Indian Sculpture and Iconography : Forms and Measurements

V Ganapati Sthapati, Sri Aurobindo Institute of Research in Social Sciences, 2002, xix, 463 p, ISBN : 8170601797, $0.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Indian Sculpture and Iconography : Forms and Measurements/V. Ganapati Sthapati

Contents: Preface. Introduction. I. Theory and philosophy of Indian iconography: 1. Different types of divine forms and images. 2. Appreciation and savouring of the arts. 3. Relevance of the Agama philosophy in sculpture. 4. The form of the Lingam. 5. Spatial flexions of sculptural images. 6. The various postures of sculptural images. 7. The divine dance form. 8. The language of gestures. 9. Ayadi Ganitam : calculation of beneficial measures. 10. Opening the eye of the image. II. Sculptural varieties and aesthetics: 11. Coiffures and head-dresses. 12. Ornaments. 13. Robes and raiments. 14. Floral motifs. 15. Symbols and weapons. 16. Animals and birds. 17. Bronze idols (cast images). 18. Katusarkara images (Stucco images). III. Work manual with detailed measurements: 19. Systems of measurement in traditional architecture and sculpture. 20. Determining the heights of divine images. 21. Linear measurements of Vaishnava images. 22. Processional images. 23. The six axes of measurement. 24. Talamanam - Rhythmic measure. 25. Different types of tala. 26. Madhyama Dasatala (medium ten-part measure). 27. Adhama Dasatala (smaller ten-part measure). 28. Navardhatala (Nine and half-part measure). 29. Navatala (Nine-part measure). 30. Images of devotees. 31. Ashtatala (Eight part measure). 32. Saptatala (seven part measure). 33. Shattala (six part measure). 34. Panchatala (five part measure). 35. Images of Yaksha and Vidyadhara. 36. The remaining tala. Glossary. Index. Bibliography.

"This is a rare work which gives in great details the forms and accurate measurements of a large variety of Indian sculpture, along with the spiritual vision and philosophy underlying it. This information is based on the ancient texts and the long ancestral tradition and actual experience of the sthapatis, the architects and sculptors of ancient India.

The book is divided into three parts. The first section of ten chapters deals with the philosophy and spiritual thought that is the basis of all Indian art forms. The next set of eight chapters deals with coiffures, ornaments, weapons, the use of symbols as accessories, the sculptural representations of flora, animals and birds, and the fashioning of images in metal and Katusarkara. The last set of 18 chapters presents the basic rhythms and measurements used in traditional sculpture. These chapters can serve as a guide-book for a practising sculptor.

A special feature of this presentation is the large number of illustrations and drawings done with great authenticity, care and beauty.

The confluence of the ancient texts in Sanskrit and Tamil, the knowledge and artistic skill of a Sthapati whose entire life has been devoted to this work from his childhood, and the technical background and deeper search of a modern architect, have resulted in an extraordinary book." (jacket)

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