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Splendour of Sculptural Art of Brahmaputra Valley

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Item Code: HAT522
Author: Vinay Kumar Rao
Publisher: Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2024
ISBN: 9789392556333
Pages: 305 (B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 11.5x8.5 inch
Weight 1.38 kg
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Book Description
About the Book

An attempt to reconstruct the ancient society of Assam and its deep cultural-socio linkage with other region of Bharat may be done through studying various sculptural depiction found in religious monuments of Assam which are both religious and secular in nature. From the study of various works, it is known that the writers give importance on iconography and no serious effort has made to study the religious developments and general life of people of Assam based on sculptural sources. Though brief surveys of discoveries in the field of sculptures have been made by several writers on the early history of Assam, sculptural art did not get adequate attention. Besides carving the gods, the feminine cult has always a matter of great interest among the people of Assam which is clearly reflected in sculptural art of Assam where plenty of Brahmanical, Buddhist and Šakta deities are carved in sculptural art.

Prior to the political oppression of the British to Assam, a well organised social, cultural, spiritual, and commercial relationship between the people of Assam and other parts of Bharat relations was in existence. The subject in sculptural art of Assam is not restricted to depiction of gods only and many mundane and secular scenes could also be seen where an individual is carved in such as single, family, and social respect, Image worship of the god in symbolic and anthropomorphic form got reflected in art of Assam, which not only satisfied the religious urge of the people, but also create fear and respect for gods. The present book intends to trace the development of sculptural art in Brahmaputra valley and explore the participation of people in secular and religious activities. This book aims to trace the cultural affinity of people and their life style of Ancient Assam with other parts of Bhurat.

About the Author

Vinay Kumar Rao (1971) received his school education from various Kendriya Vidyalaya. He has obtained his Graduate and Post Graduate degrees from Allahabad University with specialization in Archaeology. He has completed his Doctoral Research from VBS Purvanchal University, Jaunpur in year 2003- 04. He received Junior Research Fellowship from Indian Council of Historical Research. New Delhi and visited Xi'an, Peoples Republic of China under Woodculish Academic Exchange Programme. He has received practical training to study coins and inscriptions in situ from Indian Institute of Research in Numismatics, Anjaneri, Nasik and Directorate of Epigraphy, Archaeological Survey of India, Mysore. He has presented number of papers on topics related to Buddhist Sculptural art in international conferences in India and abroad. He is associated with Field School of Archaeology, Ministry of Culture, Union of Myanmar as guest faculty since 2010. He has published six books Women in Buddhist Art, Buddhist Sculptural Art of Lower Krishna Valley, Buddhist Art of Pagan, Bauddha Kala mein Näri Ankan, Burma ki Bauddha Murtikula mein Bharatiya Prabhav, and Bharat ki Bauddh Mürtikala aur Arakan par Uska Prabhav. He has good number of publications in field of Archaeology especially in Buddhist Art of India and Myanmar.

He has visited Germany, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran, China, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and South Korea for presenting papers in seminars and conferences and in connection to collect primary research material. He has served as a faculty in Assam University, Silchar (Assam), Punjah Central University, Bathinda (Punjab), Haryana Central University Mahendragarh (Haryana). He has completed his tenure as a member in National Monuments Authority under Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Presently he is working as a Professor in Special Centre for the Study of North East India, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.


I express my thanks to the Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi, for supporting the special area research programme "Imaging the Artistic Elements of Gangetic Valley in Sculptural Art of Assam." The present book is an outcome of the above research programme primarily based on field study. I also extend my sincere regards to Prof. Sudhir Kumar Singh, Dr. Jogesh Kakati, and Dr. Manjil Hazarika, the co-investigators of this research programme, who have always been very helpful to me in every circumstance. I remember the company of Dr. Manjil and Dr. Raktim Patar, who not only provided the logistical support for my field trips but also accompanied me on various field trips in various parts of Assam. I would like to express my sincere regards to Mrs. Asha Joshi, Office Assistant of my centre, and Ms. Jaya Joshi, Ms. Shreya Sharma, and Ms. Geetashri Baruah, the Research Associates and Assistants who have been very helpful in this research work.


Himalayas along the Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. The name Assam has been derived from asama or unequal in the Tai Ahom language. It has however been interpreted in different ways by different scholar historians over the ages. Some also opine that Axom has been derived from Ahom, while others consider Assam to mean uneven. Assam was known as Pragjyotisapura and 'Kamarupa'- while Pragjyotisapura means the eastern belt of Jyotisa or Astrology, some scholars emphasize that Kamarupa has been derived from Kamakhya (Kakati 1948: 6), a principal Goddess of the region, while others believe that Kamarupa has been derived from Kämadeva, who after being turned into ashes by Siva's wrath, regained his rupa or form here.

The modern state of Assam covers 78,438 km² and shares its borders with Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh to the north, Nagaland and Manipur to the east, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, and Bangladesh to the south and west Bengal to the west via the Siliguri corridor. The landmass of Assam is distinctly uneven with small valleys and plains amid scattered hills, hillocks, and plateau-like highlands. Keeping in mind its undulating surface, geographically, Assam could be divided into three geographical regions - the Brahmaputra valley, the hill districts, and the Cachar plain, of which the Brahmaputra Valley is the largest in size.

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