Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 30-31 (Dec 1997) p. 114.


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Marking Independence

On the Study of Indian Art. Pramod Chandra's own work stands as a culmination of this historiography, as best evident in the Festival of India show he curated in 1985 and the accompanying lavish volume he produced. The Sculpture of India. 48. We can clearly mark this transformation of identity in N.G. Mazumdar's A Guide to the Sculptures in

the Indian Museum^ Calcutta, Indian Museum, Calcutta, 1937. 114 49. A Guide to the Galleries of the National Museum of India, pp. 1-2.

50. I have elaborated on this theme—the encounter with the erotic female form in Indian art history—in a recent article, 'Clothing the Goddess: The Modern Contest over the Representations of the Devi', forthcoming in Vidya Dehejia, ed.. The Devi: The Goddess in Indian Art, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington.

51. The emerging study and evaluation of the Mathura school of sculptures, is discussed in R.C.Sharma, 'Mathura: A Case Study', in Catherine B.Asher and Thomas R. Metcalf, eds.. Perceptions of South Asia's Visual Past, Oxford & IBH, New Delhi, 1994.

52. These were listed in the exhibition Catalogue and Album as 'Bhubaneswara, 10th century, AD', but were later re-identified as being from the Khajuraho temples of roughly the same period.

53. First singled out and highlighted in V-SAgrawala's Introduction and Catalogue to the 1948 exhibition (Exhibition of Indian Art, pp. x-xii, 7-13, 23), and in the accompanying Exhibition of Indian Art Album, this particular selection of female figures from early and medieval sculpture is also given special attention in the 1956 Guide to the Galleries of the National Museum of India, and later in C. Sivaramamurti's Masterpieces of Indian Sculpture in the National Museum, National Museum, New Delhi, 1971.

54. The arrangement of a similar 'map' of Japanese art through Okakura's collections, codifications and classifications is discussed in Tanaka, 'Imaging history: Inscribing Belief in the Nation', pp. 28-31.

55. The story of the Didarganj Yakshi is one of the many such accounts of the prior and post-museum life of Indian art objects narrated compellingly by Richard Davis in his new book. Lives of Indian Objects, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1997.

56. On aspects of this history of archaeological conservation and museum collections in colonial India, see Tapati Guha-Thakurta, 'The Museumised Relic: Archaeology and the First Museum of Colonial India', Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 34, No. 1,1997; and 'Tales of the Bharhut Stupa: Archaeology in the Colonial and Nationalist Imagination', in G.H.R.Tillotson, ed.. The Paradigms of Indian Architecture, Curzon Press, London, 1997.

57. The term is used by Carol Duncan in 'The Art Museum as Ritual', pp. 11-12.

58. Exhibition of Indian Art: Album, Dept. of Archaeology, Ministry of Education, New Delhi, 1948.

59. Benedict Anderson (Imagined Communities, pp. 163-85) places a central emphasis on such mechanical reproduction and dissemination of images in the way various signifiers of the 'nation' (from the map-as-logo to postcards of ancient monuments and relics) would circulate in the popular imagination.

60. The canon, then, can be understood as 'a hardening of the discourse of visibility' in a way that it replaces identity and stands in for the actual/original piece. See the essay by Ajay Sinha in this issue, The Construction of "Mule" in Indian Temple Architecture'.

61. In the post-Independence years, the state's interest in the nation's modern art found its main institutional forms in the forming of the National Gallery of Modem Art at Jaipur House, New Delhi in 1953, and in the founding of the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1962. This is a theme waiting to be worked on.

62. It is partially dealt with in the longer version, 'Instituting the Nation in Art'.

63. K.N.Puri, 'The National Museum,1949-1960', in National Museum: An Introduction, pp. 9-10.

64. Even after the museum shifted to its new building, these pieces never felt the precincts of Rashtrapati Bhavan. They became part of the exclusive presidential collection, increasingly removed from the public eye. Today, what flanks the two main stairways of the Indian Museum, Calcutta, are not the 'originals' but the 'casts' of the Mauryan lion and bull capitals.

65. National Museum: An Introduction, Foreword by Humayun Kabir, Minister of Scientific and Cultural Affairs, pp. 3-4.

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