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Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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TAMIL NATION LIBRARY: Art & Architecture

"The following works of art ...are among the most remarkable contributions of the Tamil creative genius to the world's cultural treasure and should be familiar to the whole world and admired and beloved by all in the same way as the poems of Homer, the dramas of Shakespeare, the pictures of Rembrandt, the cathedrals of France and the sculptures of Greece ...... the South Indian bronzes of the Chola period, those splendid and amazing sculptures belonging to the best creations of humanity,  the Dravidian temple architecture, of which the chief representatives are perhaps the temples of Tanjore, Chidambaram and Madurai....." (Tamil Contribution to World Civilisation - Czech Professor Dr. Kamil Zvelebil in Tamil Culture - Vol. V, No. 4. October, 1956)

[see also Sathyam Art Gallery
South Indian Bronzes of the Chola Period and
Dravidian Temple Architecture ]

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Agrawala, P.K. Gupta Temple Architecture.

Bachhofer, L. Early Indian Sculpture, 1974

*S. R. Balasubrahmanyam - Middle Chola temples : Rajaraja I to Kulottunga I (A.D. 985-1070)

*Douglas E. Barrett - Early Cola architecture and sculpture ; 866-1014 A.D

*Basham, A.L. The Wonder That Was India.

*Basham, A.L.  Cultural History of India

Brand, M. and Lowry, G. Akbar's India.

Brown, Percy. Indian Architecture: Buddhist and Hindu Periods.

*Ananda K Coomaraswamy - The Dance of Siva : Essays on Indian Art and Culture  / Paperback / Published 1985 [see also One Hundred Tamils of the 20th Century - Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy]

"...I do not mean to say that the most profound interpretation of Siva's dance was present in the minds of those who first danced in frantic, and perhaps intoxicated energy, in honour of the pre Aryan hill-god, afterwards merged in Siva. A great motif in religion or art, any great symbol, becomes all things to all men; age after age it yields to men such treasure as they find in their own hearts. Whatever the origins of Siva's dance, it became in time the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of..."

*Vidya Dehejia - The Art of the Imperial Cholas (The Polsky Lectures in Indian and Southeast Asian Art and Archaeology) / Hardcover / Published 1990

*Francis Xavier Clooney - The art and theology of �Srivai�s�nava thinkers : the De Nobili endowment lectures

Hallade, M. The Gandharan Style.

Harle, James. The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent.

*James Heitzman - Gifts of Power : Lordship in an Early Indian State / Hardcover / Published 1998 -  

- (Contents include: List of Maps, List of Figures, 1. The Chola Empire: History, Theory, Method, Power and Empire in Early South India, Theoretical Background Methodology: The Study Areas , 2. Means and Relations of Production in Cholamandalam Irrigation and Development Property Relations, Cultivation Rights and Agrarian Labour, Property Relations and their Vocabulary, 3. Temple Urbanism Urbanization and Political Economy in Early South India, A Comparative Study of Chola-period Urbanization, 4. The Transactional Network of an Imperial Temple 5. The Structure of the Chola State The King and the Royal Family in Cholamandalam 6. Networks of Social Control 7. Conclusion Appendix Sites of Chola-period Inscriptions in Five Study Areas)

Huntington, Susan. The Art of Ancient India: Buddhist, Hindu, Jain.

William Hickey - The Land of the Chola : The Eden of the South : The Tanjore Mahratta Principality in Southern India / Hardcover / Published 1988

Isvarmurti, V - Life and Art of C N Vasudevan : Tamil Dancer and Tagore  / Hardcover / Published 1986

*Michell, George - The Hindu Temple: An Introduction to Its Meaning and Forms

A reprint with a new preface of the Harper edition (1977) of Michell's standard introduction. He explains the cultural, religious, and architectural significance of the temple, illustrating his points with many photographs, building plans, and drawings of architectural details.

*Partha Mitter - Art and Nationalism in Colonial India : Occidental Orientations  / Hardcover /Published 1994

Moorthy, K.K. - The temples of Tamil Nadu: a 16-flower Tamil Poomalai -  foreword by V. Ramados, Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh: Message Publications, 1991 160p

*Nagaswamy, R -  Masterpieces of Early South Indian Bronzes

*Nagaswamy, R - Thiruttani and Velanjeri copper plates (T.N.S.D.A. publication)

*Nagaswamy, R -The art of Tamilnadu, (T.N.D.A. pub)

*Nagaswamy, R -Gangaikondacholapuram, (T.N.D.A. pub)

*Nagaswamy, R -Vasavasamudram: A report on the excavation conducted by the Tamilnadu State Department of Archaeology (T.N.D.A. pub)

*Nagaswamy, R -The Kailasanatha temple;: A guide, (Tamil Nadu. Dept. of Archaeology. T.N.D.A. pub. no. 4)

*Nagaswamy, R -Studies in ancient Tamil law and society (T.N.S.D.A. pub)

*Nagaswamy, R -Tamil coins: A study (T.N.D.A. pub)

*Nagaswamy, R -Art and culture of Tamil Nadu - Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan, 1980,184p, [18] leaves of plates

* Nagaswamy, R -The art of Tamilnadu, (T.N.D.A. pub)

*Nagaswamy, R -Tantric cult of South India

*Nagaswamy, R -Tarangampadi

*Nagaswamy, R -Facets of South Indian Art and Architecture

*Nagaswamy, R -Siva Bhakti

*Nanditha Krishna,V. K. Rajamani (Photographer) - Arts and Crafts of Tamilnadu (Living Traditions of India)  / Hardcover /176 p., 155 colour photographs, map, bibliography, glossary Published: 1991

(From the Cover: "In the state of Tamilnadu, the classical tradition is strong and deep-rooted. Thus, the folk arts became classicised--the village terracottas became the great bronzes, the wood carvings became splendid monuments in stone. It is difficult, therefore, to tell an art form apart from a craft : Is a Chola bronze a work of art or an example of expert craftsmanship ? This book reveals achievements in diverse craft fields, all highly developed and stamped with the seal of an ancient culture." )

*Rajeswari, D.R. -  The Pallava sculpture

*Rama Sivaram - Early Chola Art - Origin and Emergence of Style  Hardcover 268 p., 320 plates, figures / Published 1994

(Contents include 1. Historical overview-retrospective of south India. 2. The socio-religious background. 3. Temple architecture. 4. Development of early Chola architecture. 5. Towards early Chola sculpture. 6. Survey of extant sculpture in the early Chola period. 7. Early Chola bronzes - a formal analysis.

