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The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India

By Vidya Dehejia with essays by Richard H. Davis, R. Nagaswamy, and Karen Pechilis Prentiss
Published in 2003 by the AFA in association with University of Washington Press
255 pages, 89 illus. (49 in color), 9 × 11 in.
Paper • ISBN 0-917418-96-4 • $35.00 (AFA)
Cloth • ISBN 0-295-98284-5 • $49.95 (University of Washington Press)

From the ninth to the thirteenth centuries, the Chola dynasty was the dominant political, cultural, religious, and artistic force in the area of South India. During the Chola rule, the arts of all media—music and dance, poetry and drama, philosophy and religious thought, and the arts of sculpture, bronze-casting, jewelry-making, painting, and architecture—reached new heights. It was also during this time that Chola artists created and perfected portable bronzes which were worshiped as living entities to preside over daily rituals and periodic ceremonial processions. Sensuous curves and graceful elegance characterize the primarily religious bronze sculpture of the period, expressing the sacred, intangible beauty of gods, goddesses, and saints. This catalogue highlights fifty-nine Chola bronzes that exemplify the graceful forms, delicate modeling, and remarkable technical sophistication of these sculptures.

“an excellent introduction”
Publishers Weekly, January 2003

“powerful formal and iconographic analysis … a significant work”
The Statesman (Calcutta), May 2003