A Thousand Petalled Lotus : Jain Temples of Rajasthan - Architecture and Iconography

Sehdev Kumar, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Art and Abhinav, 2001, xiv, 207 p, Col. photographs, ISBN : 8170173485, $105.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A Thousand Petalled Lotus : Jain Temples of Rajasthan - Architecture and Iconography/Sehdev Kumar

Contents: Preface. 1. In the beginning: Jainism and its cosmology. 2. The thousand-petalled lotus: lotus in art and worship. 3. Envisioning hands: in the image of Visvakarma. 4. Lotus in the stone: Jain temples at Dilwara. 5. The temple at Ranakpur: an architectural splendour. 6. Feminine mystique: Goddesses in Jain temples. 7. Across the Bhavasagar: Jinas and their images. 8. Outside in/inside out – nature and the Indian arts. 9. Dance and the temple. Bibliography. Glossary. Index.

"The Jain temples at Dilwara in Mount Abu evoke a sense of awe for their sculptural artistry. Unnamed artists who had, for years, created exquisite pieces in ivory, now worked with marble, sculpting ceilings and domes, columns and walls, creating works of unparalleled beauty. They carried forward, and deepened, a rich tradition of temple building in India, with their plethora of images from Indian myths and legends. Numerous Gods and Goddesses, yaksas and yaksis, dancers and musicians, apsaras and nagins, as well as flowers and trees—mythic and real--adore every nook and corner of these temples. The most outstanding feature of these temples are the thousand-petalled lotuses that decorate the domes in the rangamandapas, signifying a very highly evolved technical and artistic achievement.

"Some 200 kms away and 500 years later, in Ranakpur, the Adisvara temple is an achievement of a different kind. It is renowned for its architectural splendour; a thousand columns that define its wondrous spaces are all unique, as no two are alike.

"Using these temples as nodal points for a photographic and a reflective study, Professor Sehdev Kumar explores the artistic nuances of these temples in the context of the rich tradition of temple architecture and iconography in India." (jacket).

[Sehdev Kumar is Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo, Canada. A long-time student of Indian artistic and spiritual traditions, he is also the author of
The Vision of Kabir and The Lotus in the Stone. He has also made several films including Outside In, Symmetry-Symmetry, Love Suzanne, Ivory Tower.]

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