Pub. Date:
Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
Many Heads, Arms and Eyes: Origin, Meaning and Form of Multiplicity in Indian Art

Many Heads, Arms and Eyes: Origin, Meaning and Form of Multiplicity in Indian Art

by Doris Srinivasan


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One of the first things that strike the Western viewer of Indian art is the multiplicity of heads, arms and eyes. This convention grows out of imagery conceived by Vedic sages to explain creation. This book for the first time investigates into the meaning of this convention. The author concentrates on its origins in Hindu art and on preceding textual references to the phenomenon of multiplicity.
The first part establishes a general definition for the convention. Examination of all Brahmanical literature up to, and sometimes beyond, the 1st - 3rd century A.D., adds more information to this basic definition.
The second part applies this literary information mainly to icons of the Yaksa, Śiva, Vāsudeva-Kṛsṇa and the Goddess, and indicates how Brahmanical cultural norms, exemplified in Mathurā, can transmit textual symbols.
Both Part I and Part II provide iconic modules and a methodology to generate interpretations for icons with this remarkable feature through the Gupta age.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789004107588
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/01/1997
Series: Studies in Asian Art and Archaeology Series , #20
Pages: 436
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.45(h) x (d)

About the Author

Doris Meth Srinivasan, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, is Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She has published extensively on the art of Mathura; Hindu iconography; Vedic studies, including Vedic and ancient Hindu rituals.

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