Iconography as a key to trace the socio-religious changes has been attempted successfully by some eminent scholars like Dr. R. Champaklakshmi, Dr. Haripriya Rangarajan etc. The present volume is in alignment with such efforts and yet stands distinctive as it tries to probe into the question of amalgamation of various incoming trends for shaping the sectarian scenario as revealed through iconographic developments.
The study is confined to the Marathi speaking region and pertains to the time span up to early 14th c. C.E. The present work enfolds art historical development of all the major and minor forms of Vishnu, Vaishnava goddesses and other subsidiary divinities of the pantheon along with the syncretistic images. The cult of Vithoba as Vaishnava sect themgh terms the major subject matter of some of the earlier works, has been analyzed here in relationship with the other forms of Vishnu. Identification and development of the cult of Kevala Narasimha is one of the focal points of the work. As a leading book providing a wholistic view of the cultic development, this work is indispensable to scholars and students alike.
About the Author:
Dr. Vaishali Welankar with her early and sound background in Sanskrit and in Ancient Indian Culture and Archaeology from Deccan College has obtained her degree of Ph.D from University of Mumbai. During the past decade the author has served as a lecturer of Ancient Indian Culture at St. Xavier's College, Sathaye College, and Kishinchand Chellaram College at Mumbai. She is at present working as an independent research scholar and a visiting faculty for certificate course in Archaeology for Extra-Mural Studies, University of Mumbai and visiting faculty for Indian Aesthettcs, department of Philosophy, LJnlversity of Mumbai.
Another area of her interest and work is the archaeological investigations. Trained and participated in various explorations like the monument survey at Hampi (Vijayanagara Research Project) and excavatiens at Balathal (Rajasthan), Budhihal (Karnataka) and Paithan (Maharashtra), she has carried out the excavation of the megalithic burials at Mahurjhari (Nagpur, Maharashtra) as a project assistant in Deccan College and also for the relocation and reconstruction of one of those burials at Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalay, Bhopal, M.P.
Her post-doctoral works are the art historical study of 'Wooden Chariots in the temples of South India with special reference to the specimens from Tanjavur region' and 'Metal Masks in Maharashtra and Karnataka' carried out for Indian Cultural Studies, Franco-Indian Research Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai. The author has a number of research papers and articles to her credit. The terracotta images of the early historical phases, and bronzes from Maharashtra are her arenas of work and focus at present. Apart from her work and interest in cognitive archaeology, iconography and art history, other areas of her interest arc Public Archaeology and use of modem technology for archaeological investigations.