This volume is a tribute to Professor M.A. Dhaky's profound and influential scholarship by an international community of well-
known scholars in the field of South and Southeast Asian temple art and architecture. The thirty-two essays that make this book
unfold many layers of the temples' imagery, taking a broad view and traversing religious, cultural, and temp6ral boundaries. While a
majority of these are rooted in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal. Cambodia, and Vietnam also figure prominently.
Preceded by valuable insights into M.A. Dhaky's encyclopedic writings, the volume is configured along six sub-themes inspired by
his contributions to the discipline. These include the architectonics of temples, their varied materials and milieus, stylistics,
patronage and transregional connections; studies of architectural elements in culture-specific contexts; inter-relationships between
sculpture and architecture in the temple's larger narrative; the embodiment of cult icons; other non-cultic manifestations on the
temple; ritual observances and performance traditions. Several of the essays move in and out of M.A. Dhaky's writings, building
upon themes addressed by him, extending his methods to newer materials, regions, and time-frames, and charting fresh paths that
extend the orbit of temple studies.
Scholars and interested readers will find in this volume a thoughtful and cohesive collection of the most recent and insightful
research on art historical aspects of South and Southeast Asian temples by the finest minds engaged in the field.
Parul Pandya Dhar, Associate Professor in the department of History, University of Delhi, specializes in the history of ancient and
medieval Indian architecture and Sculpture and artistic exchange between south and southeast Asia. An Alexander von Humboldt
Research fellow in Indian Art History, Germany (2007-08), she has developed and taught specialized courses at the intersection of
art and history at post-graduate and research levels. Her academic commitment to visual art histories is complemented by years of
training, performances, and lecture- demonstrations in classical Indian dance in India and abroad. Her books include The Torana in
Indian and Southeast Asian Arachitecture (2010, authored), Indian Art History: Changing Perspectives (2011, edited), and Asian
Encounters: Exploring Connected Histories (2014, co-edited) among other research writings and projects.
Gred J.R. Mevissen is an independent researcher affiliated to the Asian Art Museum, Berlin, Germany. He studied Architecture at
the Technische Universitat Berlin (Dipl. -Ing. Arch., 1974-80), and Indian Art History at the freie Universitat Berlin (M.A., 1985-
90. He served as Lecturer at the former Institute fur Indische Philologie und Kunstgeschichte (Institute Unjustifiably discontinued),
Freie Universitat Berlim (1990-95), and as Assistant Curator at the former Museum fur Indische Kunst, Berlin (2002-02). He is
executive editor of the research journals Berliner Indologische Studien (Since 1995) and Indo-Asiatische Zeitschrift (since 1997)
,has edited several volumes of collected papers (since 1991), and published about 70 studies on aspects of ancient Indian art and
iconography (Hindu, Buddhist, Jain), focusing on systematic documentation of groups of minor deities .
Some months ago, Parul Pandya Dhar told me about a felicitation volume for the dear and revered Professor M.A. Dhaky and asked
me to write a Foreword to the volume. I readily agreed, although I was diffident about my capacity to write a Foreword not just for
a felicitation volume but also a Foreword which would adequately acknowledge the monumental contributions of Dhaky Saheb.
Diffident as I was, I write these few words only to reiterate our indebtedness to him. Prof. Dhaky, fragile and delicate physically, is
flint and platinum inside, with strength, grit, tenacity, resoluteness, and also flexibility. Over the past decades, I have had the
privilege of being associated with his work. The sheer span of his writing is oceanic. It has equally unfathomable depth. Whether in
Banaras or Gurgaon or Ahmedabad, or in Philadelphia or London, Dhaky Saheb has always been himself and his presence has been
incomparable. He combines in himself versatility of scholarship with gentle humour, even banter. I recall many, many occasions of
seminars and gatherings, here and elsewhere. Recalling all this would not be writing a Foreword to the painstaking work by the
editors, Parul Pandya Dhar and GerdJ.R. Mevissen.
