HSO 157 MASTERPIECES OF INDIAN ART & ARCHITECTURE by Prof Vidya Dehejia, Barbara Stoler Miller Professor of Indian and South Asian Art at Columbia University and Mario Miranda Visiting Research Professor, Goa University

  • Goa University
    Visiting Research Professorship Programme
    Mario Miranda Chair in Fine Art/Painting/Illustrative Cartooning etc., Goa University
    Department of History, Goa University

    Course on
    Credit: 01 Credit (15 contact hours; 25 marks)

    Course Instructor: Vidya Dehejia, Barbara Stoler Miller Professor of Indian and South Asian Art at Columbia University and Mario Miranda Visiting Research Professor, Goa University


    Schedule: Sessions will be held on Feb 5,6,7,8,9 & Feb 19,20 & Exam will be held on Feb 23.
    Session timings- 2.30 pm to 5 pm
    Venue: Seminar Hall, Social Sciences (Block B), Goa University
    Course Coordinator: Prof Naguendra Rao, Dept of History.

    Course is open for students, faculty members and general public.

    This course offers an introduction to the art on the Indian subcontinent, commencing with the art of the Indus Valley in the 2nd millennium BCE and moving more or less chronologically to the present day. It is divided into four segments devoted to 1) the art of Buddhism, 2) the emergence and development of the Hindu temple, 3) art under India’s Islamic rulers and 4) the art of colonial and post-colonial India, and it covers architecture, sculpture and painting. Readings provide a contextual framework – social, religious, political, and cultural – for understanding the material. You are encouraged to read critically, to bring your own ways of looking at this art, and to consider new approaches to the material. Keeping up with the readings and engaging in discussions are crucial to providing you with a fruitful experience.
    Text Books:
    Vidya Dehejia, Indian Art, Phaidon Press, London, 1997
    Partha Mitter, Indian Art, Oxford University Press, 2001
    (Soft copy of Reading material will be provided)
    February 5
    Class 1 A: The Indus Valley & Columns of Ashoka Maurya
    • Vidya Dehejia, Indian Art, chapters 1, 2.
    • Romila Thapar, “A Translation of the Edicts of Asoka” Appendix in Thapar, Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas.

    & Class 1 B: The Buddhist Stupa of Sanchi and Representing the Buddha as an Absent Presence (Aniconic)
    • Vidya Dehejia, Indian Art, chapter 3 & 4.
    • Vidya Dehejia, “Aniconism and the Multivalence of Emblems” Ars Orientalis,21 (1991), pp. 45-66
    February 6
    Class 2 A: Early Buddhist Cave Temples and Monasteries
    • Dehejia, chapter 5, pages 103-124 (through Ajanta)
    & Class 2 B: Representing the Buddha Anthropomorphically: Gandhara & Mathura
    • Dehejia, Chapter 4
    • Coomaraswamy, “The Origin of the Buddha Image,” Art Bulletin1927
    February 7
    Class 3A: The Buddhist Monastic Complex at Ajanta
    • Walter Spink, Ajanta: A Brief History and Guide, Ann Arbor, 1994

    & Class 3 B: Cave-Temple at Elephanta
    • Dehejia, chapter 5 & 6.
    • Diana Eck, Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India, chapters 1 & 2.
    • Berkson, Carmel, ed., Elephanta: The Cave of Shiva, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1983.
    February 8
    Class 4A: The Monuments of Mamallapuram: Questions of Authorship and Meaning
    • Dehejia, Chapter 8
    • Kaimal, Padma, “Playful Ambiguity and Political Authority in the Large Relief at Mamallapuram,” Ars Orientalis 24 (1994), pp. 1-27
    & Class 4B: The Divine & the Erotic: Khajuraho temples and sculpture
    • Dehejia, Chapter 7, pp. 155-170
    • Dehejia, Vidya, “Reading Love Imagery on the Indian Temple” in Dehejia, Vidya, ed., Love in Asian Art and Culture, Washington, D.C.: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Smithsonian Institution in association with the University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 1998, pp. 96-113
    February 9
    Class 5A: Delhi’s Qutb Mosque and the issue of Architectural Reuse
    • Dehejia, chapter 11.
    • Flood, Finbarr Barry, “Refiguring Iconoclasm in the Early Indian Mosque,” in Anne McClanan and Jeff Johnson, eds., Negating the Image: Case Studies in Iconoclasm, Burlington: Ashgate, 2005, pp. 15-40

