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Vastusutra Upanishad: The Essence of Form in Sacred Art

by Alice Boner and Sadasiva Rath Sarma and Bettina Baumer

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The Vastusutra Upanisad, ascribed to Rsi Pippalada of Prasna Upanisad, is the first known Atharvavedic text on image-making. The book contains a critical edition of the text, an English translation and copious notes elucidating its meaning. Its chapters are devoted to a discussion of the following subjects: stones, compositional diagram, carving, disposition of the parts of the image, the basic emotions connected with images, and the total composition of the image panel. The text deals with the basic symbolism of the compositional diagram, the micro-macrocosmic correspondences in sacred images, the derivation of the original anthropomorphic image from the symbolic pillar of sacrifice and the application of aesthetic experience of rasa and bhava to image-making. The metaphysical question of the origin of form and its importance for the attainment of spiritual realization or moksa is central to the text. A glossary of technical terms forms a useful part of the book.

This fourth edition has been completely revised. The book is an important addition to the scarce literature of authentic texts on Vastu / Silpa.

About the Author:

ALICE BONER (1889 - 1981) studied painting and sculpture, and worked as a sculptor in France and Switzerland. During the thirties, she visited India and studied Indian religious and artistic traditions. In 1962 her magnificent work on Indian art entitled Principles of Composition in Hindu Sculpture was published (2nd ed. Delhi 1990). Her other important works in collaboration with Pandit S.R. Sarma include: Silpaprakasa (Brill, Leiden, 1966) and New Light on the Sun Temple of Konarka (with R.P. Das, Chaukhamba, Varanasi, 1972). She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich, and in 1974 she was awarded the Padmabhushan by the President of India.

PANDIT SADASIVA RATH SARMA (died in 1989 ) was associated with the Jagannath Sanskrit University, Puri, and attached to the Jagannath Temple. A master of Indian traditional arts, he was a collaborator of Dr. Alice Boner in her work on Orissan Silpasastra. He was awarded the title of Kalakosaratnakara by the Kamakoti Pitha of Kanchipuram and received Padmashri by the Government of India for his outstanding work in the field of the religious and artistic traditions of Orissa.

DR. BETTINA BAUMER (born in 1940 in Austria) has been working in Varanasi since 1967 as a scholar in Indology and Indian arts. At present she is Director of Research, Alice Boner Institute Varanasi and Visiting Professor in Vienna University, former senior research fellow, Harvard University, and associated with Utkal University, Bhubaneswar. Her main fields of research are Silpasastra of Orissa, Kashmir Saivism, aesthetics and interreligious studies. She has edited 3 volumes of Kalatattvakosa, A Lexicon of Fundamental Concepts of the Indian Arts (Vol.1, 1988; Vol.II, 1992; Vol.II, 1996), Silparatnakosa (Delhi 1994), Mysticism in Saivism and Christianity (New Delhi 1997) and is the author of several books and research articles in English and German.

 





Detailed Product Info:

Title: Vastusutra Upanishad: The Essence of Form in Sacred Art
Author(s): Alice Boner, Sadasiva Rath Sarma , Bettina Baumer
ISBN: 9788120814554
Year of Publication: 2000
Bibliographic Information: 226 pages
Format: Soft Cover
Language: English
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