As I look at the contents of this volume, it is a veritable collection of writings of 'who's who' in the field of Indian art history. Parul
Pandya Dhar and Gerd J.R. Mevissen have given a comprehensive account of the contributions to this volume in their Introduction
and it is therefore not necessary for me to comment on the contents except to reiterate that the volume is a collection of the writings
of some of the most eminent art historians who have for many decades deliberated on their specialized subjects. This ranges from
Walter Spink to Dhaky Saheb's long-time associate, Michael W Meister, to Pratapaditya Pal, not to speak of Frederick Asher,
Catherine B. Asher, Doris Meth Srinivasan, Adam Hardy, and so many other scholars, from a veteran like Gouriswar Bhattacharya to
a younger scholar like Nachiket Chanchani, with a galaxy of well-known names in between. I am sure that the volume will bring
pleasure to Prof. M.A. Dhaky.
Most of the contributors have also been in touch with Dhaky Saheb at a human and an intellectual level. I can almost visualize or
even hear Dhaky Saheb conversing with them in his modest way but with sharp intellect. I have watched him in many seminars and
have been most delighted and impressed with the lightness with which he carries the weight of his profound scholarship. He could
be serious, sober, deeply reflective, and also almost impishly mischievous.
Honours and accolades have come to him ranging from gold and silver medals, cash awards, and national awards. He has been
awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India, the Ranjit Ram gold medal, and has also been conferred the Fellowship of
the Asiatic Society of Mumbai. It is obvious from these recognitions that he is respected and loved by people with traditional
knowledge, be they scholars of Prakrit and Sanskrit, or archaeologists, or art historians, or lovers of music. Indeed, he combines in
himself the precision of an archaeologist, the discernment of a connoisseur of music, and the depth of an Indologist.
Among his works numbering over 300, one cannot especially identify anyone or even anyone group. Nevertheless, it should be
remembered that the span of his work has been very vast. Even apart from his being a coordinator, editor, and author of the multi-
volume and monumental Encyclopedia of Indian Temple Architecture brought out by the American Institute of Indian Studies, he
has been prolific in his writings. His command over Prakrit and Jaina sources is as impressive as are his articles on numerous topics
in the field of archaeology and art history. Just to give a few random examples, one may mention The Chronology of the Solanki
Temples of Gujarat (1961), The Vyala Figures on the Mediaeval Temples of India (1965), and The Indian Temple Forms in Karnata
Inscriptions and Architecture (1977), among so many more. This is not the occasion to give a description or even a listing of his
monumental contributions. However, perhaps it is pertinent to draw attention to a few others. Who, for example, would think in
terms of writing an entire volume on The Indian Temple Traceries (2005) and another one on The Ceilings in the Temples of
Gujarat (1963)? Both these volumes are as rare as they are penetrating in their analysis of the traceries on the one hand and ceilings
on the other. Dhaky had given a glimpse of this approach in The Indian Temple Forms (1977). These two works, namely Traceries
and Ceilings, concentrate with insightful sharpness on the role of these elements in Indian architecture and are most engaging
volumes. So also is his work on The Temples in Kumbhariyii (2001), which has not received adequate attention.
In the blurb of The Indian Temple Traceries, he makes a statement on what he considers to be the current state of Indian art
Being scholarly and, as a result, of academic disposition, it [ this book] will not have the privilege of the company and prestige of
coffee table books. It likewise cannot be a companion book for the iconographers who in India dominate the field of ancient art and
pass as art historians, nor is it useful to the modernists and lovers exclusively of contemporary arts and literature. What is more, in
orientation, treatment of theme, and the tenor of discussion, it adheres to the methodology of art history proper and, by the same
token, not that of neo-art interpretatory, a different and new discipline which their protagonists, the Newtrendians in the West and
because of them the Newtrendianoids in India, claim and proclaim as 'New art history: just as they look down at the other/original
one by qualifying it as conventional, traditional, old-fashioned, and outmoded. They are largely unconcerned about history and
chronology, socio-religious and cultural background, and ignore style, inherent concepts, philosophy, metaphysics, and aesthetics.
This excerpt was necessary to quote as being illustrative of Prof. M.A. Dhaky's incisive sharpness and candidness.
What can one wish him at this point besides, of course, health and wellbeing, but even more, his continued creativity, which has
depth and finesse in all the languages that he can write in - English, Gujarati, Hindi, and more? He has scaled the mountains and
touched the depth of the oceans in his writings, not only with his scholarship but also by bringing to it a rare humility with, as I said
earlier, a flint-like grit inside.
