The collection of studies of Indian and East Asian Art and Iconography is a considerable assemblage of essays. Though it deals with selected topics relating to iconographic and archaeological art, it touches, sporadically though, almost the entire range of Indian art-history and salient periods of East Asia. Nonetheless, the treatment although and documented. Though by character the studies are not an all-inclusive one, they afford a glimpse of the artendeavours of most regions covered.
With thirty and odd essays, appelled as chapters classed under sections, the subjects are surely as varied as they are interesting. Though art is known to be mostly inspired by religion, these essays reveal often a transcending trend over all bounds of cults and faiths. They have touched upon art and iconography equally as they have mused on epigraphy and numismatics. And, all are aided by appropriate illustrations in which excellence and fineness of details have been kept as the primary aim.
Further, these illustrations are not confined to the specific instances always as dealt with in the text, but they also include, as thought expedient, outside the immediate discussion, those that are considered useful, as expanded and comparable material, specially to help researches ahead whenever possible. With a readable and lucid style in the treatment of the subjects taken up, the wide spread-out of the topics and the problems set are marked by a promiscuity of arrangement which is deli-berate. Deliberate so as to infuse an element of relief from the boredom that might be engendered often by the inherent dryness of the themes.
About the Author:
A renowned scholar in East Asian Art in addition to his contribution to the study of all branches of Indian art, Professor A.K. Bhattacharyya has made a mark as an art-historian since long. His other interests include epigraphy and numismatics in which he has well-known publications. One of his works on Aspects of Perso-Arabic Epigraphy of India has earned worldwide commendation. His visits to Japan four times since 1968 and upto 1980, include a stay for a year in that country on a Japan Foundation Fellowship which he utilized in visiting almost all places of Buddhist interest, studying temples and sculptures. He took special care to study the stone sculptures in the southernmost island, Kylshi, by personal visits to the caverns and the rock-cut images in the Oita Prefecture and a few other places.
Back from the study-tours in the Republic of China and Japan, Professor Bhattacharyya was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship for his wide range of contribution to the study of the art of India and abroad. Among his works, A Corpus of Dedicatory Inscriptions for Temples of West Bengal; A Pageant of Indian Culture Art & Archaeology; Historical, Cultural and Political Aspects of Perso-Arabic Epigraphy of India; Development of Buddhist Iconography in China, Korea and Japan from Indian Concepts; Buddhist Stone Sculpture of Japan; Thai Buddhist Iconography Calcutta University on is dissertation: Studies in Jaina Iconography. Academically he has the most distinguished records and his linguistic equipment is the most unique in India, being a graduate in Arabic, and B.A. (Hons.) and M.A. in Sanskrit with a First class. He also secured the first class position in M.A. in Islamic History and Culture with Epigraphy and Numismatics as special subjects. He held important positions in India throughout his career.
After being a Lecturer and Principal of Colleges for the first eight years of his service career, he served as Asstt. Curator, Archaeological Survey, Deputy Keeper and Keeper of Art Deptt. at the National Museum, New Delhi, Superintending Archaeologist in charge of the Museums Branch of the Archaeological Survey of India, and finally as Director, Indian Museum, Calcutta. On retirement, served the National University in the Republic of China as Visiting Professor.