Portraiture in Early India

Between Transience and Eternity


In the study of Indian art prior to the Mughal period, portraiture has so far been much neglected, when its existence has not simply been denied. This book is an attempt to reassess this issue, by showing that portraits have existed in great number in early India, since probably the first artistic achievements. Through a close scrutiny of sculpted and (more rarely) painted images brought together with textual and epigraphical references, it aims at highlighting the specificities of Indian portraiture, its relationship with divine images and, consequently, at understanding the development of Indian imagery. It questions also the social and religious implications related to this issue.

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Biographical Note

Vincent Lefèvre, Ph.D (2004) in Indian Studies, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, is curator, formerly at the Musée Guimet, Paris, and now for the Louvre Abu Dhabi project. He has published extensively on Indian art and on Sanskrit normative texts.


All those interested in South Asian art, history and religions but also those interested in the concept of portraiture in general.

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