Finally, I would like to draw attention to three remarkable pieces of writing which are not so well known. One, his contribution in
the volume on Concepts of Space (1991), second, in Concepts of Time (1996), as also his lecture in memory of Prof. Nirmal
Kumar Bose delivered at the IGNCA in 1997. He says in his article, "The Architectonics of Sastriya- Samgita of India", in Concepts
of Space, that
The relationship between Indian music and architecture is somewhat hazily known, even unsuspected in most quarters. On the
testimony of the old Sanskrit texts on music, the two schools, the Northern or Hindustani, and the Southern or Carnatic, still seem
to preserve several essential ancient elements as well as vital components, the Northern the ancient basic principles and norms, the
Southern some of the older formal and structural aspects of representation. Because of these persisting truths and features, both
musical systems still show close correspondence with the structural concepts and obvious aspects of the ancient sacred buildings
existing in their respective areas of origin.
In his article, "The Concept of 'Time' in Nirgrantha Darsana', in Concepts of Time, he draws attention to the Agamic tradition. In his
The agama presents two distinct views; the first view makes 'time' a conditional substantiality, connected with the internal and
external modal changes of other substantialities; in which case, particularly for 'matter', it may imply either that time is matter's
'dimension', or has a 'mass' that is related to the substance of matter. This perception is close enough to the contemporaneous views
of 'time' in Physics. The second view concerning 'time' tends to make it an unconditional substantiality which, though possessing
eternality and Singularity, is monodimensional in disposition.
Quoting Hemacandra, he says that,
[Whether] time is atomic or not is a debatable point and this aspect of the postulate on time is unknown in the writings of the
Northern Nirgrantha teachers, excepting that of Hemacandra who had conceded to it.
In the N.K. Bose Memorial Lecture delivered by him, Prof. M.A. Dhaky is as candid as he is perceptive in terms of both the
confluence as also divergences between the points of view of N.K. Bose and himself. While admiring N.K. Bose and recounting his
encounters with him, Dhaky Saheb makes a perceptive statement that a difference of opinion lay between them in respect of the
terminology that is to be used for Indian architecture. While N.K. Bose has rightly drawn attention to the contribution of workmen
who had primary access and has emphasized that perhaps their technical terminology should also be used, M.A. Dhaky draws
attention to the need for using a standard, or more or less standard, technical vocabulary in Sanskrit. Both these great scholars
agreed to disagree sometimes. This narration by M.A. Dhaky about his conversation with N.K. Bose not only reveals the openness
with which Dhaky Saheb could converse with scholars of the stature of N.K. Bose but also reveals his candidness in acknowledging
Drawing attention to M.A. Dhaky's article in Concepts of Space, where he compares the structures of Indian music with structures
of Indian architecture, and Concepts of Time, relating to Prakrit sources, and also his conversation with N.K. Bose, is only to give
glimpses of the depth of his scholarship - not only his scholarship but also his ability to communicate in different spheres.
I have not done justice to this Foreword but no more can be said than what I began with - the oceanic spread and depth of his
understanding and the lightness with which he carries his profound scholarship. I reiterate that I feel inadequate in writing this
Foreword, honoured as I am to have been asked to pen these few lines. Dhaky Saheb is indeed unique, versatile, and loveable.
This collection of essays is at one level a reaffirmation of the high esteem in which historians of South Asian art and architecture
hold Professor M.A. Dhaky's inspiring scholarship. But it is also more than that: It reflects the most recent and revised research in
South and Southeast Asian art history by some of the finest minds engaged in the field. It is in this sense, we hope, that it qualifies as
an apt celebration of M.A. Dhaky's fundamental and path-breaking contributions to the discipline.
