ISBN 9789069801001,The Vakatakas: An Essay in Hindu Iconology

The Vakatakas: An Essay in Hindu Iconology



Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd

Publication Year 1997

ISBN 9789069801001

ISBN-10 9069801000

Hard Back

Number of Pages 226 Pages
Language (English)

The Arts

For now more than half a century, scholars of the history of Western art have become familiar with the idea that art is embedded in a social and cultural context which imbues it with meaning and as such may be viewed as a source which generates knowledge concerning this context; this again may result in a better understanding of the artefact itself. This synthetic method of investigation, known under the name of 'iconology,' has proved to be of great value in the research of the history of culture. The present book is an essay in which the 'classical age' of India is studied by exploring textual as well as archaeological sources that relate to the kingdom of the Vakatakas, the southern neighbours of the Guptas in the fourth and fifth centuries AD. A great number of inscriptions and Hindu sculptures have been discovered and published during the last two decades, giving a new dimension to our appreciation of the culture of the Vakatakas, who formerly were mainly renowned for the artistic achievements of the Buddhist monuments in Ajanta. Among these inscriptions the one found in the Kevala-Narasimha Temple on Ramtek Hill (Ramagiri) deserves special mention as it throws a flood of light on the political history of the Vakatakas and their relationship with the Guptas. This book draws on the new sculptural and epigraphical evidence in presenting a history of the Vakataka kingdom. The (Hindu) sculptures found in the eastern Vakataka realm are brought together for the first time in an illustrated catalogue, their findspots are surveyed, their iconography is studied and their link with Ajanta is pointed out. A scrutiny of contemporaneous Sanskrit texts underpins the sometimes extraordinary iconography of the images; in combination with the political history of the Vakatakas this results in a fascinating picture of the (religious) culture of a fourth- and fifth-century elite of Central India.