Three descriptive essays and numerous fascinating photographs, taken especially for this volume, allow the reader to experience a major monument of Indian art: the sixth century temple cave on Elephanta Island, in Bombay harbor, and its extraordinary stone sculptures. The authors and the photographer capture the atmosphere of the cave and the spirit of the sculptures, which portray the relentless energy and paradoxical power of Shiva, greatest of all Hindu gods. The photographs are particularly successful in revealing the dramatic alternation of light and dark that is so much a part of the beauty of the cave`s interior. Ms. Berkson`s trained and loving eye picks out the subtleties of the main sculptures and humorous details that the visitor might miss even on the site. In the text Wendy O`Flaherty interprets the myths of Shiva depicted in the sculpture; Ms. berkson`s essay supplies historical background and a stylistic analysis; and George Michell examines the overall structure of the cave to show that it is a mandala-like image of the heavenly mountain residence of Shiva and even of the structure of the universe itself."The author as well as the publishers of the work deserve to be congratulated for providing this easily accessible guide to Elephanta." Research Bulletin Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute,Vol.I, Dec.2002
CARMEL BERKSON is a sculptor and photographer of Indian monuments.GEORGE MICHELL, an architect, is editor of Art and Archaeology Research Papers and author of Early Western Chalukya Temples, The Hindu Temple: An Introduction to Its Meaning and Forms, and Brick Temples of Bengal: From the Archives of David McCutchion.WENDY DONIGER O`FLAHERTY is Professor of the History of Religions and Indian Studies at the University of Chicago. Among her works are Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Shiva and The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology.REVIEWS:
...this book creates a deep interest for the reader to visit the place. DR. R. VASANTHANot only libraries but also serious students of History and Archaeology, Art and Architecture will find this a very useful handbook for understanding and appreciating Elephanta. INDICA"...the reader feels a new kind of thrill and experience as he sees through extraordinary photographs of Carmel Berkson and fresh insights and perceptions of Wendey O`Flaherty and George Michell. Together, they capture the admosphere of the cave and the spirit of the sculptures which portray the relentless and paradoxical energy of Lord Shiva." THE HINDU
"The author as well as the publishers of the work deserve to be
congratulated for providing this easily accessible guide to Elephanta."
Research Bulletin Vishveshvaranand
Vedic Research Institute,Vol.I, Dec.2002