    & Class 5B: Mughal Tombs: The Taj Mahal
    • Dehejia, Chapter 13, pp. 299-334
    • Begley, Wayne, “The Myth of the Taj Mahal and a New Theory of its Symbolic Meaning,” The Art Bulletin 61 (1979), pp. 7-37.
    • Elizabeth Moynihan “Reflections of Paradise” in Elizabeth Moynihan ed. The Moonlight Garden: New Discoveries at the Taj Mahal,

    A Week’s Break: No classes from Feb 12 – 16

    February 19
    Class 6A: The “popular Mughal” Ramayana of Khan-Khanan & The Ramayana of Mewar Rana Jagat Singh: narrative structures
    • John Seyller, “A Sub-Imperial Mughal Manuscript: The Ramayana of Abd Al-Rahim Khankhanan,” in Dehejia ed. The Legend of Rama. Artistic Visions.
    • Losty, “Sahib Din’s Book of Battles: Rana Jagat Singh’s Yuddhakanda” in Dehejia ed. The Legend of Rama. Artistic Visions.
    • Dehejia, “Narrative Structure in Jagat Singh’s Ramayana: A Preliminary Study,” Artibus Asiae, 54 (1996): 303-324.


    & Class 6 B: British Artists in Search of the Picturesque & Painting the Nation: Raja Ravi Varma and Abanindranath Tagore
    • Dehejia, Chapter 16
    • Mitter, Partha, “The Artist as Charismatic Individual: Raja Ravi Varma,” Art and Nationalism in Colonial India, 1850-1922, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994

    February 20
    Class 7A: Bombay’s Neo-Gothic Architecture & The new capital of New Delhi
    • Christopher London, Bombay Gothic
    • Thomas Metcalf, An Imperial Vision. Indian Architecture and Britain’s Raj, Ch 3 “Indo-Saracenic Buildings under the Raj,” pp. 55-104, especially 90-104.
    • Thomas Metcalf, An Imperial Vision. Indian Architecture and Britain’s Raj, Ch 7, “New Delhi: The Beginning of the End,” pp. 211-239.

    & Class 7B: Indian Modernism: M.F. Husain and the Bombay Progressives & & Contemporary Encounters: Subodh Gupta & Nalini Malani
    • Mitter, Chapter 11
    • Nagy, Peter, “Transitory Indecisions and Fluctuating Monuments,” in Subodh Gupta, New Delhi: Nature Morte Gallery; Mumbai: Sakshi Gallery, 2000
    • Mooney, Christopher, “Subodh Gupta: The Idol Thief,” Art Review, Issue 17, December 2007, pp. 52-57
    Exam- 23rd February, 2018 (time and venue to be announced)
    Ramrao Wagh, Professor Pratima Kamat,
    VRPP Coordinator Head, Dept of History

    For course details and ONLINE REGISTRATION: www.unigoa.ac.in/vrpp
    Email : [email protected]

    Bio of Prof Vidya Dehejia
    In the course of her career, Vidya Dehejia has combined research with teaching and exhibition-related activities around the world. Extensive field travel in South Asia, with visits to sites of importance in Southeast Asia, has given her first hand familiarity with the art of the region. 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. She has explored at length the theoretical basis for the portrayal of visual narratives in the context of India’s sculpture and painting, and has examined issues of gender and colonialism. Over time, her work has ranged from Buddhist art of the centuries BC to the esoteric temples of North India, and from the sacred bronzes of the South to the art of British India. Management and curatorial experience at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries provided broader scope to convey the excitement of her field to non-specialist audiences.

    Selected Publications
    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. French, German, and Japanese versions forthcoming.