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Volume 59 Number 2, December 2007

Volume 59 Number 2

Popular Culture

Editorial

Optics for the Stage: Curtains of the Surabhi Company
Anuradha Kapur

India’s Republic Day Parade: Restoring Identities, Constructing the Nation
Jyotindra Jain

Models and Copies in Pahari Painting: New Insights
Vijay Sharma

Discovery of a Pre-Pala Monastic Complex at Moghalmari, West Bengal
Asok Datta

Conservation Newsletter: Maitreya Buddhist Temples in Basgo, Ladakh
Abha Narain Lambah

Newsletters

Book Reviews

Book Feature

Editorial
Poddar, Rashmi
Vol. 59 No. 2, December 2007, pp. 8-9

Rashmi Poddar writes on the festival season in India which has just ended and during which Mumbai witnessed a myriad of public spectacles, exemplars of the emerging new religious look and hopes that the low art of politics will draw from the high art of culture.

Optics for the Stage: Curtains of the Surabhi Company
Kapur, Anuradha
Vol. 59 No. 2, December 2007, pp. 10–23 [Also in India’s Popular Culture: Iconic Spaces and Fluid Images edited by Jyotindra Jain; Vol. 59 No. 2, December 2007; ISBN: 978-81-85026-817, pp. 46–59]

The author examines the use of painted scenic backdrops by the Surabhi Theatre Company in Cuddapah, Andhra Pradesh to create different spaces within it. She traces the genealogy of the Surabhi Theatre's stage property and settings from drop curtains to the moulded and gilded border of Haymarket arch, to the eclectic stage of Parsi theatre with backdrops and devices of perspective that created an illusion of reality. Costume and properties are drawn from a multiplicity of periods. The Surabhi stage, thus, brings together what the author terms a surplus of illusion and creates a performance that is collected from diverse eras, styles, and grammars of theatre, visuality, and architectural convention.

India’s Republic Day Parade: Restoring Identities, Constructing the Nation
Jain, Jyotindra
Vol. 59 No. 2, December 2007, pp. 24–39 [Also in India’s Popular Culture: Iconic Spaces and Fluid Images edited by Jyotindra Jain; Vol. 59 No. 2, December 2007; ISBN: 978-81-85026-817, pp. 60–75]

This essay examines the annual Republic Day Parade in New Delhi to show how the cultural mechanism of image mobilization – of symbols, icons, performances and spectacles – has been deployed by the state to gain ideological control and to strategically ensure integration of the diverse and separatist elements active in India before and after Independence. The cultural pageant, comprising tableaux and dances, was used to represent the nation’s unity in diversity. This visual identity propagated through print and electronic media, philately, tourism, and Festivals of India, became a powerful tool for imaging India’s specific cultural identity and for national integration of a culturally diverse society.

Models and Copies in Pahari Painting: New insights
Sharma, Vijay
Vol. 59 No. 2, December 2007, pp. 40-57

The author has studied a number of 18th century Pahari paintings which are copies of later Mughal paintings. Using examples, the author shows that acquaintance with Mughal paintings changed the tastes of the Pahari painters and their patrons. The author shows that not all Pahari painting developed from the Guler style alone and the stylistic changes in Pahari painting in the last quarter of the 18th century need to be studied in detail.

Discovery of a Pre-Pala Monastic Complex at Moghalmari, West Bengal
Datta, Asok
Vol. 59 No. 2, December 2007, pp. 58-65

The Department of Archaeology, University of Calcutta has been excavating at Moghalmari since 2003–04. The excavations have so far revealed the existence of a Pre-Pala (7th/8th century CE) Buddhist monastic complex with extensive stucco and lime decoration. It represents the most extensive architectural stucco/lime decorative art, unique in all of West Bengal. The discovery of the Moghalmari monastic complex is comparable to discoveries at Nalanda (Bihar), Raktamrittika (Murshidabad), and Nandadirgghika (Malda), and a significant landmark in the history of Bengal as it clearly demonstrates that in the 7th/8th century, this part of Bengal was an important seat of Buddhist religion.

Conservation Newsletter: Restoration of the Maitreya Buddha Temples, Basgo, Ladakh
Lambah, Abha Narain
Vol. 59 No. 2, December 2007, pp. 66-69

Community initiatives and grassroots conservation are redefining the way we will view architectural conservation in the next decade.

Book Feature: Bombay Mix by Ketaki Sheth
Menon, Sadanand
Vol. 59 No. 2, December 2007, pp. 70-75

An essay on Ketaki Sheth’s human landscapes and a selection of photographs from the book.

Book Reviews
Vol. 59 No. 2, December 2007, pp. 76-82

Kalamkari by Shakuntala Ramani reviewed by Monisha Ahmed, Qutb Minar by B.M. Pande reviewed by Kirit Mankodi, Gandharan Buddhism edited by Pia Brancaccio and Kurt Behrendt and Sir Richard Burton by Simon Digby reviewed by Pratapaditya Pal, Harsha Dehejia’s book on divinities reviewed by Annapurna Garimella.