The thirty-two essays that make this volume offer a range of perspectives on the temple arts and architecture of South and Southeast
Asia from the fifth to the nineteenth centuries. While a majority of the papers are rooted in India, there is still a fair and focused
representation of other South and Southeast Asian regions, notably, present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Cambodia, and
Vietnam. This broadening of horizons beyond India is intended to be more than mere tokenism, rooted as it is in more serious
concerns. Our endeavour has been to bring the interconnected histories of these two major Asian regions in greater relief and in
closer conversation with each other within a revised historiographical framework. Specialists of both regions stand to gain
immensely from such an exercise, especially at a time when global art histories, transmissions of artistic knowledge, and cultural
crossings are gaining such widespread focus. What is more, M.A. Dhaky has always evinced deep admiration for the aesthetic
quality of ancient and medieval South and Southeast Asian monuments. Some of his writings bring the Southeast Asian regions in
dialogue with Indian expressions and a few even focus primarily on Southeast Asian art.
The temple is an obvious thematic emphasis, though not the only possible one, for a Festschrift in Prof. Dhaky's honour. This
includes Hindu, Buddhist, and Jaina structures of worship, and in one case, also the mosque or the Rahmana-prdsdda of the
architectural texts. Patterns of patronage and the nature of artistic influence addressed in some of the essays also reveal pluralistic
and heterogeneous cultural milieus. The essays lend themselves to six sub-themes, unfolding many layers of the temples' forms and
imagery and connecting with different aspects of Dhaky's prolific and pioneering writings on the subject. Within each thematic
section, the papers are organized in a chronological sequence. Several essays move in and out of Dhaky's writings, building upon
themes addressed by him earlier, extending his methods to newer regions and time-frames, and also charting fresh paths that expand
the ambit of South and Southeast Asian temple studies.
The first section, 'Architectural Styles, Modes, Materials, and Milieus', addresses the subject of Dhaky's most substantial and
influential contributions to temple studies - the architectonics of temples, their typologies, formal progressions, style, and patronage
in changing contexts. The focus here is on the processes that shaped the temples' contours and influenced the transmission of
architectural forms spatially and temporally. This section includes eight essays and opens with a paper by Walter Spink. Through a
careful scrutiny of the materials, techniques, patronage, and chronological sequence of the Bagh and Ajanta caves, Spink examines
the presence of shrines within Buddhist monastic spaces (viharas), specifically the occurrence of stupas and images of Buddha as
devotional foci within viharas. His analysis of the interface between the two 'sister-sites' has a larger bearing on our understanding
of the dynamics that determine patterns of worship at specific sites.
Michael W Meister's essay offers an incisive analysis of the conceptual and formal development of the Sekhari mode of the temple's
superstructure in northern India. Beginning with the late fifth/ early sixth-century example of the Visnu temple, Deogarh, and
moving fluidly across an enormous range of material, his discussion of the long history of the Sekhari mode is significant also for
its inclusion of the ways in which Sekhari has been perceived by architectural historians besides himself, notably by M.A. Dhaky and
Parul Pandya Dhar's paper engages with processes that shaped temple vocabulary in Campa, Vietnam, during its formative phase.
The transmission of architectural knowledge from India to Campa in ancient times took place directly as well as through the filter
of other cultures along land, sea, and riverine routes. Dhar examines these cross-cultural networks leading to the localization of
architectural ideas and forms in Campa, and draws attention to the fluidity of the trans formative processes that shaped a related yet
distinct architectural language in a distant but connected land.
Adam Hardy carries forward the theme of brick temples, so often missing from the story of Indian temple architecture, through a
methodical decipherment of the structural components and details of Pratihara-period temples from Kalayat and Nasirabad in
central India. His conclusions on the inter-relationship between stone and brick temples and their now-lost common source "from
the early stages of mainstream Nagara-tradition" in central India are significant for an understanding of the development of temple
types and styles not only in India but also in Southeast Asia.
Tamara I. Sears carefully re-examines the style, chronology, and patronage of fifteen early medieval temples from Kadwaha in
central India. She observes a diversity of architectural features even among concurrently-built temples located side-by-side, which is
distinct from the relative stylistic homogeneity noticed at royally-sponsored centre such as Khajuraho. Linking Kadwaha's landscape
to its temples, she suggests alternate ways of understanding temple architecture, less by way of dynasties and more in terms of
Alka Patel examines the plan, style, and ornamental repertoire of the Masjid-i Sangi in Afghanistan (c. 1200 CE) to reassess its
architectural sources and patronage. On account of its affinities with Maru-Gurjara principles as already applied to western Indian
Islamic buildings (Rehmana- Prosada), its commonalities with 12th-century northern Indian Islamic structures, and its shared
features with the Persianate world, in Patel's ultimate analysis, the Masjid-i Sangi (possibly a tomb) embodies the circulation and
innovation of architectural practices resulting from "widened networks and the increased mobility of skilled stone-workers."
