The art of Hinduism constitutes one of the world's great traditions, as alive today as when the first images of Hindu gods were fashioned out of stone more than two thousand years ago. George Michell's invaluable survey looks at the entire period, covering shrines consecrated to Hindu cults as well as works of art that portray Hindu divinities, semidivine personalities, and mythological narratives. Michell outlines the development of Hinduism and the principal iconic forms of its pantheon (the symbolic basis for Hindu religious architecture), and explains the system of royal patronage that led to the construction of so many temples and the commissioning of their attendant works of art. Then, in a broad chronological sweep, he demonstrates artistic continuities down to the present day in the different regions of the country, confirming the vibrancy of the visual world of Hinduism. The illustrations include Mamallapuram and other great temples, profound and beautiful works of sculpture such as Shiva dancing the eternal dance of creation and destruction, and exquisite paintings of the loves of Krishna. 185 illustrations, 100 in color.
The newest book in this familiar paperback series on world art is a sweeping survey of Hindu architecture and sculpture in India. With only a few examples of the Hindu artworks of Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, it bypasses the artistic glories of Hinduism outside of India, particularly in Cambodia and Indonesia. The book's other notable shortcoming is its relative paucity of two-dimensional works, both the exquisite miniatures that Indian art (both Hindu and Muslim) is renowned for and the lurid popular prints that are such a part of Indian daily life today. That said, Michell (The Royal Palaces of India) has compiled a dense and well-illustrated chronological guide to the development of Hindu architecture and sculpture in many diverse regions of India. With an excellent map featuring all of the sites mentioned in the text, an extensive glossary combined with the index, and a bibliography for further exploration of both art and religion, this book is particularly suited to readers unfamiliar with Hinduism and Hindu art. David McClelland, Philadelphia Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.