Textual Sources of Indian Art

-  Prof Y.S. Alone

The course will introduce the vast corpus of textual sources essential to the study of Indian Art. Since the bulk of pre-modern art in India is religious, this course will deal with the development of religion and its manifestations through images in the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. Religious and other texts will be used for the study of symbols, iconography, and iconology. The central idea is to critically engage with the visual tradition vis-à-vis the textual tradition in a historical perspective. The course will also offer a survey of religion and its impact on society and image-making practices. The study of textual sources, which has its own intricacies, will help in understanding the image tradition more meaningfully.

The course provides an introduction to select readings (in translation) from Sanskrit and Pali texts, providing an overview of the traditions of texts, commentaries on them and their dating. It will also touch on the problems and pitfalls in the study of texts for an accurate appreciation of art practice.