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Essays In the Water Cosmology

Ananda K.Coomaraswamy

Edited by Paul Schroeder

1993, xviii+339 pp. b&w Plates, index, ISBN: 019-563385-7: Rs 500 (HB)

Foreword published in Newsletter

Yakṣas was originally published by the Freer Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in two parts (1928 and 1931). Subsequently, Ananda Coomaraswamy re-thought his topic and collected
a great deal of iconographic and literary material that permitted him to reconstitute a pre-Vedic cosmology with which the Yakṣas, a whole series of pre-vedic and non-Vedic divinities, were intimately associated.

In part I, Coomaraswamy examined the origin of Yakṣas in the context of Vedic, Brāhmanical and Upani adic literature. His thorough revisions of the early chapters of part I are incorporated in this edition. Coomaraswamy dealt with the interpretative levels of the artistic motif in part II. He delved deeper to unfold the water cosmology underlying what may appear on surface as either a minor deity or tutelary god, or only an ornamental motif.

Coomaraswamy did not restrict himself to the Indian literature on water cosmology but drew attention to many ancient cultures, especially those of Egypt and Iran.



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