Catherine B. Asher discusses Rajput temples built during, and also after, the period of Muslim dominance in northern India,
especially those patronized by the Kachwahas. She questions the tendency of attributing temple destruction entirely to the
conditions of Muslim rule and suggests other plausible explanations for their absence. Her paper offers a textured understanding of
the specific circumstances in which temple-building by the Rajputs found favour among their Muslim overlords, and the impact that
such a political milieu had on the style of these temples.
Frederick Asher's essay offers a lucid account of issues surrounding Queen Ahilyabai Holkar's extensive patronage to temples at
Maheshwar in central India during the 18th century. His findings suggest a central hand in the architectural style of the temples
patronized by her and also draws our attention to Significant clues pointing to the deification of the Queen in some instances.
The second section, 'Architectural Elements', is inspired by Dhaky's in-depth studies of specific architectural elements such as
temple ceilings, traceries, and water-chutes. This part includes four essays, each of these committed to detailed discussions of
different elements of temple architecture, and each adopting a different approach to the study of these elements. Corinna Wessels-
Mevissen elaborates upon the ceiling decorations of northern Karnataka temples, with special emphasis on the padma-vitanas, or
ceilings adorned with the lotus blossom motif. She suggests that the painted ceilings of the Ajanta caves were the likely source of
inspiration for the prolific presence of the lotus motif on early Calukyan temple ceilings. Throughout her essay, Wessels-Mevissen
lavishes careful attention to the symbolism and progression of the decorative aspects of ceiling construction and design during the
mid-sixth to thirteenth centuries in Karnataka.
Anila Verghese's paper engages in a detailed analysis of the architectural features and iconography of the 18th-century composite
pillars carved with three-dimensional figural sculpture and located in the outer hall of the Atmanatha temple, Avudayarkoil, a
remote and little-known town in Tamilnadu, associated with the Salva saint, Manikkavacakar, These pillars are fine examples of
architectural sculpture and exhibit an unusual variety and complexity. They are carved with images of guardians and deities with
complex iconographies, yali figures, horse-riders, and portrait sculptures.
George Michell's essay proposes a Deccan Sultanate origin for the masonry lamp-towers or dipa-stambhas of the 18th-century
Hindu temples of Goa. Through a careful comparison of their architectural features, Michell establishes a close affinity between
these lamp-towers and the corner towers of the Bijapur tombs of the Adil Shahi Sultanate. His discussion of the political
circumstances in which "Portugese Christian and Deccan Sultanate architectural features combined to fulfil a Hindu ritual
requirement" is particularly engaging.
Snehal Shah's paper ushers the vital component of water-architecture associated with sacred structures. His brief discussion is
structured around the architectural features of two lesser-known stepwells of Gujarat - the 13th-century Halvad well in the
Surendranagar district, and the 15th-century Champaner well in the Panchamahal district, both in Gujarat.
The third section of the book takes up the important theme of the relationship between 'Architecture and the Configuration of
Imagery' on temple surfaces. It begins with a thoughtful paper by Gerd J.R. Mevissen on the political Significance of the
Tripurantaka imagery as observed through its arrangement on three royally-sponsored temples of Tamilnadu - the Kailasanatha in
Kancipuram, the Brhadisvara in Tafijavur, and the Airavatesvara in Darasurarn. Mevissen catalogues the occurrence of multiple
images of Tripurantaka, the warrior form of Siva, on these temples and details the specific orientations of each representation in
relation to the chief political enemies of the Pallavas and Colas, under whose patronage these temples were built.
Kumud Kanitkar interprets the arrangement of figural sculpture on the walls of the 12th/13th- century Aundha Naganatha temple,
near Nanded in Maharashtra, which depicts the theology of the Natha sect. She carefully assesses the arrangement of this temple's
imagery in the light of the iconography of its main icons, the works of the 12th/13th-century saint-poets, local traditions, and
comparative imagery on the walls of select temples. Her work suggests a shift in the iconographic programme from the path of
knowledge (jnana- marga) to the path of devotion (bhakti-marga).
