient Indian art and
architecture, dealing with essentials of Hindu thinking and practice of art like
the Hindu view of Godhead, iconography and iconometry, and symbols and symbolism
in Hindu art. Referring to major classical Indian literary works shedding light
on art and architecture, it undertakes a survey of Indian art and temple
architecture from the 3rd century BC through the medieval period, highlighting
the directional changes that marked the history of art, specifically sculpture
and painting. It elaborately views the various terms and concepts associated
with the field of art and iconography like mudras, asanas, pithas, explaining
the nature of Buddhist and Jain deities as well as those of Hindu sects like
Saivism, Vaisnavism and Saktism. Pointing out the importance of studying Hindu
temple architecture in order to fully appreciate Hindu art which was meant for
propagation of dharma, it analyses the basic features of the temple architecture
and its regional variants.
Tracing the differences in conception and delineation of a Hindu temple, a
Muslim mosque and Christian church, the research focuses particularly on the
principles of visualization of symbols and signs in Hinduism and Christianity.
It also reveals how the West has viewed Indian literature and art, exposing the
inner contradictions of some European thinkers who while praising literary works
of Kalidasa and others condemned the Hindu images.
The work contains more than 300 illustrations, half-tone and line drawings,
that make the discussion easy to comprehend for a range of readers - scholars,
students as well as laymen.
About the Author
Dr. S.P. Gupta, born in 1931, presently Chairman, Indian Archaeological
Society, New Delhi, is a distinguished archaeologist and art historian who has
been awarded several gold medals and the Sir Mortimer Wheeler Prize for
excellence in field-archaeology. He has worked and lectured in more than 30
countries of the world. He ha authored a number of books including Disposal of
the Dead and Physical Types in Ancient India (1971), Tourism, Museums and
Monuments (1975), Archaeology of Soviet Central Asia and the Indian Borderlands
-two volumes (1978), The Roots of Indian Art (1980) - the French edition of
which was published in 1990 and Cultural Tourism in India (2002). He has also
edited many books and published about 50 articles in various national and
international journals and books.
Dr. Shashi Prabha Asthana (1947-1997), an expert in ancient Indian history,
art history, and archaeology, won a number of prestigious scholarships and
fellowships like the Bursary Merit Scholarship, Common-wealth Scholarship and
British Institute Fellowship to visit and work in the UK, the USA, Japan, Iraq,
Iran, France, Germany and many other countries. She has authored several
monographs and catalogue, including History and Archaeology of India's Contacts
with other Countries from earliest times to 300 BC (1976), Pre-Harappan Cultures
of India and its Borderlands (1985), Mathura Kala (2000), Indian Art through the
Ages and Indian Bronzes.
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