Vidya Dehejia

  • Vidya Dehejia is the Barbara Stoler Miller Professor of Indian Art at Columbia University, where she has taught since 1982. She holds a BA, an MA, and a PhD from Cambridge University and a BA from St. Xavier’s College, Bombay University. She is the author of many books, catalogs and essays on topics in the cultural and intellectual history of India. In addition to issues of gender and colonialism, she studies the theoretical basis for the portrayal of visual narratives of India’s sculpture and painting. Her background in classical Sanskrit and Tamil, and knowledge of a range of modern Indian languages has proved invaluable. Her writings have incorporated translations of ancient poetry, and material from unpublished manuscripts, in order to illuminate an artistic milieu. Her subjects have ranged from Buddhist art in its earliest centuries to the esoteric temples of North India and from the sacred bronzes of the south to the art of British India. Her work examines artistic agency through a study of craftsmen, workshops, teams, stone, and tools.

    Professor Dehejia served as the director for the Southern Asian Institute at Columbia University from 2003 to 2008. From 1994 to 2002 she was acting director, deputy director, chief curator, and curator of south and southeast Asian art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. She was on the faculty of the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, from 1973 to 1979. Professor Dehejia has received several awards and honours, including the Padma Bhushan Award for exceptional contributions to art and education (2012), a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2009 – 2012), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1990 – 1991), and the Hettleman Award from Columbia University (1990). She was a member of the Board of Advisors of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art (1997 – 2000).

    Publications [Books]

    Vidya Dehejia & Peter Rockwell, The Unfinished: Stone Carvers at Work on the Indian Subcontinent, New Delhi: Roli Books, 2015

    The Body Adorned: Dissolving Boundaries between Sacred and Profane in India’s Art, New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.

    Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj, Ahmedabad: Mapin Publications, 2008.

    Chola. Sacred Bronzes of Southern India. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2006. Catalogue essay “Beauty and the Body of God,” and all Catalogue entries.

    The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India, New York: The American Federation of Arts, 2002.

    India through the Lens: Photography 1840–1911, Washington D.C., Ahmedabad, Cologne: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Mapin Publishing, Prestel Verlag, 2000.

    Devi, The Great Goddess: Female Divinity in South Asian Art, Washington D.C., Ahmedabad, Cologne: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Mapin Publishing, Prestel Verlag, 1999.

    Love in Asian Art and Culture (Asian Art and Culture Unnumbered), Sackler Art Gallery, 1999.

    Indian Art. Art and Ideas. London: Phaidon, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002. Japanese and Greek editions

    issued; French and German editions forthcoming.

    Ed. Representing the Body: Gender Issues in Indian Art. New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1997.

    Discourse in Early Buddhist Art: Visual Narratives of India. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1997.

    Ed. Unseen Presence: The Buddha and Sanchi, Bombay: Marg Publications, 1996.

    Ed. The Legend of Rama: Artistic Visions, Bombay: Marg Publications, 1994.

    Art of the Imperial Cholas. (The Polsky lectures for 1987). New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

    Antal and her Path of Love: Poems of a Woman Saint from South India. Albany: SUNY Press, 1990.

    Slaves of the Lord: The Path of the Tamil Saints. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1988.

    Ed. Royal Patrons and Great Temple Art. Bombay: Marg Publications, 1988.

    “Impossible Picturesqueness.” Edward Lear’s Indian Watercolors. 1873–1875. New York:

    Columbia University Press, 1988.

    Yogini Cult and Temples. A Tantric Tradition. New Delhi: The National Museum, 1986.

    With Pratapaditya Pal. From Merchants to Emperors: British Artists and India 1757–1930. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1986.

    Early Stone Temples of Orissa. Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, 1979.

    Looking Again at Indian Art. New Delhi: Publications Division, Government of India, 1978.

    Things of Beauty. New Delhi: Publications Division, Government of India, 1979. [A book on Indian art for children, to mark the International Year of the Child.]

    Living and Dying: An Enquiry into the Enigma of Life after Death. New Delhi: Vikas Publishers, 1979.

    Early Buddhist Rock Temples. London: Thames & Hudson, London, 1972.

    Namakkal Caves. Madras: Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology, 1968.