The present volume contains the results of the author in literature and the field. Monuments of the early medieval period all over South India was visited and the literature in Tamil and Sanskrit consulted. Being the first in a series of four volumes, it has a chapter on religion and political background. The results of the monuments surveyed in the field are presented in the third chapter under the subheads Upper Deccan', 'Lower Deccan' and 'Far South'.
However, the most important part of the monograph is the investigation of Tamil sources that is a much-neglected aspect in Indian art historical research. In the present volume, the Tamil quota of thought embodied in the Nalayiram is examined.
There are two annexure of which one was a paper presented in the Banares Hindu University. The other is an analysis of the Vaiṣṇava divyakşetras as listed in the Nalayiram.
The first chapter presents an examination of the sources in Tamil literature, especially the hymns of the bhakti savants, the Nāyaṇmār, particularly the Tēvāram. There are not less than 8000 hymns under vast corpus, the examination of which has inspired western scholars (e.g. Ellen Goldberg of the Queen's University, Ontario) to pay attention to the Tamil sources in the investigation of an Indian iconographic theme such as Ardhanārīśvara.
The first chapter presents an account of sources in both Tamil and Sanskrit. The Tamil sources examined are those of the Cankam classics and the pre-Pallava Cilappatikāram and Manimekalai. In addition to the Devimahātmyam, some liturgical works (e.g. Lalitasahasranama) and the Mattavilāsaprahasana are examined. The results of these sources have been published simultaneously in journals, East and West and Acta Orientalia. The nutshell of ideas from these articles is incorporated in the present volume.
Chapters II-IV present an account of the iconographical typologies of Devi in Upper Deccan, Lower Deccan and Far South. The distribution pattern and aesthetics of the forms of Devī as they appear in early medieval art are discussed in the other chapters. As in the other volumes, a simple quantitative method is applied to assess the status of Devi within the Hindu pantheon during the period under study.
Professor Raju Kalidos was Dean of the Faculty of Arts (1995 2004) in the Tamil University of Thanjavur. He joined the Department in 1984 as Reader and was promoted Professor in 1986. Earlier he has served at Periyanayakkanpalayam, Madurai Kamaraj University, Pollachi and Karumathur. Currently he is Head of the Department of Sculpture & Art History in the Ta University. He did his education in the Madras, Annamalai and Madurai Kamaraj universities. He has participated in international conferences at Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Heidelberg, Berlin, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. He was a visiting fellow at the Freie Universität, Berlin. The author has published a number of books (History and Culture of the Tamils, Dindigul 1976; Temple Cars of Medieval Tamilaham, Madurai 1989; Sectarian Rivalry in Art and Literature, Delhi 1997) and nearly 40 articles in international journals; e.g. East and West (Rome), Annali del Istituto Universitario Orientale (Naples), Acta Orientalia (Copenhagen), South Asian Studies (Oxford & IBH Pub) and Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (JRAS, Cambridge University Press).
The present work, Encyclopaedia of Hindu Iconography: Early Medieval, is the outcome of my research in the Department of Sculpture and Art History of the Tamil University during the years 1984-92. Originally the project was entitled. 'Early Medieval Hindu Iconography of South India', designed fewer than five volumes, Vaiṣṇava, Śaiva. Śakti Goddesses, Ganapati and Skanda-Murukan, and Brahma and Minor Deities. On seeing the manuscript, the publisher of the Sharada Publishing House Sri B.L. Bansal suggested it be called an Encyclopaedia to which I nodded. It is up to the reader to decide whether our agreement on the title is admissible and advantageous. The project to begin with on Vişnu commenced with a munificent financial grant of the Tamil University under the pioneering Vice Chancellor, Professor V.I. Subramoniam in 1984.
The present volume bearing of Śiva is second in the series, commenced in 1986. Completed in 1988, the work was forced to be concluded under certain compelling circumstances and had no chapter on "sources" to begin with (see the five volumes of the original MSS in the AIIS Library). At that time the Vice Chancellor was S. Agasyalingom who was not as fair as the pioneer. I was appointed Associate Professor in History, Comparison and Compilation of Sculpture in the Tamil University in April 1984. I completed the first volume in Vișņu in July 1986.
The present volume on "Sakti Goddess" began in 1988 and was completed in 1990. For the purpose, the field all over South India was visited few more times (Sep. 1989, Jan. 1990, April 1990). My paper on Mahişäsuramardini was published in the Acta Orientalia, Copenhagen 1989. On seeing the reprint of the article, Carmel Berkson wrote to me as follows:
"On my return after three-month sojourn in America some days ago I was delighted to receive your article, which I have just read... your information is very welcome, I have recorded it and am very happy to hear more about Mahişãsurmardini in the south... I was little surprised (sad) to see that you did not include two of my publications in the list of references: Artibus Asiae 1978, "New Finds of Ramgarh Hill" in which I introduce the earliest carving of Mahisäsurmardini on rock (before Udayagiri) which I was lucky enough to discover; and the Amazon and Goddess, which I sent you. On the other hand, I am happy to hear about the (Phillis) Granoff article, which I had not seen. We should have complete bibliographies" (Aug. 1990).
The present two parts of Vol. IV (Pt. I Ganapati and Skanda-Murukan and Pt. II Brahma and Other Deities) were completed during 1990-92. Fieldwork in all centers was undertaken few more times (March 1991, Jan. 1992 and Feb. 1992). Since 1992, I have revisited the places several more times to be on track with the problem investigated. The visit to monuments at different seasons of the year and at different strokes of the clock in a day helped to develop an intimacy with art and its glorious heritage. I am deeply indebted to the funding agencies, the UGC, ICHR, AIIS and the Tamil University, but for whose help the visits to the field and libraries would have been a nightmare.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Children’s Books (81)
Brahma Sutras (85)
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