Jurgen Neuss' paper discusses the architecture and iconography of the Visnu temple located at the sacred pilgrim centre of
Omkaresvara-Mandhata on the Narmada river in central India. The focus of attention is a unique narrative devapatta, which is
carved in relief and has been fitted into the rebuilt, southern side wall of the temple's mandapa. Neuss meticulously interprets the
narrative registers of this devapatta, which plausibly originated in Mathura, is dominated by Krsna legends, and also includes a
representation of Sesasayi Visnu.
Anna L. Dallapiccola details the configuration and iconography of the exhaustive Ramayana reliefs carved on the walls and pillars
of the 16th-century Cintala-Venkataramana temple at Tadpatri in Andhra Pradesh. She points out that these epic narratives, several
of which are accompanied by Telugu labels that aid in their identification, begin with the Balakanda and end with the Yuddhakanda,
and seem inspired by the 14th-century Ranganatha Ramayana. Her essay concludes with a useful comparison of these epic narratives
with those noticed at the Ramanuja temple, Vijayanagara.
The fourth section of this volume, 'Embodying the Deity', centres attention on the manifestation and iconography of deities who are
the focus of devotion in temples. This part opens with two essays on the visualization of goddess Sri-Laksmi, A.P. Jamkhedkar
offers useful insights into her representation in the oral traditions, beginning with elements of the Laksmi myth in the Srisukta of
the Rgveda. He next demonstrates how the epithets, qualities formulations and motifs associated with her in oral traditions inspired
her embodiment in early Indian art.
Doris Meth Srinivasan's paper, on the other hand, centres on the Gandharan contribution to the development of Laksmi's
iconography in Indian art. Her perceptive deliberations on the subject make judicious use of numismatics as a source to understand
the lesser-known iconographic aspect of depicting goddess Laksmi on the lion-mount.
Stephen Markel and Suraj Pandit's essays shift the focus to the stylistics and iconography of Buddha's representation in early Indian
art. The subject of Markel's attention is the reattribution of an important and early icon of Buddha Sakyamuni in the collections of
the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In a nuanced treatment of the subject, Markel traces the geographical and artistic origins of
this sculpture to the Sarnath region. Some typical features further assist in assigning it to a small group of sculptures which mark
the formative phase in the development of the mature Sarnath Buddha image of the Gupta period.
The aim of Suraj Pandit's paper is a reassessment of a fifth-century Buddhist panel in the interior of Cave 90 at Kanheri in
Maharashtra. Through a careful consideration of its literary, historical, and architectural contexts, and also the cave's importance to
the Japanese Nichiren sect in early modern times, Pandit rethinks its earlier identification as the Sravasti miracle. He attributes the
narrative as being a representation of the dharmakaya of the Saddharmapundarika-sutra, which appears to have played an important
role in the rituals performed within Cave 90.
The two succeeding papers are devoted to Vaisnava iconography. Ratan Parimoo summons our attention to some exquisite images
of the Sesasayiform of Visnu from ancient Campa (Vietnam) and Cambodia. He offers a stylistic and iconographic account of these
representations, while also drawing in comparative references to early Indian depictions of the theme
Devangana Desai undertakes a rich text-image analysis of the representation of child Krsna on the banyan leaf (Vatapatrasayi)
carved on the temples of medieval South India. She examines the descriptions of this image in a range of texts, notably the
Mahabharata, the Alvar hymns, and the Bhagavata-purana, especially observing the influence of Andal's devotional hymns on
Vatapatrasayi imagery. Desai begins with its earliest depictions on temples dating from the 9th-10th centuries, and also invokes the
close association between the Vatapatrasayi and Sesasayi forms of Visnu.
Gouriswar Bhattacharya discusses the iconography and questions the purpose of certain portrayals of deities from eastern India,
who are housed within an architectural frame styled as a niche (khattaka) but are devoid of any other structural context. These
deities, carved on flattened slabs of stone, are worshipped independently, not as part of a temple. At times, both surfaces are carved.
Could these images, with the niches acting as miniature shrines, have been carved for use in temples but subsequently abandoned
for some reason?
