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Abhinavagupta on Dance and Dramatic Acting
Author:
What is Dance? What is Theatre? What is the boundary between enacting a character and narrating a story? When does movement become tinted with meaning? And when does beauty shine alone as if with no object? These universal aesthetic questions find a theoretically vibrant and historically informed set of replies in the oeuvre of the eleventh-century Kashmirian author Abhinavagupta. The present book offers the first critical edition, translation, and study of a crucial and lesser known passage of his commentary on the Nāṭyaśāstra, the seminal work of Sanskrit dramaturgy. The nature of dramatic acting and the mimetic power of dance, emotions, and beauty all play a role in Abhinavagupta’s thorough investigation of performance aesthetics, now presented to the modern reader.
A Multidisciplinary Perspective
Editor:
Re-envisioning Śiva Naṭarāja. A Multidisciplinary Perspective offers new insights into the dancing Śiva as icon and concept. Each of the seven essays in this volume addresses an aspect of the Naṭarāja (a specific form of the dancing Śiva) that has been until now untouched by scholars, or one for which the research is here moved substantially forward. Through the use of hitherto unexplored materials - murals, prints, icons, Sanskrit iconographic and ritual texts, Tamil inscriptions, and the analysis of metal alloys and casting techniques - old views are checked and challenged, and new ideas are proposed. Combining a wide range of fields of expertise, the volume will add to our knowledge about this well-studied, but poorly understood icon. With contributions by Anna A. Ślączka, Anna L. Dallapiccola, Nicolas Cane, Leslie C. Orr, Richard H. Davis, Sharada Srinivasan, Libbie Mills, Corinna Wessels-Mevissen.
An Illustrated Selection from the ABIA Online Bibliography on the Arts and Material Culture of South and Southeast Asia
Reading Śiva is an illustrated bibliography on the Hindu god Śiva in the arts, crafts, coins, seals and inscriptions from South and Southeast Asia. It results from a century of ABIA bibliographic work and covers over 1500 academic publications since 1672. This scholarly and multi-disciplinary volume offers keyword-indexed annotations. The detailed indices on authors, geographic terms and subjects enable an easy search through the data. Links with the entries to resource repositories (such as JSTOR, Persée, Project MUSE, Academia.edu, ResearchGate and the Internet Archive) and links added to the sumptuous illustrations immediately take you to these resource sites.
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.
Studies in the Cultural History of India
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The 31 selected and revised articles in the volume Holy Ground: Where Art and Text Meet, written by Hans Bakker between 1986 and 2016, vary from theoretical subjects to historical essays on the classical culture of India. They combine two mainstreams: the Sanskrit textual tradition, including epigraphy, and the material culture as expressed in works of religious art and iconography. The study of text and art in close combination in the actual field where they meet provides a great potential for understanding. The history of holy places is therefore one of the leitmotivs that binds these studies together.
One article, "The Ramtek Inscriptions II", was co-authored by Harunaga Isaacson, two articles, on "Moksadharma 187 and 239–241" and "The Quest for the Pasupata Weapon," by Peter C. Bisschop.
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Dharma and Puṇya: Buddhist Ritual Art of Nepal explores the centrality of ritual practices and the agency of people – patrons, ritual specialists, devotees – in creating and amplifying the efficacy of Buddhist art. Jinah Kim and Todd Lewis highlight the unparalleled contributions of Nepal’s artisans, patrons, and ritualists in engendering artistic heritage that is an endearing continuation of Indic Buddhist traditions. The publication presents paintings, illuminated texts, statues, and ritual implements from the Newar tradition in the Kathmandu Valley. Richly illustrated with photographs of contemporary rituals, religious observances, and historical examples, the essays provide cultural, historical and ritual contexts in which objects collected in art museums were used, and animate them. By recentering the historical imagination on communities, their rituals, and popular narrative traditions, Dharma and Puṇya challenges prevailing misconceptions about Buddhism in the West and expand our understanding of Buddhism as a lived world religion. Contributors include: Naresh Bajracharya, Louis Coppleston, Sonali Dhingra, James Giambrone, Jinah Kim, Todd Lewis, Bruce McCoy Owens, Alexander von Rospatt and Sumon Tuladhar.
Artistic Encounters between Europe and Asia at the Courts of India, 1580-1630
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In Mughal Occidentalism, Mika Natif elucidates the meaningful and complex ways in which Mughal artists engaged with European art and techniques from the 1580s-1630s. Using visual and textual sources, this book argues that artists repurposed Christian and Renaissance visual idioms to embody themes from classical Persian literature and represent Mughal policy, ideology and dynastic history. A reevaluation of illustrated manuscripts and album paintings incorporating landscape scenery, portraiture, and European objects demonstrates that the appropriation of European elements was highly motivated by Mughal concerns. This book aims to establish a better understanding of cross-cultural exchange from the Mughal perspective by emphasizing the agency of local artists active in the workshops of Emperors Akbar and Jahangir.

Shahnama Studies III focuses on the hugely successful afterlife of the Shahnama or Book of Kings, completed by the poet Firdausi around 1010 AD. This long epic grew out to be an icon of Persian culture and served as a source of inspiration for art and literature, leaving its traces in manifold ways. The contributors to this volume each treat an aspect of the rich legacy of the Shahnama and offer new insights in Shahnama manuscript studies, the illustration of the Shahnama, the phenomenon of later epics, and the Shahnama in later texts and contexts.
Author:
Walter Spink’s intense concern with the development of the Ajanta caves and their architectural, sculptural and painted features finds its most insistent reflection in his present richly illustrated study. In part 1, Spink explains the many connections between the Bagh caves and its “sister site”, Ajanta. He particularly emphasizes the leading role that Bagh plays in establishing the “short chronology” and in the crucial matter of Buddhist shrine development from the aniconic to iconic forms of worship.
In part 2, along with his colleague Professor Naomichi Yaguchi, who also provided the photographs and the newly informative plans, the authors show how, over the course of a mere decade, better and better ways were discovered to fit the doors in the cells where the monks lived. Such an analysis reveals the vigor of the conceptual and technical changes that characterize Ajanta’s evolution from its start in the early 460s to its traumatic collapse in about 470. Moving from Ajanta’s beginning to its ending, the evolution of door fittings parallels the precise and dramatic
development of Indian history in the remarkable course of the emperor Harisena’s reign.

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.