This text looks at the role of art in the Indian subcontinent and then analyzes early art from the Indus civilization (2000 BC) to the time of Buddha (c.5000 BC). The Mauryan emperor Ashoka (4th century BC), was an important player in the dissemination of Buddhism, using art to this end. A stable economic base and the rise of a mercantile community were important in Buddhism's growth. Inscriptions show that the contributions to pay for art came from housewives, householders, merchants, traders and a range of other common people. The vibrant narrative tradition displayed in this art is analyzed.
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This book is a worthy addition to Phaidon's excellent Art and Ideas series, which provides overviews of the major art traditions of the world. India is vast (the size of Europe); the birthplace of great religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism; and the home of sophisticated civilizations dating back more than 4,000 years. These factors combine to give India one of the longest and most complex art traditions of the world--and one of the hardest to make accessible to the general reader.
Vidya Dehejia, curator of Indian art at the Smithsonian Institution, is up to the task. She sets the scene with an invaluable chapter explaining ancient Indian theories of art and aesthetics, including the responsibilities of the viewer. Most important is the realization that "the consistent fabric of Indian life was never rent by the Western dichotomy between religious belief and worldly practice"--hence the easy coexistence in India of extreme religious asceticism and the overt eroticism that pervades temples like Khajuraho and Patan. The book proceeds in a grand sweep, from the ancient cities of the Indus valley, the development of Buddhist art (which by the 12th century had faded away in the land of its birth), the glorious paintings of Ajanta, the luxury of Mughal art and architecture, art of the British Raj, to today's artistic ferment. Clear and well-written, with nearly 300 well-chosen color illustrations, this is an extremely useful introduction to India's vast artistic wealth. --John StevensonAbout the Author:
Vidya Dehejia is Associate Director and Chief Curator at the Arthur M Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Her publications include Discourse in Early Buddhist Art, Visual Narratives of India and Slaves of the Lord: The Path of the Tamil Saints.
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Descrizione libro Phaidon Press, 1997. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Never used!. Codice libro della libreria P110714834963