Kamal Giri's paper also focuses on some sculptures found in the lanes and by-lanes of Varanasi and often worshipped
independently. She discusses the identity and iconographic details of these icons that she has extensively and meticulously
documented as part of a project located in the jana-Pravaha Centre in Varanasi.
The fifth section of this volume invites our attention to the charming presence of the other beings 'Inhabiting the Temple', in this
case, the adepts, devotees, damsels, and lovers. Dhaky's fondness for the many creatures who dwell on the temple's walls, pillars,
bases, and other parts is known from his perceptive writings on the bhutas (elementals, genii) and vyalas (hybrid leonine creatures),
for example. The first essay in this section is by Pratapaditya Pal, who offers a corrective for the identity of a rare gilt bronze
sculpture from Nepal. Pal's sensitive visual analysis of this sculpture is set in a comparative framework. He sifts through a range of
similar-seeming sculptures and iconographies to counter its earlier identification as Uma-Mahesvara and concludes that the
enigmatic bronze with an unusual iconography is not a deity-couple but is actually a masterful and serene portrayal of an adept or
Nachiket Chanchani's essay, Similarly, revolves around a nuanced discussion of the style and iconography of a bronze sculpture of a
devotee, a lamp-bearer, belonging to the Jageshwar valley in the Kumaon tract of the Himalayan belt. Chanchani works across a
range of sculptures and motifs to estimate the artistic and geographical sources of the sculpture's style, mapping the roots and
routes of influence.
Among the pervasive presence of female figures on the temple walls is a variety of the disrobed female shown in the company of a
beast. Thomas E. Donaldson offers a considered rationale, in the light of textual sources, for the presence of this type of female
imagery as part of the ornamental repertoire of the medieval Indian temples.
The mithunas, or loving couples, are the other pervasive inhabitants of temples. Kirit L. Mankodi discusses not only the
iconography and architectural context of two mithuna sculptures from Atru in Rajasthan, but also gives an arresting account of the
contemporary lives of these medieval survivors that were illegally air-lifted to the United States and subsequently traced.
The final section in this book, 'Piety, Society, and Ritual Performance', looks at devotional practices in relation to temples. It begins
with two essays on Jaina art and architecture, a field to which Dhaky has made significant contributions. S. Settar advances a
rigorous and pioneering approach for the study of nisidhis or Jaina memorial monuments in order to clarify complex ideas, forms,
and practices in the memorialization of Jaina ritual death. He examines a cross-section of texts in Prakrit, Sanskrit, and Kannada,
relating them to the representation of ritual death in the inscriptions and monuments of medieval Karnataka. Striking parallels and
associations between nisidhi monuments and the medieval temples of Karnataka are highlighted in the process.
Maruti Nandan Pd. Tiwari and Shanti Swaroop Sinha highlight some vital socio-cultural dimensions of jainism, interweaving
recurrent motifs and iconographies in Jaina art and architecture with the core principles and beliefs of Jainism such as non-violence
(ahimsa), non-acquisition (aparigraha), absolute renunciation (tyiiga) and rigorous practice (sadhana). Among other aspects, their
paper also discusses the representation of Jina Malli as a female in a few medieval Svetambara jaina sculptures.
Adalbert J. Gail's paper ushers in the important dimension of performance traditions associated with temples. He studies
relationships between the temple and the theatre in India, Nepal, and Cambodia, raising significant questions and drawing
comparisons between a temple and a proscenium stage. As he asks in his essay, "What role do dance and music play within a
religious service as an extended form of the normal puja? How and where do they find artistic expression?"
The final essay is by Pika Ghosh, who engages with yet another fascinating way of looking at temples. She views kanthas as
'embroidered temples' and discusses devotional practices associated with them in relation to the high medieval temples of Bengal.
Her paper is in tune with the "iconographic resonances" and the shared aesthetic between "buildings, their relief sculpture, and
fabrics created for domestic use."
The collective energies of this volume, we hope, will unfold before the reader aspects of the 'Prasada as Cosmos', with its
abstractions, figurations, and ritual practices. Only then would it be a fitting tribute to the temple's treasure, priisddanidhi,
Madhusudan Amilal Dhaky.
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