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Bronzes from Achutrajpur, Orissa (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: UAS341
Publisher: Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi
Author: Debala Mitra
Language: English
Edition: 1978
Pages: 195 (Throughout B/w Illustrations)
Other Details 11.00 X 9.00 inch
Weight 1.10 kg
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Book Description
About the Book

For the first time, Orissa has been placed firmly in the map of Eastern Indian bronzes. In this pioneering work. Bronzes from Achutrajpur, Orissa, Dr (Mrs) Debala Mitra has shown in clear terms that the eastern tradition of metal images that developed in the eastern region did pene trate also in Orissa.

The hoard of metal antiquities from Achutrajpur (District Puri) constitutes the largest find of its kind in Orissa. It includes ninety-two icons, most of which are of Buddhist affiliation. female figures, metal stupas and other objects; all these have been described meticulously, aided by copious illustrations. Textual back ground of various icons, including somet obscure Vajrayana deities, has made the study highly illuminating and useful.

In the first chapter, the author narra tes the discovery of the site, and the second chapter is devoted to the histori cal survey of the Buddhist remains in Orissa. While describing the site and its environs in the third chapter, the author has established beyond doubt that Achutrajpur was an important centre of Buddhism. In her characteristic style, she has described, in the next chapter, the iconographical features and artistic merits of the metal images which, it is significant to note, include a few Brahma nical and Jaina icons as well. The chro nology of these images and other anti quities and their casting technique have also been described in detail.

In the concluding chapter, Dr (Mrs) Mitra summarizes the entire evidence highlighting certain little-known facets of the finds of the Buddhist metal icons and their chronological horizons, which range in dates from the eighth to the twelfth century A.D. She has shown how this assorted collection of metal images reflects thet olerant spirit of true Hinduism and eclectic attitude of the monastic institu tions, thereby providing the glimpses of the ethos of the period when the impact of Hinduism had a telling effect on Buddhist creeds and practices.

The book contains a bibliography, an index and 142 half-tone illustrations, besides a map.

About the Author

Dr (Mrs) Debala Mitra is an archaeo logist of international repute. She led a good number of expeditions in different parts of India and Nepal; and of these, her excavations at Tilaura-kot and Kodan in Nepal and Ratnagiri in Orissa rank foremost. Though her specialized fields of research are Buddhist and Eastern Indian art, architecture and iconography. her contributions to Indian epigraphy, numismatics and history are also subs tantial.

Born in 1925 at Ajagarah, District Khulna, now in Bangladesh, she was educated at Khulna, Calcutta, and later on in Paris. She had a brilliant academic career and was recipient of several gene ral scholarships, medals and prizes inclu ding the Griffith Memorial Prize from the University of Calcutta.

Dr (Mrs) Mitra joined the Archaeo logical Survey of India in 1952 and is now its Joint Director General.

She is the author of the (i) Buddhist Monuments, for which she was awarded the Doctorate degree, (ii) Excavations at Tilau ra-kot and Kodan and Explorations in the Nepalese Tarai, (iii) Telkupi-a submerged temple-site in West Bengal, (iv) Ajanta, (v) Sanchi, (vi) Bhubaneswar, (vii) Konarak, (viii) Udayagiri, and Khandagiri and (ix) Pandrethan Avantipur & Martand, besides numerous scholarly articles. Noted for meticulous details and objective assessment of facts, all her works stand out as models of archaeological research and investigation.


In his letter, dated the 3rd July, 1963, Shri Harihar Ram, the then Principal Secretary, Nehru Seva Sangh, Banpur (District Puri), brought to the notice of the Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, the discovery of a hoard of brass statues, a sword, golden caskets and copper-plates in the course of diggings at the ground of the Banpur High School for the establishment of an educational institution. On the receipt of the instructions of the Director General to inspect the site and to furnish a report, I, on the 28th July, 1963, visited the site which is located within the mauza of Achutrajpur Sasan (close to Banpur), Orissa.

During my inspection. I found that an ancient mound between the buildings of the High School (Godavaris Vidyapitha) and the structure (under construction) for a college (Godavaris Mahavidyalaya) had been levelled down to a depth of 1 m. 60 cm. Following the levelling of the site, some deep trenches were also dug to collect bricks from the ancient brick walls with the object of utilizing the materials in the construction of the college-building. It was also noticed that the broken bricks found in these operations were being turned into surkhi (brick-dust) and khoa (small brick-bats) for building purposes.

Finding the site potential. I impressed upon the acting Principal of the college and the Head Master of the School the necessity of preserving the site without any further damages and also of shifting the building of the college to some other plot, there being no dearth of open grounds in the vicinity. I also addressed the District Magistrate. Puri, and the Sub-divisional Officer, Khurda, to take immediate steps for preventing further denudation of the site. The District Magistrate was also requested to advise the college-authorities to shift the site of the building complex to some other area, so that the site could be protected effectively and reserved for future excavation.

Unfortunately, the site was not spared by the college-authorities who made fur ther constructions afterwards, with the result that only a very small area hemmed by structures on three sides is now open.

With a very limited time at my disposal at that time (In fact, I could spare barely one day for the examination of the site, materials of the hoard and also the Dakshapraja pati temple which was later on protected by the Survey.) I prepared a descriptive list of the objects unearthed during the clearance-operations. To me the site appeared to have once nourished a Buddhist establishment, an inference drawn not only from the finds at the site but by the existence of other Buddhist images in and around the site.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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