The Present volume adheres to a study of Arts in India, here more specifically Architecture, Sculpture. Epigraphy and Numismatics. There are forty-one articles contributed by 32 authors. A large portion of these articles were written 30 to 50 years ago. These articles by renowned scholars stand on their own merit and reflect the state of scholarship at the time they were written. These articles acquire a historical importance as they reflect the perception of a generation of pioneers in the field. The selection of the authors was largely determined from the point of view of those who continue to follow in some measure the approach of the earlier writers. Indian art history has taken many pioneers and those others who continue to subscribe to the validity of the earlier approach. This was necessary in order to maintain a measure of continuity and overall 'unity'. Hopefully it has been possible to place together the writings of a generation of scholars who laid the foundation of art history, as distinct from Indian archaeology. It will be proved from this volume that India's contribution in the field of Arts is not negligible and it will give a fair idea of how it influenced the other countries also. The volume will serve as a most useful reference tool for both the educated man or scholar and also the lay man in this field to know this particular subject.
In 1938, in the wake of Sri Ramakrishna's Birth Centenary celebrations, the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture was established in a humble way. It was then vested with the entire rights of The Cultural Heritage of India, which had first been published in 1937 in three volumes. This edition was well received and sold out within a few years. In response to the demand for enlarging the scope of the work, plans were made to publish an enlarged and revised second edition. In 1953 the third volume of the new edition was published; in 1956, the fourth; in 1958, the first; and in 1962, the second. In 26 June 1962 the Institute made plans for brining out a fifth volume on 'Science, Literature and Arts'. Then on 26 November 1963 a sixth volume was planned on 'Literature and Science', as also a seventh volume on 'The Modern Renaissance Period'. Two editorial boards were then appointed. Subsequently, on 21 July 1972 the Institute decided that volume five should be divided into two independent volume six, on 'Science and Technology'. Thereafter it was decided to extend further the scope of the work, and plans were laid out for a series comprising eight independent volumes. Accordingly, the fifth and sixth volumes were published in 1978 and 1986 respectively. Now, at long last, the seventh volume of this series, devoted to 'The Art' (Part One), is being published. We sincerely regret this delay, which was caused by unavoidable circumstances. Work on this volume was started about thirty years ago with Professor S. K. Saraswati, Bageswari Professor of the University of Calcutta, as the chief editor. After his death on 22 September 1980, work on the volume was set back. Later, professor Kalyan Kumar Dasgupta took up the work, but he passed away in 1996. He was succeeded by Professor Kalyan Kumar Ganguly, who died on 6 November 1997. In 1999 we approached Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, and she kindly agreed to edit Volume VII. The most difficult part of editing this volume was that after so many years the illustrations as well as some of the manuscripts could not be found. To locate illustrations for those old articles, as also to acquire them, was an uphill struggle. However, we are fortunate that Dr. Vatsyayan could bring a her knowledge and experience to bear on this work to maintain the standard of this valuable series.
Dr. Amitabha Mukherjee, formerly Professor of Jadavpur University, also extended a helping hand with the editorial work, and we are very grateful to him. His unexpected death on 1 July 2002 was a great loss.
At Dr. Vatsyayan's suggestion, the Institute decided to allow the early articles already received, written by renowned scholars, to remain as they are. For these articles stand on their own merit and reflect the stage of scholarship at the time they were written. Since then there may have been developments in certain areas, but we decided to leave the texts of these articles undisturbed. These articles acquire a historical importance as they reflect the perception of a generation of pioneers in the field.
In presenting this seventh volume of the second edition of The Cultural Heritage of India, we should perhaps also explain why it has been split into two parts. While working on this volume we found that the number of pages, including illustrations, had increased so much that the articles could not be contained in one volume, so it was decided to publish it in two parts. Part one of Volume VII-that is, the present publication-deals with Architecture, Sculpture, Epigraphy and Numismatics, as well as Indian Art and the East. Part two, which will be published shortly, covers Painting, Music, dance and Theatre, as also Rural and Applied Arts and Crafts. The plan of the volume was changed by regrouping the topics, while new articles by contemporary scholars were added to fill in some gaps. Some of the writers included in this volume had contributed articles on the same subjects in the first edition (1937) of The Cultural Heritage of India, vol. III. It was considered appropriate to reprint them in this volume. They are: K. R. Pisharoti-'Choosing a Site'; Ananda K. Coomaraswamy-'Art in Indian Life'; O. C. Gangoly-'Indian Sculpture: Essence and Form'. So also was the case in respect of writers life Gopilal Amar-'Jaina Architectural Traditions and Canons'; U. P. Shah-'Early Jaina Sculpture (300 B. C.-300 A. D.): East India'; U. P. Shah-'Early Jaina Sculpture (300 B. C.-300 A. D.): West India'; V. P. Dwivedi-'Late Jaina Wood-carvings'. Their articles first appeared in Jaina Art and Architecture published by Bharatiya Jnanpith, New Delhi. J. N. Banerjea Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai. Maurya and Sunga Art, written in 1945 by N. R. Ray, remains a classic in its field. With the help of Dr. Amita Ray a condensed version of his book has been included. Besides these, a few articles-such as 'The Spirit of Tibetan Architecture' by Lama Anagarika Govinda and 'Sough-east Asian Art' by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy-have been taken from the author's published writings as these writers represent an earlier generation who brought a unique perspective to the field. Two articles from the published works of Stella Kramrisch have also been included. She was the first professor of Art History at the University of Calcutta, teaching in the 1920s and early 30s. These articles were necessary to fill in the gaps.
