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2003, 110pp, ISBN: 81-7304-534-8, Rs. 1450 (HB)


This volume deals with Coomaraswamy's contribution to the study of Jaina art.

His writings on Jaina art span the entire period of his active working life as an art historian. He published his first article on the subject in 1914 and ended with a book review in 1943, four years before his death. Jaina art and its symbolic inventory held a special place in Coomaraswamy's formulation of the history of Indian painting, indeed Indian civilization itself. He was the first to recognize its chronological place in the succession of style. The Jaina paintings are not only important for the student of Jaina iconography and archaeology which are illustrative of costumes, manners and customs, but are of greater interest because they are the oldest Indian paintings on paper, representing an almost unknown school of lndian art.

Holding the view that in order to make these paintings fully comprehensible, a short account of Jainism and of the legends of Mahāvīra and Kālakācārya, which are the main subject of the paintings is given in this volume. The chapters that follow deal with the explanation of various terms; Jaina cosmology; aesthetics and relationships of Jaina painting; the illustrated Jaina manuscripts; description of the figures; followed by a large number of illustrations.

Richard J. Cohen, an eminent American Indologist, has edited the book painstakingly, consulting not only the author's authentic corrections, but also all the material available in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Library of the University of Pennsylvania. It is hoped that Coomaraswamy's seminal and profound contribution to the study of Indian painting will benefit not only art historians, but also artists.



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