Analyzing the ways in which ideas of heroic discourse and the socio-religious and political needs of the period moulded iconography, this book explores the evolution of the iconography of the early mediaeval Hindu temples of the Indian peninsula, over the course of the sixth-twelfth centuries C.E. In order to study the socio-religious and political atmosphere in which the early mediaeval temple iconography grew and developed its specific forms, the author makes use of the inscriptions, archaeological and the literary materials ranging from the fourth centuries B.C.E. to the thirteenth century C.E., as these give an idea of the continuities and discontinuities in the ideas of heroic and political discourses which lie at the back of the visual art forms that they created. Of particular interest are the royal charters, issued in Sanskrit and Tamil, the religious narratives from the Sanskrit epics and the Puranas, iconographic canons that form a part of the religious texts known as the Agamas, written in Sanskrit, the court literature of the early mediaeval period and the early historical Sangam Tamil literature, apart from the archaeological material from the Indian peninsula. The author focuses particularly on exploring the ideas of power current in the society that created the narrative iconography of the period and the region studied.
'Temple Imagery from Early Mediaeval Peninsular India is well researched, thorough, written in an interesting and readable style, and makes a contribution to knowledge about Hindu art and architecture in relationship to kingship in southern India.' Susan L. Huntington, Ohio State University, USA 'This book will prove especially helpful for students of art history, South Indian history and iconography, as well as specialists of materiality/material culture. The first chapter will introduce those unfamiliar with Tamil traditions to the relevant deities, practices, and texts. But even the Tamil literary specialist will be amply engaged by the diversity of disciplinary perspectives presented here.' Journal of Hindu Studies '… scholars in a wide range of fields, and particularly religious studies and history, will benefit both from the book’s many illustrations and from the author’s efforts to parse out how various narrative elements from Saá¹…gam poetry, the PurÄ�Å†as, and the Ä€gamas was reflected in the formalization, and indeed canonization, of new iconographic forms.' Religious Studies Review
Contents: Introduction; Changing perceptions of divine power: the evolution of religious idiom in peninsular India; Puranic pantheons and their iconography (AD 600-1200); Heroic discourse: concepts and images in literature and iconography (early historical and early medieval periods) Imaging royal power in visual and verbal narratives; Pantheons of power - the iconographic programme in royal temples; Reflections; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.