A Celebration of Love - The Romantic Heroine in the Indian Arts

A Celebration of Love - The Romantic Heroine in the Indian Arts

Product ID: 13135

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Author: Eminent Contributors
Editor(s): Harsha V Dehejia
Publisher: Roli Books
Year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 304
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8174363025


Harsha V Dehejia has gathered a galaxy of scholars from around the world to take the reader on a journey that celebrates the romantic heroine in the Indian arts. It’s a visually rich journey which takes us to opulent havelis and bucolic groves, temples and courtyards, where we meet kings and nobility and also artists and artisans, as we hear whispers of gopis and the footfalls of Krishna.

We encounter the nayika in miniature paintings and temple sculptures, pothis and calendars, dance and music but above all hear resonances of her heart throbbing longingly in our own selves for ultimately the nayika in the Indian tradition is a paradigm of the perennial quest of mankind for a divine and transcendent love.

At the heart of the many and varied artistic expressions of the romantic sentiment is the nayika or the heroine. Her various adornments and trysts, the many moods of her love realized through amorous moments of longing or belonging, her strong presence in the Krishna lore and equally in the Sufi narratives, her portrayals in the Ragamala and the Barahmasa traditions of poetry and painting, through the beautiful depictions in miniature paintings as well as popular arts, have captivated our attention through the many centuries of Indian artistic representations.

Her footfalls have been heard in courts and temples, She has been heard in courts and temples, she has been celebrated by the raja and the praja, she has a presence in homes and mansions and her persona resonates in enchanted forests and groves. She is all this and more, but above all she is all this and more, but above all she is the epitome of perfect beauty and the paradigm of the seeker of ultimate reality.

In these essays, she comes alive in all her splendour and radiance, she captures our attention through her sheer sensuality as she looks into the mirror and prepares for that special moment. She delights in the many romantic situations and brings alive the concept of bhakti shringara or a certain spirituality that can only arise from indulging in love, but above all she stands self-assured and dignified, whispering that not only is there truth in love but that love is truth.


The Things Unsaid

Uddipan Vela, As We Light the Lamps

Te Ganesis of the Nayika in the Natyashastra

Turning the Heroine’s Head: The Emergence of the Nayika Form in Mediaeval Indian Manuscript Painting

The Quest for Krishna

Footprints in the Dust: The Gopis as a Collective Heroine in the Bhagavata Purana

Myriad Moods of Love

Karpuramanjari: The Artless Heroine

The Sufi Nayika: Qutban’s Mirigavati

The Romantic Heroine in Rajasthani Painting

Nayikas in the Haveli of Shrinathji

A Life as Svamini: Imbibing the Bhava in Pushti Marg

The Multiple Veils of the Beloved

The Heroine’s Bower: Framing the Stages of Love

Radha in Kishangarh Painting: Cultural, Literary and Artistic Aspects

The Nayika of Sahibdin

The Rasikapriya of Keshavads: Text and Image

Connoisseur’s Delight: The Nayika of the Basohli Rasamanjari

The Nayika in Barahmasa Paintings

Awash in Meaning: Literary Sources for Early Pahari Bathing Scenes

Dancing to the Flute

The Nayika of the Deccan

Pious Love: Iconography of the Nayika as a Devotee

Adorning the Beloved: Krishna Lila Images of Transformation and Union

The Aesthetics of Red in Rajasthani Painting

The Nagas and the Kanya: The Romance in Painting

The Raas Lila: The Enchantment with Innocence

Nawabs and Nayikas: The Romantic View from the Court of Lucknow

The Indian Courtesan: Symbol of Love and Romance

The Romantic Nayika: A Dancer’s View

Sri Radha: The Supreme Nayika of Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Radha: The Goddess of Love in Bengali Folk Literature

Radha Bhava and the Erotic Sentiment: The Construction of Feminity in Gaudiya Vaishnavism

The Mughal Nayika

Wife, Widow, Renunciant, Lover: The Mirabai of Calendar Art

Shringara and Love in Early Jain Literature

The Nayikas of Nagarjunakonda

The Nayika in Ayppati: The Tamil Vrindavan in Periyalvar’s Periyalvartirumoli

The Nayika and the Mirror

The Nayika and the Bird

The Vaishnava Ethos and Shringara Bhakti

Vidai: As We Float Our Lamps on the River