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Amaravati and the Beginnings of Stucco Modelling in India

by K.M. Varma

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Amaravati stuccos, i.e. images made of sudha=compound of quick-lime and sand were unearthed by Alexander Rea almost a century back; yet, strangely enough, they remained so far unnoticed and utterly neglected when in fact they have a great historical value posing a big chronological question as far as the use of sudha or question as far as the use of sudha or stucco as a medium of image making goes. Judged on stylistic grounds, the Amaravati fragments of stucco images appear to be of 1st century A.D., thus these are somewhat earlier than Gandharan examples so far held to be the earliest in entire India. The oldest Gandharan stuccos belong to the first half of the 2nd century A.D., whereas those which Marshall assigned to the 1st century A.D. cannot be earlier than the 3rd century A.D. It is therefore likely that stucco modelling was started in India for the first time at Amaravati, conjecturally, because of the inspiration drawn from the Roman world. Besides bringing this highly significant historical fact to the fore, the present monograph refers to similarly forgotten stuccos of other centres of Amaravati school which are supposedly of pre-Gupta in date and it tries to clarify the issue since when the stucco as a material was known to the Amaravati centre, a problem which has never before been discussed. Further, it also draws attention to other contributions Amaravati made to the art traditions of India as a whole.





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Title: Amaravati and the Beginnings of Stucco Modelling in India
Author(s): K.M. Varma
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
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