Walking With Siva: Cognitive Roots of Indian Art, Archaeology and Religion (In 2 Volumes)

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This volume speaks about the quest for the idea and image of a Universal Being which can be all things to all beings. It moves afar, looking for parallels, precedents and progenies, in Asia and the world, of the unique, hydra-limbed, massive 5th century ad Rudra Siva image found at Tala in Chattisgarh in India in 1987. It explores the immense vitality of its presence, simultaneity, ambiguity and profundity of its denotative and connotative meaning.

Based on excavations, explorations, conservation and restoration, led by the author, the volume separates chaff from grain by a penetrating historiographic investigation; conceptually reconstructs dismembered monuments and sites on archaeological evidence; digs deep into epigraphic, philosophical, religious, botanical and artistic texts to recover the polyvalent script of the art; substantiates this script ethnoarchaeologically by retrieving, from oral evidence and ritual practices, corollary tribal imagery and monastic rites; rebuilds the composite stylistic movement in architecture and sculpture, in a rigorous, comparative analysis of the spatial temporal context of unities and variations; and, opens up new vistas in Indian Art History, by using cross-disciplinary methods, and, effecting a fine-tuned fusion of Indian and Western interpretative horizons.

The volume provides, in 687 illustrations and maps, extensive notes and references, glossary and index, a close view of the large ground traversed by Dr. Chakravarty. It corrects the amnesia and aphasia, loss of memory and speech, about an eternal flux of being and becoming, of human and non-human communities, dramatically staged in the theatre of the universe. The author’s fascinating enterprise brings to light a new and neglected school of art in Daksina Kosala-Cakrakotya-Vidarbha-Kalinga region, created in the deepest and poorest recesses of hilly and forested tribal tracts of India. The daring innovation, experimental ardour, fervid curiosity, pent-up energy and ardent humanism of the art remain an example for succeeding generations and explode the notion of its primitive, retrograde nature, nursed earlier.

Contents: Introduction. 1. Ancient geographical situation of Tala. 2. A brief political history of Daksina Kosala and Tala. 3. The archaeology of Tala. 4. Historiography for Tala and Daksina Kosala. 5. Architecture at Tala. 6. The style of Tala sculpture. 7. Iconography and iconology of Tala art. 8. On ethnography. 9. Origins and influence of Tala architecture. 10. Conclusion. Glossary. Bibliography. Index.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty

Dr. Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty is a renowned art-historian with M.A. in History from Calcutta. University. M.P.A. in Public Administration and Ph.D. in Fine Art from Harvard University, U.S.A. He has lectured extensively in India and abroad. He has many publications to his credit including books on Orccha, Gwalior Fort. Khajuraho, Rock Art in India and the World, Dangwada excavation, the Indian Family. He has launched and edited important issues of the archaeological magazine Puratan. Some of his forthcoming publications are the Early Buddhist Art of Bodhgaya, Art of Daksina Kosala, articles in the Macmillan Dictionary of Art, London, an edited volume on Tribal Identity. He has chaired sessions in national and international seminars including World Archaeology Congress, World Ethnobiology Congress, Indian Science Congress. He is member of many expert committees and learned societies at the State, national and international level. A senior member of the Indian Administrative Service, he has specially concerned himself with development of museums and organization of excavation, conservation and non-invasive recycling of monuments, ecological monitoring of cultural and administrative initiatives throughout his eventful career. At present, he is Director, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (National Museum of Man) at Bhopal, promoting a multidisciplinary museum movement dedicated to the revitalization of dead, languishing, vanishing arts and crafts, ethnic identity, skills and knowledge.


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Bibliographic information

Walking With Siva: Cognitive Roots of Indian Art, Archaeology and Religion (In 2 Volumes)
1st. ed.
liv+332p., Colour Plates; Maps.