The rule of the Chola dynasty in South India between the ninth and thirteenth centuries was a period of unparalleled creativity in Indian art. Known as the Golden Age of Tamil Culture, the Chola period produced dynamic royal personalities who shaped the artistic activity of theirtimes. Art of the Imperial Cholas examines the dynasty's architectural and sculptural achievements, which stand among the masterpieces of India.
This book explores the puzzling phenomenon of new veiling practices among lower middle class women in Cairo, Egypt. Although these women are part of a modernizing middle class, they also voluntarily adopt a traditional symbol of female subordination. How can this paradox be explained? An explanation emerges which reconceptualizes what appears to be reactionary behavior as a new style of political struggle--as accommodating protest. These women, most of them clerical workers in the large government bureaucracy, are ambivalent about working outside the home, considering it a change which brings new burdens as well as some important benefits. At the same time they realize that leaving home and family is creating an intolerable situation of the erosion of their social status and the loss of their traditional identity. The new veiling expresses women's protest against this. MacLeod argues that the symbolism of the new veiling emerges from this tense subcultural dilemma, involving elements of both resistance and acquiescence.
One of the most remarkable artistic achievements of the Mughal Empire was the emergence in the early seventeenth century of portraits of identifiable individuals, unprecedented in both South Asia and the Islamic world. Appearing at a time of increasing contact between Europe and Asia, portraits from the reigns of the great Mughal emperor-patrons Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan are among the best-known paintings produced in South Asia. In the following centuries portraiture became more widespread in the visual culture of South Asia, especially in the rich and varied traditions of painting, but also in sculpture and later prints and photography. This collection seeks to understand the intended purpose of a range of portrait traditions in South Asia and how their style, setting and representation may have advanced a range of aesthetic, social and political functions. The chapters range across a wide historical period, exploring ideals of portraiture in Sanskrit and Persian literature, the emergence and political symbolism of Mughal portraiture, through to the paintings of the Rajput courts, sculpture in Tamil temples and the transformation of portraiture in colonial north India and post-independence Pakistan. This specially commissioned collection of studies from a strong list of established scholars and rising stars makes a significant contribution to South Asian history, art and visual culture.
Are Indian women powerful mother goddesses, or domestic handmaidens trailing behind men in literacy, wages, opportunities, and rights? Have they been agents of their own destinies, or voiceless victims of patriarchy? Behind these colorful over-simplifications lies the reality of many feminine personas belonging to various classes, ethnicities, religions, and castes. This two-volume set looks at Indian history from ancient to modern times, revealing precisely why ideas of gender rights were not static across eras or regions. Raman's work is a reflection on the various ways in which women in a non-Western culture have developed and expressed their own feminist agenda. Are Indian women powerful mother goddesses, or domestic handmaidens trailing behind men in literacy, wages, opportunities, and rights? Have they been agents of their own destinies, or voiceless victims of patriarchy? Behind these coloful over-simplifications lies the reality of many feminine personas belonging to various classes, ethnicities, religions, and castes. This two-volume set looks at Indian history from ancient to modern times, revealing precisely why ideas of gender rights were not static across eras or regions. Raman's work is a reflection on the various ways in which women in a non-western culture have developed and expressed their own feminist agenda. Individual chapters highlight the enduring legacies of many important male and female figures, illustrating how each played a key role in modifying the substance of women's lives. Political movements are examined as well, such as the nationalist reform movement of 1947 in which the ideal of Indian womanhood became central to the nation and the push for independence. Also included is a survey of women in contemporary India and the role they played in the resurgence of militant Hindu nationalism. Aside from being an engaging and readable narrative of Indian history, this set integrates women's issues, roles, and achievements into the general study of the times, providing a clear presentation of the social, cultural, religious, political, and economic realities that have helped shape the identity of Indian women.
This book offers an interpretive history of bhakti, an influential religious perspective in Hinduism. Prentiss argues that although bhakti is mentioned in every contemporary sourcebook on Indian religions, it still lacks an agreed-upon definition. "Devotion" is found to be the most commonly used synonym. Prentiss seeks a new perspective on this elusive concept. Her analysis of Tamil (south Indian) materials leads her to suggest that bhakti be understood as a doctrine of embodiment. Bhakti, she says, urges people towards active engagement in the worship of God. She proposes that the term "devotion" be replaced by "participation," emphasizing bhakti's call for engagement in worship and the necessity of embodiment to fulfill that obligation.
