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Volume 59 Number 1, September 2007

Volume 59 Number 1

Tod's Rajasthan

From the General Editor’s Desk 

Reading and Riding: Horses in Image and Text
Vibhuti Sachdev

Tod as an Observer of Landscape in Rajasthan
Florence D’Souza

Visual Narratives of the Revolt of 1857
Som Prakash Verma

A Triumphant Homecoming: The Frieze Programme on Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II’s Cenotaph
Melia Belli

Photo Essay
Mukunda De

Newsletters
    From New Dehli
    Sonal Khullar
    From Toronto
    Haema Sivanesan
    From Europe
    John Siudmak

Book Reviews

From the General Editor's Desk
Pal, Pratapaditya
Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007, pp. 10-11

The diamond anniversary of two sovereign nation of the subcontinent, India and Pakistan is discussed. As Marg enters its 61st year, a tribute to its longest serving chairman and publisher Jamshed J. Bhabha whose loss will be difficult to fill.

Reading and Riding: Horses in Image and Text
Sachdev, Vibhuti
Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007, pp. 12-23 [Also in James Tod’s Rajasthan: The Historian and His Collections edited by Giles Tillotson; Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007; ISBN: 978-81-85026-800, pp. 36-47]

The chapter illustrates and discusses a number of equestrian portraits of Mewari rulers (Maharana Bhim Singh and some of his thakurs) that were collected by or given to James Tod during his stay. Focusing especially on the depiction of the horses in these images, the chapter argues that the manner in which horses were idealized by Mewari artists can be understood in relation to a body of specialist local knowledge on horses and their care. This knowledge was common at court, and is also recorded in treatises both ancient and modern, a copy of one of which – the Ashvapariksha – is also contained in the Tod collection. The chapter outlines the contents of these texts and shows how their comments are reflected in the paintings.
As in all of the paintings discussed in the article, the horse is at once idealized and naturalistic, holding within its painted narrative the features suggested by the texts and the character of the individual horse.

Tod as an Observer of Landscape in Rajasthan
D'Souza, Florence
Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007, pp. 24-33 [Also in James Tod’s Rajasthan: The Historian and His Collections edited by Giles Tillotson; Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007; ISBN: 978-81-85026-800, pp. 48-57]

James Tod's textual depictions of Rajasthani landscapes in his Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (1829,1832) show his awareness of contemporary European aesthetic preoccupations with the picturesque in visual portrayals of landscape, which sought to provoke delight and astonishment in the viewer through light and shade effects and a brooding atmosphere. He combined this with the British colonial government's requirement of accuracy and useful information in topographical surveying. Focusing on three sites from Tod's 1820 journey to Marwar (Kumbhalgarh, Pushkar, and Udaipur), and three sites from his later 1821–22 journey to Bundi and Kota (Mukundwara, Ganga Bheva, and Mahanal), the essay analyses Tod's strategies of textually evoking landscapes. These include comparisons with well-known European archaeological sites, allusions to European mythology alongside details on Rajput mythology, a certain 18th-century rational humanism, a Romantic sensitivity to ruins and imposing natural phenomena like virile mountain scenes and sublime waterfalls as well as an attraction for Rajput heroes of the past. Thus, in spite of Tod's being a part of the British colonial establishment, his text gives much importance to aesthetic renderings of landscapes.

Visual Narratives of the Revolt of 1857
Verma, Som Prakash
Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007, pp. 34-43

Visual records by British painters of this momentous year in Indian resistance to British authority unfold significant passages in the Revolt and are in conformity with British written records of the time. The realism in these illustrations powerfully brings out the vigour of the Indian resistance. A few are examined here such as the ‘circulation of chapattis’ movement, a precursor to the outbreak of the Revolt; a killing at Meerut; massacre of rebellious sepoys. These visuals, a neglected contemporary source, need to be interpreted in light of the writings on the Revolt.

A Triumphant Homecoming: The Frieze Programme on Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II’s Cenotaph
Belli, Melia
Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007, pp. 44-53

The article begins with a general discussion of the meaning and function of Rajput chhatris to their contemporary audiences. It then goes on to a discussion of the chhatri of Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, who ruled the former princely state of Jaipur between 1880 and 1922. This chhatri presents an unconventional form of Rajput memorialization, unusual for the detailed frieze programme along its base. The friezes depict a royal procession, clearly set in Jaipur, which is recognizable from the careful rendering of city landmarks. Using primary sources, written during Madho Singh II’s rule, this article identifies the frieze programme as a depiction of the Maharaja’s re-entry into Jaipur after his successful journey to England to attend the coronation of Edward VII in 1901.

Photo Essay
De, Mukunda
Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007, pp. 54-63

The photographer describes his project of photographing the Ganesh Chaturthi festival at Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad – the stages of idol making in Uppal, the immersion, and the salvage operations after immersion when the chemicals and materials used in the making of the idols are removed by cranes in a ritual that gives life back to the lake.

From New Delhi
Khullar, Sonal
Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007, pp. 64-66

Dayanita Singh’s photographs and a centenary retrospective of Benodebehari Mukherjee’s work at the NGMA.

From Toronto
Sivanesan, Haema
Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007, p. 67

An exhibition of embroidery from India and Pakistan at the Textile Museum of Canada.

From Europe
Siudmak, John
Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007, pp. 68-71

Two exceptional exhibitions of ancient art of South Asia, one on Afghanistan and one on the Gupta empire.

Book Reviews
Vol. 59 No. 1, September 2007, pp. 72-79

The Suresh Neotia collection published by Jnana-Pravaha, reviewed by Kalpana Desai; Kerala’s temple and palace architecture by Ramu Katakam, reviewed by Himanshu Burte; The Oxford Companion to Indian Archaeology edited by Dilip Chakrabarti, reviewed by Pratapaditya Pal.