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Narrative, Place, and the Śaiva Imaginary in Early Medieval North India
In Mapping the Pāśupata Landscape: Narrative, Place, and the Śaiva Imaginary in Early Medieval North India, Elizabeth A. Cecil explores the sacred geography of the earliest community of Śiva devotees called the Pāśupatas. This book brings the narrative cartography of the Skandapurāṇa into conversation with physical landscapes, inscriptions, monuments, and icons in order to examine the ways in which Pāśupatas were emplaced in regional landscapes and to emphasize the use of material culture as media through which notions of belonging and identity were expressed. By exploring the ties between the formation of early Pāśupata communities and the locales in which they were embedded, this study reflects critically upon the ways in which community building was coincident with place-making in Early Medieval India.
The History, Architecture, and Legacy of Catholic Sacred Structures in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei Province
China’s Old Churches, by Alan Sweeten, surveys the history of Catholicism in China (1600 to the present) as reflected by the location, style, and details of sacred structures in three crucial areas of north China. Closely examined are the most famous and important churches in the urban settings of Beijing and Tianjin, as well as lesser-known ones in rural Hebei Province.
Missionaries built Western-looking churches to make a broad religious statement important to themselves and Chinese worshippers. Non-Catholics, however, tended to see churches as sociopolitically foreign and culturally invasive. The physical-visual impact of church buildings is significant. Today, restored old churches and new sacred structures are still mostly of Western style, but often include a sacred grotto dedicated to Our Lady of China--a growing number of Catholics supporting Marian-centered activities.
Women, Rites, and Ritual Objects in Premodern Japan, edited by Karen M. Gerhart, is a multidisciplinary examination of rituals featuring women, in which significant attention is paid to objects produced for and utilized in these rites as a lens through which larger cultural concerns, such as gender politics, the female body, and the materiality of the ritual objects, are explored. The ten chapters encounter women, rites, and ritual objects in many new and interactive ways and constitute a pioneering attempt to combine ritual and gendered analysis with the study of objects.
Contributors include: Anna Andreeva, Monica Bethe, Patricia Fister, Sherry Fowler, Karen M. Gerhart, Hank Glassman, Naoko Gunji, Elizabeth Morrissey, Chari Pradel, Barbara Ruch, Elizabeth Self.

In Royal Umbrellas of Stone: Memory, Politics, and Public Identity in Rajput Funerary Art, Melia Belli Bose provides the first analysis of Rajput chatrīs ("umbrellas"; cenotaphs) built between the sixteenth to early-twentieth centuries. New kings constructed chatrīs for their late fathers as statements of legitimacy. During periods of political upheaval patrons introduced new forms and decorations to respond to current events and evoke a particular past. Offering detailed analyses of individual cenotaphs and engaging with art historical and epigraphic evidence, as well as ethnography and ritual, this book locates the chatrīs within their original social, political, and religious milieux. It also compares the chatrīs to other Rajput arts to understand how arts of different media targeted specific audiences.
Author: Hans Bakker
The World of the Skandapurāṇa explores the historical, religious and literary environment that gave rise to the composition and spread of this early Purana text devoted to Siva. It is argued that the text originated in circles of Pasupata ascetics and laymen, probably in Benares, in the second half of the 6th and first half of he 7th centuries. The book describes the political developments in Northern India after the fall of the Gupta Empire until the successor states which arose after the death of king Harsavardhana of Kanauj in the second half of the 7th century. The work consists of two parts. In the first part the historical environment in which this Purāṇa was composed is described. The second part explores six localities in Northern India that play a prominent role in the text. It is richly illustrated and contains a detailed bibliography and index.