The Rāmāyaṇa traditions of South India and Southeast Asia are examined at multiple levels in this volume. The research presented here offers in-depth investigations of chosen moments in the development of the epic tradition together with broader trends that help in understanding the epic’s multivalence. The journey and localization of the Rāmāyaṇa is explored in its manifold expressions – from classical to folk, from temples and palaces to theatres and by-lanes in cities and villages, and from ancient to modern times. Regional Rāmāyaṇas from different parts of South India and Southeast Asia are placed in deliberate juxtaposition to enable a historically informed discussion of their connected pasts across land and seas. The three parts of this volume, organized as visual, literary, and performance cultures, discuss the sculpted, painted, inscribed, written, recited, and performed Rāmāyaṇas. A related emphasis is on the way boundaries of medium and genre have been crossed in the visual, literary, and performed representations of the Rāmāyaṇa. These are rewarding directions of research that have thus far received little attention. Bringing together 19 well-known scholars in Rāmāyaṇa studies from Cambodia, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, UK, and USA, this thought-provoking and elegantly illustrated volume engages with the inherent plurality, diversity, and adaptability of the Rāmāyaṇa in changing socio-political, religious, and cultural contexts and with shifting norms, tastes, traditions, and ideologies.
The sensuous human form-elegant and eye-catching-is the dominant feature of premodern Indian art. From the powerful god Shiva, greatest of all yogis and most beautiful of all beings, to stone dancers twisting along temple walls, the body in Indian art is always richly adorned. Alankara (ornament) protects the body and makes it complete and attractive; to be unornamented is to invite misfortune. In The Body Adorned, Vidya Dehejia, who has dedicated her career to the study of Indian art, draws on the literature of court poets, the hymns of saints and acharyas, and verses from inscriptions to illuminate premodern India's unique treatment of the sculpted and painted form. She focuses on the coexistence of sacred and sensuous images within the common boundaries of Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu "sacred spaces," redefining terms like "sacred" and "secular" in relation to Indian architecture. She also considers the paradox of passionate poetry, in which saints praised the sheer bodily beauty of the divine form, and nonsacred Rajput painted manuscripts, which freely inserted gods into the earthly realm of the courts. By juxtaposing visual and literary sources, Dehejia demonstrates the harmony between the sacred and the profane in classical Indian culture. Her synthesis of art, literature, and cultural materials not only generates an all-inclusive picture of the period but also revolutionizes our understanding of the cultural ethos of premodern India.
This book highlights the specificities of Indian portraiture in sculpted and painted images, its relationship with divine images and aims, with the help of textual and epigraphical references, to understand the development of Indian imagery. It questions also the social and religious implications related to this issue.
Presented here is a novel approach to understanding the relationship between the past and the present using the unique concept of re-use, wherein elements from the past are strategically adapted into the present, and thus become part of a new modernity. The book uses this method as a heuristic tool for analysing and interpreting cultural and political changes and the transnational flow of ideas, concepts and objects. The chapters apply this concept to South Asia but the concept of re-use and the method of its application are both general and amenable to cross-cultural and comparative analysis. Re-use is a collection of well-researched and lucidly written scholarly articles that apply the concept of re-use to different aspects of cultural, political and material life-from art, architecture and jewellery to religion, statesmen and legislatures. By not treating artistic, political, religious and cultural developments as linear evolutions, this book encourages readers to understand them as a continuous modification of the past and a periodic return to earlier forms. Beautifully illustrated with exquisite images, and containing a scholarly bibliography pointing in the direction of hitherto unexplored terrain, this new text will be a source of inspiration to the specialist and a source of delight to the general reader.
When Rajaraja Chola ascended the throne, the land of Tamils entered upon centuries of grandeur. He left behind a stupendous legacy, which has not lost its sheen even after a thousand years. During his regime, we see powerful productive forces at work, newly liberated by the advances made in manufacturing and trade. Through interesting facts and riveting analyses, the reader can vividly experience the tumultuous developments of this perioud. It bring to life the social, political and economic underpinnings of that time - expansion of agriculture, rise of nagarams, maturing of self-governing corporate bodies, phenomenal increase in inland and overseas trade networks, and overall strengthening of the administrative and military apparatus, which would later bring South-east Asia under its influence. Equally important to the stability of the empire was the compelling iconography of Saivism, which this book presents in a sublime and engrossing style. Written by Raghavan Srinivasan, the author of Yugantar, this book recreates the history of a South Indian king and his imperial empire, in a form that would appeal to the academia and the wider public audience alike. "A rousing attempt at piecing together the lives and times of the Tamil country's most remarkable medieval personality, Rajaraja Chola, who despite the rich artistic legacy, plethora of inscriptions and maritime amnbtions, has remained an enigmatic figure." - SHARADA SRINIVASAM, Professor, School of Humanities, National Institute of Advanced Studies.