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Book Detail

Art of Terracotta
Cult and Cultural Synthesis in India 
Author : Arputha Rani Sengupta
ISBN : 978-81-7320-052-1
Edition : 2004
Language : English
Size & Pages : 29 cm, P.P. 300, Illus. Col. in art paper
Publisher : Agam Kala Prakashan
Format : Hardbound
Price : Rs. 3500/-



The book

The booktraces the art of terracotta that flourished with remarkable richness from early historic through the succeeding periods in India. The main focus is on votive terracotta, which includes portable icons and sculptured veneer on Architectural monuments of Bengal in the late medieval period. The terracotta relief as adornment to sacred architecture is cosmic and its form and content is similar to narrative scrolls and the figured weave of Baluchari silk of Bishnupur. The book also introduce to the style of terracotta temples that transform indigenous domestic Chala into mansions of good-king and develops the theme of mansion for the Soul’ in terms of four important temples in Bishnupur. The iconography has wide range from Vaishnavite and Shaivite pantheon to episode from the life of Krishna, where Buddha is part of ten Avataras of Vishnu, as well as scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. And the Indo-Islamic motifs interweave with historic scenes from life.


In ancient India , the magical aspects of terracotta is perceived in its atavistic nature , which incorporates the five elements , earth,water, air,fire, and ether. The terracotta images are of profound nature and have significant role in fertility and funerary rituals. The images was perceived to be a medium, which could perform magic .It is quite evident that once the cult of the sensuous goddess co-existed with that of the Buddha. A new concept of ‘Interpretation romana ‘may also be observed in the internationalism, inter-culturalism and assimilations during the early Christian era. The images of the early Buddhist period express vital divergence that serve as important interpretive tool to the anthropologist and art historian.


Rs. 3500/-

ISBN: 978-81-7320-052. 1

Front cover Head of Goddess

First century; Katra Keshav Dev, India.


The Author

Arputha Rani Sengupta is Associate Professor in history of Art at the National Museum Institute, Deemed University in New Delhi. She has lectured widely and published extensively her writings on divers’ aspects of art in journals and contributed to leading publication, including the IGNCA. Her books on Art of Terracotta focus on cult and cultural synthesis in India. She investigates it further in her forthcoming book on the Buddhist Jwellery. Sengupta was Assistant Professor in History of Fine Arts in Stella Maris College at Chennai and at Lasbrey teachers’ College at Imo State in Nigeria. She specialises in cross cultural currents and globalization during the early Buddhist period in India. She is currently writing on the Symbols and Substitutes in the early Buddhist Art of India under ICHR grant. She has coordinated several symposiums on art in NMI and is editor of God and King: Devaraja Cult. She has studied Art History in the University of Madras, Chennai, Rabindra Bharti University, Kolkata and University of Washington, Seattle. A versatile practicing artist, she has exhibited extensively and has received several award for her paintings.

Back Cover: Raslila Mandala

Shyamrai Temple, 1655. bishnupur


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