From the cover: "Medieval South India saw a resurgence in religious experience culminating in the great temple art of the Cholas. Time and again, both in architecture and sculpture, it is the artists' feeling for form and visual design that is reflected. What were the causes that went into the making of this inimitable Chola style? Prevalent consensus of opinion is based on the archaeological perceptions of influences from neighbouring kingdoms and of a transition caused by religious and political factors. The reviews are so final and tempting, yet, the question of why Chola art stands apart remains unanswered.

"Early Chola Art-Origin and Emergence of Style is an attempt to shift the art historical perspective from the traditional to a formal approach and analysis. The study focuses on works of art themselves as a starting point and determines the inherent factors that led to the evolution of style.

"In fact, the inherent evolutionary factors are as important as the socio-religious and historical influences and visual precedents. The vocabulary of visual forms has its own existence of continually transforming and perpetuating into newer forms. It is its own internal logic which allows for a style to be born.

"This revised approach is what is sought to be achieved by 'Formal analysis', which is relatively unexplored in Indian art. It follows the principles of metamorphosis and renewal of forms within a given period that makes transition subordinate to transformational creation. By such an analysis we see that Chola art emerges from the Chola sensibility and feeling for form. Rama Sivaram teaches Art History at the Department of Art History and Aesthetics, M.S. University, Baroda."

Rowland, Benjamin. The Art and Architecture of India.

A.K. Seshadri - Sri Brihadisvara : The Great Temple of Thanjavur

(From the cover -"The Brihadisvara Temple or the Great Temple, Thanjavur, built by Raja Raja Chola-I  around 1010 A.D. is a masterpiece of South Indian art and architecture. It has attracted the attention of several distinguished historians and art critics and volumes have been written on different aspect of its many splendoured greatness. The author of this book does not claim to present any new discoveries but recounts in simple language all the outstanding features for which the temple has become renowned.

The majestic Vimana about 200 feet high, the tallest of its kind, justly called the Dakshina-meru, the exquisite sculptures in the niches of the sanctum walls, the delicate Chola and the Nayaka paintings in the inner corridor around the sanctum, the series of dance sculptures (Karanas) on the walls of the first floor, the modest yet stately gopuras in the outer enclosures, the beautiful bronzes and above all the highly informative and valuable historical inscriptions that give meticulous details of the donations and land-grants mode to the temple by the king and his kin form the themes of the chapters in the book.

As a member of the conservation wing of the Archaeological Survey of India, the author has intimate knowlege of the several steps taken to preserve the temple in its original beauty. The popular beliefs that the shadow of the tower does not fall on the ground and that eighty ton Sikhara is a made of one stone are discounted by him. The latter was found to be mounted and assembled in parts. There is a curious figure of a man with an European dress and hat on the northern wall of the Nayaka period when Europeans were active in Tamil Nadu coast.

The shrine of the Goddess Perianayaki was built in the 13th century. The beautiful bronze of Nataraja in the temple belongs to the Chola period but it suffered some damage and had to be repaired during the Maratta period. This is recorded in an inscription on the pedestal of the image. Such interesting details are given in the book. This book also presents interesting data on the members of Raja Raja's family and their endowments, Raja Raja's colourful titles (like Sivapadasekharan and Tirumuraikonda-Solan), the names of the streets of Thanjavur in Chola times (like the Gandharvar street), the 23 bronze images for various deities donated by Raja Raja, the weights and measures.")

Sivaramamurti, C. South Indian Bronzes.

Splendours of Tamil Nadu - Bombay: MARG Publications, c1980 144,[8]p

*Swaminathan, K.D. - Early South Indian temple architecture : study of Tiruv�ali�svaram inscriptions

Thapar, Romila. History of India.

Tirumala Tirupati - the legends and beyond...

"A hard bound 192 page art book consisting of over 300 photographs, illustrations, miniature paintings and architectural drawings. Legends, facts and narrations weave the images to capture the essence of the richest and most powerful temple in the world. The first book of its kind that aims at inspiring the believer, educating the information seeker and enlightening the curious. The book captures sites and glimpses of Tirumala. It tries to depict the past, describe the present and encapsulate the spirit of the people." 


The Publisher - Visual Quest India has a strong focus on publishing and VQI's clients in the publishing vertical include the largest tabloid newspaper in the world "Metro", one of North America's largest 3rd party administrators, India's premier communication provider VSNL and the Corps of Electronic and Mechanical Engineers - the technology wing of the Indian Army. You can also visit the link

*B. Venkataraman - Temple art under the Chola queens

**B.Venkataraman - Rajarajesvaram, the Pinnacle of Chola Art, 1985

Welch, S.C. Imperial Mughal Painting.

Williams, J. The Art of Gupta India: Empire and Province.

Zannas, E. Khajuraho.
Zimmer, H. The Art of Indian Asia.

Zimmer, H. Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization.

Heras, H. Studies in Proto-Indo- Mediteranean Culture. Vol.1. Bombay, 1953.



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