This is a study that focuses on the art and architecture of a group of Buddhist rock-cut monuments excavated on the western edge of the Deccan Plateau in India. It analyses the various cultural, historical and religious phenomena that shaped the caves at Aurangabad through the first seven centuries of the Common Era and it comments on the Buddhist tradition of the western Deccan as a whole. The result is a comprehensive work that does not address exclusively iconography and chronology, but looks beyond Aurangabad to the larger artistic and religious traditions of the Indian Subcontinent.
Pia Brancaccio, Ph.D. (1995) in Indian Art and Archaeology, Universita' degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale", Italy, is Assistant Professor of Art History at Drexel University, Philadelphia. She has published extensively on Buddhist art and multicultural systems in ancient South Asia, with a special focus on Gandhara and the western regions of the Deccan plateau, including a book co-edited with Kurt Behrendt entitled
Gandharan Buddhism: Archaeology, Art and Text (UBC Press, 2006).
'The title of this superb volume does not fully prepare the reader for its broad scope of relevance well beyond the site of Aurangabad for an understanding of Indian art, religious communities, and socio-economic history spanning eight hundred years (...) Pia Brancaccio not only provides a much-needed focused study, but she also follows the ramifications of the issues that arise from her examination of the site to lead the reader to international trade communities in Africa, Buddhist pilgrimage routes in China, related monasteries in Gandhara, and temples of the Pasupata sect of Saivism, to name but a few.(...) When she takes the site at its own terms, (...) Brancaccio meets the challenge and turns a bright light onto some of the most difficult passages of India's art history while offering cogent explanations to some of the toughest problems in the field.'
Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, San Diego Museum of Art,
researchers interested in many disciplines such as South Asian Art History, Archaeology, History, Epigraphy, Indian Ocean Trade, History of Religion - Buddhism and Hinduism.