Body, History, Myth: Early Modern Murals in South India (Hardcover)

Body, History, Myth: Early Modern Murals in South India By Anna Lise Seastrand Cover Image

Body, History, Myth: Early Modern Murals in South India (Hardcover)


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The first major exploration of the mural tradition in early modern South India

An astonishing variety of murals greet visitors to the temples and palaces of southern India. Beautiful in execution and extensive in scope, murals painted on walls and ceilings adorn the most important spaces of early modern religious and political performance. Scene by scene, histories of holy sites, portraits that incorporate historical figures into mythic landscapes, and Tamil and Telugu inscriptions that evoke the imagined topographies of devotional poetry unfold before the mobile spectator. Body, History, Myth reconceives the relationship between art and devotion in South India by describing how the extraordinary sensory experience of a viewing body in motion unfurls a sacred narrative exquisitely designed to teach, impress, and inspire.

Anna Lise Seastrand offers new insights into the arts of early modern southern India, bringing to life one of the most culturally vibrant yet least understood periods in Indian art. She shows how temple visitors become active participants in the paintings through their somatic engagement with visual stories and devotional landscapes. Seastrand highlights the significance of textuality in early modern South Asia by examining the status of professional scribes and the prominence given to authorship of religious literature and art. Her insights are presented alongside new translations of the texts that accompany mural paintings.

Featuring a wealth of stunning images published here for the first time, Body, History, Myth provides a multidimensional reading of temple art that fundamentally reframes the artistic, intellectual, religious, and political histories of early modern India.
Anna Lise Seastrand is assistant professor of art history at the University of Minnesota.
Product Details ISBN: 9780691257990
ISBN-10: 069125799X
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: July 16th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English