New Book | India: A Story through 100 Objects

Posted in books by Editor on September 21, 2022

From ACC Art Books:

Vidya Dehejia, India: A Story Through 100 Objects (New Delhi: Roli Books, 2021), 280 pages, ISBN: 978-8194969174, $40.

We are constantly surrounded by objects, by ‘things’ that channel and dictate our everyday life, ‘things’ that we take for granted. But these objects speak to us, and speak about us. They have a story to tell that reflects our values and aspirations, our achievements and dreams, and reveal more about us than we realize! This richly illustrated book focuses on 100 objects to tell a story of India that unravels in a series of thematic sections that allow the objects to take center-stage. The stories that some objects tell will be new to readers; at other times, the objects themselves may be familiar but the story they tell may not be obvious. The 100 objects shed light on the varying priorities and the differing strands of achievement that arose over time to create the rich multi-cultural medley that is today’s India.

Vidya Dehejia is the Barbara Stoler Miller Professor of Indian and South Asian Art at Columbia University in New York, and the recipient of a Padma Bhushan conferred on her by the President of India in 2012 for achievement in Art and Education. Over the past 40 years, she has combined research with teaching and exhibition-related activities around the world. Her work has ranged from Buddhist art of the centuries BCE to the esoteric temples of North India, and from the sacred bronzes of South India to art under the British Raj. This comprehensive scope is evident from her books: The Thief Who Stole My Heart: The Material Life of Sacred Bronzes from Chola India, 855–1280 to Discourse in Early Buddhist Art: Visual Narratives of India; from The Unfinished: Stone Carvers at Work on the Indian Subcontinent to The Body Adorned: Dissolving Boundaries between Sacred and Profane in India’s Art; and from Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj to Devi, The Great Goddess: Female Divinity in South Asian Art. Management and curatorial experience at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington DC, combined with her interest and pleasure in teaching first-year undergraduates, provided her with a broad mandate to convey the excitement of her field to non-specialist audiences. India: A Story through 100 Objects is a result of this priority.


What’s in a Name
Into History
Idealized Body, Human and Divine
Urge to Adorn
Inter-Cultural Encounters
Written Word
Scientific Insights
Rise of Temple Culture
Kingship and Courtly Culture
Indian Ocean Networks
Art of the Illustrated Book
Art of Contest
Connoisseurship, Luxury, and Brilliance
Mobility and Cosmopolitanism
Mappling Place and Space
India through British Eyes
Deshi Expressions, Deep Traditions
Ideals of Womanhood
Early Twentieth Century
Into the Present

Further Reading

New Book | India: A History in Objects

Posted in books by Editor on September 21, 2022

From The British Museum and Thames & Hudson:

T. Richard Blurton, India: A History in Objects (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2022), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-0500480649, £30 / $45.

An authoritative visual history of India, one of the world’s oldest and most vibrant cultures, drawing on South Asian art and artifacts from prehistory to the present.

India: A History in Objects presents a beautiful collection of material culture from South Asia and traces its history through a huge variety of art and artifacts, both religious and secular.

Arranged chronologically, and abundantly illustrated with expertly selected objects, this superb new overview connects today’s South Asia with its past. Early chapters describe prehistoric objects from 1.5 million years ago, examine artifacts from the Indus Civilization, and follow the emergence of Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, and Christianity. The collection outlines the rise of the Mughals, the greatest Muslim dynasty of India, who made India a leading economic power. The distinct Mughal style is traced through paintings, architecture, hardstone carving, metalwork, and jewelry. This volume also explores the early trade industry to Europe via examples of spice pots, textiles, and other luxury goods. Finally, modernism and political independence in the 20th century are examined through Indian culture such as popular prints, contemporary photography, and the performing arts.

This volume presents a vast panoply, from the urban splendor of dynastic empires to the rural life of the subcontinent. A compelling visual history of rich and diverse cultures, this book will inspire and inform anyone interested in India and material culture.

T. Richard Blurton was the Head of the South and Southeast Asia section at the British Museum. Trained as an archaeologist, he has worked all over South Asia. His publications include Krishna in the Garden of Assam, Bengali Myths, and Hindu Art.

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