Again, in order to help readers locate recent research on these subjects, we have given select/extended bibliographies. We believe the readers will find in these bibliographies ample material to stimulate their interest for further study.
Where words of non-English origin are used, diacritical marks have been given following the style of the previous volumes of The Cultural Heritage of India, with minor changes. However, in the case of Urdu words and words of Arabic and Persian origin it has not been possible to follow the practice strictly. In the preparation of this volume, help has been received from many sources. We offer first of all our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan. In spite of her heavy schedule, she found time to edit this volume and write the excellent Preface. She rendered gratuitous services with an attitude of seva. We are extremely grateful for the unstinting labour she has put into this volume. We also acknowledge the help and assistance of Dr. Subhash C. Malik in editing some of the articles. We express our special gratitude to the contributors for the trouble they have taken to write these articles. We are also grateful to Dr. Pradeep Mehendiratta of the American Institute of Indian Studies, Gurgaon; Dr. Prabhakar Shrotriya, Bharatiya Jnanpith, New Delhi; Rama P. Coomaraswamy, U. S. A.; and Dr. Ramanuj Bhattacharya, Ex-Director, Rammohan Library and National Library, Kolkata, for helping us with this volume. We also received invaluable help of Sri N. H. Ramachandran and extend our thanks to him.
Many institutions gave us help in this work, particularly the American Institute of Indian Studies, Gurgaon, which generously provided photographs. We also received help from the Archaeological Survey of India, Department of Archaeology, Gujarat, and The Indian Museum, Kolkata, in this regard. We are grateful to all of them. We are also grateful to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai; Bharatiya Jnanpith, New Delhi; The Indian Society of Oriental Art, Kolkata and The University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia for giving us permission to reproduce articles from their published volumes.
The generous cooperation we received from the Printer, Binder, Paper Mill, is also appreciated. Finally, we acknowledge the services rendered by all those friends who helped us with this volume in any way whatsoever, particularly in acquiring the photographs.
We hope this volume of The Cultural Heritage of India will contribute in some measure to the appreciation of Indian cultural values.
The Present volume deals with study of Arts in India, here more specifically Painting; Music, Dance and Theatre; and Art and Life. There are forty-four articles contributed by 35 authors. The attempt in this volume is to place before the readers writings of a generation of scholars who laid the foundation for identification of schools and genres and their stylistic characteristics.
The Articles in the section on Painting present a panoramic view of the painting traditions of India from pre-historic times to the early nineteenth century. A reading of these articles is a convincing proof of the continuity and vibrancy of the painting traditions in different historical brackets and regions and sub-regions.
The Seven articles on Music, authored by eminent musicians and scholars, reflect the thinking on different aspects of music over a period of four decades. The articles on Dance cover many styles of Indian classical dance.
The Group of articles on handicrafts, dress and personal ornaments represents the Indian concern with the creative hand, more, with the relationship of utility and beauty.
The Sheer joy of life is intrinsic to culture, sports and recreations. The arts of attack and defence in play are typical. The Sanskrit literature is characterized by not only wit and humour but also sharp satire.
The Cultural Heritage of India series of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture has become a collector’s item, indispensable for any library or for scholars in different disciplines who wish to know about diverse aspects of the cultural heritage of India as also Asia. Volumes I to VI cover a broad range of subjects from philosophy to science. Volume VII deals with Arts, ranging from architecture, sculpture, paintings and music and dance. Volume VIII is devoted to modern India.
Volume VII Part I of the series was published in 2006. It was hoped that Part II of Volume VII would be published soon after. However, for variety of reasons, it was not possible to adhere to the original schedule. In the meantime, Volume VIII has been published. Now, with the publication of Part II of Volume VII, the monumental enterprise of The Cultural Heritage of India series of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture will come to a closure.
Part I of Volume VII was divided into four sections: Architecture; Sculpture; Epigraphy and Numismatics; and Indian Art and the East. Part II of Volume VII is divided into three section, viz., Indian Painting; Music, Dance and Theatre; and Art and Life. This was the original schema envisaged by the late Professor S. K. Saraswati, followed by subsequent editors, viz., Professor Kalyan KumarDasgupta, Professor Kalyan Kumar Ganguli, Shri Pradyut Kumar Ganguli and Dr. Amitabha Mukherjee.
In my Preface to Part I of Volume VII, I had outlined the historiography of completing the work of my predecessors. I consider it appropriate to include this Preface in this volume. In it I have used the metaphor of Kantha, i.e., stitching together pieces of great but incomplete writing so as to make a reasonable whole. It is my earnest hope that the readers will peruse the Preface to Volume VII Part I which not only narrates the history of editing but also attempts to give an overview of the history of scholarship on Indian architecture, sculpture, numismatics and India’s relationship with the East. It is necessary to take account of this when perusing the contents of Part II of Volume VII. The articles in this volume by and large are also the writing of scholars of the decades ranging from 30s to the 70s. It is necessary to take note of the time frame.
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