264 pages | 51 B/W Illus.
Patterns of ritual power, presence, and space are fundamentally connected to, and mirror, the societal and political power structures in which they are enacted.
This book explores these connections in South Asia from the early Common Era until the present day. The essays in the volume examine a wide range of themes, including a genealogy of ideas concerning Vedic rituals in European thought; Buddhist donative rituals of Gandhara and Andhra Pradesh in the early Common Era; land endowments, festivals, and temple establishments in medieval Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; Mughal court rituals of the Mughal Empire; and contemporary ritual complexes on the Nilgiri Plateau. This volume argues for the need to redress a historical neglect in identifying and theorising ritual and religion in material contexts within archaeology. Further, it challenges existing theoretical and methodological forms of documentation to propose new ways of understanding rituals in history.
This volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of South Asian history, religion, archaeology, and historical geography.
Introduction: The Archaeology of Ritual in South Asian Contexts
Part I: Power
1. Imagining Sacrifice in Ancient India: A Genealogy of Heesterman’s ‘Broken World’
2. Rituals of Power: Coinage, Court Culture and Kingship under the Great Mughals
3. Ritual as Performed Constitutions—Badagas in the Nilgiris District,
Part II: Presence
4. Codified Relic Theft and Buddhist Propaganda: (Re)-Dedicating the Buddha’s Relics in the Indic Northwest
5. Naming Rituals and Sharing Power in the Time and Space of the Tamil Temple
6. Power, Processions and the Festival Architecture of the Tamil temple
Part III: Space
7. Money for Rituals: Akṣayanīvī and Related Inscriptions from Andhradeśa,
8. Neither Cave nor Temple: Expressions of Power and Divinity in the Rock-Reliefs at Badami
9. Ritualising Land and Cultivating Distinctions: Medieval Period Donative Practices, and a Political Ecology of the Raichur Doab
10. Sacred Frames: Knowledge, Culture and Ritual Agency in Ancient Tālukas of Karnataka (Late 10th–12th centuries)
This Series, in association with the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, reflects on the complex relationship between religion and society through new perspectives and advances in archaeology. It looks at this critical interface to provide alternative understandings of communities, beliefs, cultural systems, sacred sites, ritual practices, food habits, dietary modifications, power, and agents of political legitimisation. The books in the Series underline the importance of archaeological evidence in the production of knowledge of the past. They also emphasise that a systematic study of religion requires engagement with a diverse range of sources such as inscriptions, iconography, numismatics and architectural remains.