The collection of essays by Ananda Coomaraswamy on Indian art and culture and other themes, published under the title The Dance of Shiva reflect the many-sided genius of this great savant. The fourteen essays in this collection critically deal with aspects of Indian ethos, art and aesthetics, philosophy, music and Indian women besides essays on Indian and western and ancient and contemporary themes.
Coomaraswamy's discussion on these wide ranging themes with his mastery of the original source material bear the stamp of his understanding and thorough analysis. In the essay 'what has India contributed,' Coomaraswamy has discussed the application of Brahmanical religious philosophy to the problems of sociology. In his words: 'the essential contribution of India is her Indianness .' He aptly sums up the fundamental quality of Indian music when he says that Indian music is essentially impersonal and a purely melodic art with elaborate grace. His essays ' Indian images with many arms' is an answer to the critics of Indian art wherein he has tried to show that what appears bizarre to an Occidental mind is because of lack of familiarity with Indian art traditions and not a sincere attempt to evaluate the works of art on own merits. His thoughts on diverse themes like 'Intellectual fraternity', 'cosmopolitan view of Nietzsche' 'young India', and 'individuality, autonomy and function' show his awareness to contemporary situation and ideas.
The present collection of essays epitomizes Coomaraswamy's greatness and should prove to be of sustained interest and permanent value to all interested in understanding of Indian art and ethos.
About the Author:
Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, the greatest among the Indian art historian, was born in Colombo on August 22,1877. After graduating from the University of London, he became the Director of the Mineralogical Survey of Ceylon. Between 1906 and 1917, when he joined as the Curator of Indian art and formed societies for the study of Indian art. In 1938, he became the Chairman of National committee for India's Freedom. His contributions on Indian philosophy, religion, art and iconography, painting and literature are of the greatest importance as were his contributions on music, science and Islamic art. He died on September 9, 1947.
Foreword 1. What has India contributed to human welfare? 2. Hindu view of art: historical 3. Hindu view of art: theory of beauty 4. That beauty is a state 5. Buddhist primitives 6. The dance of Shiva 7. Indian images with many arms 8. Indian music 9. Status of Indian women 10. Sahaja 11. Intellectual fraternity 12. Cosmopolitan view of Nietzsche 13. Young India 14. Individuality, autonomy and function
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