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Volume 60 Number 2, December 2008

Volume 60 Number 2

Port Cities

Editorial

The Mughal Port Cities of Surat and Hugli
Farhat Hasan

Mapping the Landscape of Pondicherry in the 17th Century
S. Jeyaseela Stephen

Of Merchants, Monarchs, and Monks: An 18th-century Patolu Re-examined
Shilpa Shah

The Toddler Saint of Tamil Nadu
Pratapaditya Pal

Dancing in the Dark: Robert Heinecken’s Manifestations of Shiva
Colin Westerbeck

Exhibition Reviews
A Man of the People: the Artist Ramkinkar Baij, by Naman Ahuja – Partha Mitter
Jagat Singh’s Ramayana – Neeraja Poddar

Newsletters

Book Reviews

Editorial
Pal, Pratapaditya and Poddar, Rashmi
Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008, pp. 8-11

General Editor Pratapaditya Pal extends sympathies to everyone affected by the 26/11 attacks. Associate editor Rashmi Poddar travels through China, post the Beijing Olympics.

The Mughal Port Cities of Surat and Hugli
Hasan, Farhat
Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008, pp. 12-27 [Also Ports, Towns, Cities: A Historical Tour of the Indian Littoral edited by Lakshmi Subramanian; Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008; ISBN: 978-81-85026-89-3, pp. 78-93]

With the establishment of the Mughal empire in India, there was a qualitative expansion in commerce. The Indian Ocean trading network, extending from the Far East to West Asia, expanded in variety, density, and traffic in the 16th century, and during the same period European Companies established trading settlements in Asia, bringing greater variety and robustness to the trade. Overseas trade and commerce in the Mughal period led to the proliferation of urban centres, which was reflected in the existence of several prosperous port towns in Mughal India, primarily Surat and Hugli. However, with the decline of the Mughal empire, and the ascension of British imperial power, the processes of urbanization aided the development of Calcutta as the emergent centre on the East coast.

Mapping the Landscape of Pondicherry in the 17th Century
Stephen, Jeyaseela S.
Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008, pp. 28-43 [Also Ports, Towns, Cities: A Historical Tour of the Indian Littoral edited by Lakshmi Subramanian; Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008; ISBN: 978-81-85026-89-3, pp. 94-109]

The foundation for Pondicherry was laid when Francois Martin, the agent of the French East India Company received a land grant to establish a trading factory at Puthucherry from a small Danish factory building close to the seashore, in a village administered by a havildar, Puthucherry rose to become a manufacturing and trading centre, and then a major fortified settlement that was finally taken over by Dutch troops, who planned a new town, while retaining the French fort area.
The author has studied archival maps and illustrated the growth of this settlement from 1673 to the beginning of the 18th century. Pondicherry today retains the synthesis of these two major elements.

Of Merchants, Monarchs, and Monks: An 18th-century Patolu Re-examined
Shah, Shilpa
Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008, pp. 44-51

This essay attempts to unravel the link between a rare red silk double-ikat 18th century Patolu made in Patan, Gujarat, now preserved and treasured as sacred in Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. The theme is a royal procession held to celebrate the completion of Acharya Hemchandra’s Siddhahema Shabdanushasana by king Siddharaja. The parade was also intended to honour king Kumarapala, his patron. This magnificent textile illustrates the event in the typical grammar of 18th-century patola.

The Toddler Saint of Tamil Nadu
Pal, Pratapaditya
Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008, pp. 52-61

Of the 63 saints known as nayanmar by the Tamils of south India, one of the most remarkable is Sambandar. This 7th century saint died at the early age of 16, hence he is always represented in art as a toddler. Legend says that he was once nursed by the goddess Parvati herself. Sambandar lived close to the famous Chidambaram shrine, and worshipped Shiva in the Ardhanarishvar form, enunciating the unity of the Purusha and Prakriti (Man and Nature) concept. This article also examines the two ways in which Sambandar is depicted: Standing gracefully or dancing ecstatically. Several Chola bronze images of Sambandar are illustrated, and a comparison is made with similar images of the dancing Krishna.

Dancing in the Dark: Robert Heinecken’s "Manifestations of Shiva"
Westerbeck, Colin
Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008, pp. 62-65

Robert Heinecken was influenced by Stella Kramrisch’s catalogue Manifestations of Shiva which was the starting point for his own works of the same name from 1989 to 1992. A photographer and teacher, Heinecken’s method of recycling images from mass media can best be termed Post-Modernist. His works reveal a penchant for satire, intended to amuse, disturb, and even shock, directed at American culture, a culture that consumes everything it touches, and then throws it away. He was impressed with the honest approach to physical love in tantric Hinduism.

Exhibition Review: A Man of the People: The Artist Ramkinkar Baij
Mitter, Partha
Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008, pp. 66-68

Ramkinkar through the Eyes of Devi Prasad, curated by Naman P. Ahuja. Exhibition reviewed by Partha Mitter.

Exhibition Review: Jagat Singh's Ramayana
Poddar, Neeraja
Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008, pp. 69-72

The Ramayana: Love and Valour in India’s Great Epic. Exhibition reviewed by Neeraja Poddar.

Newsletters: From Kolkata
Basu, Rituparna
Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008, pp. 73-75

Rituparna Bose visits the Rabindranath Tagore Centre, a new venue on Kolkata's art scene, and reviews an exhibition of paintings by contemporary Afghani women painters.

Newsletters: Conservation Newsletter
Lambah, Abha Narain
Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008, pp. 76-78

Abha Narain Lambah traces the journey of Hampi from World Heritage Site to the Danger List and back.

Book Reviews
Vol. 60 No. 2, December 2008, pp. 79-83

The Archaeology of the Mons of Dvaravati by Pierre Dupont. Translated with Updates, Additional Figures and Plans by Joyanto K. Sen, reviewed by Hiram Woodward; Bhuj: Art / Architecture / History by Azhar Tyabji, reviewed by Kaiwan Mehta.