Publications

The project’s outputs include several monographs, which will be added to this page as they appear.

1. Hans T. Bakker. The World of the Skandapurāṇa. Leiden: Brill, 2014.

SkandhapuranaThe World of the Skandapurāṇa explores the historical, religious and literary environment that gave rise to the composition and spread of this early Purāṇa text devoted to Śiva. It is argued that the text originated in circles of Pāśupata ascetics and laymen, probably in Benares, in the second half of the 6th and first half of the 7th centuries. The book describes the political developments in Northern India after the fall of the Gupta Empire until the successor states which arose after the death of king Harśavardhana of Kanauj in the second half of the 7th century. The work consists of two parts. In the first part the historical environment in which this Purāṇa was composed is described. The second part explores six localities in Northern India that play a prominent role in the text. It is richly illustrated and contains a detailed bibliography and index.

 

2. Akira Shimada and Michael Willis (eds), Amaravati: The Art of an Early Buddhist Monument in Context. British Museum Research Publications, 2016.

amaravati

Buddhism originated in north India and spread to other parts of the subcontinent in the third century bce. The Andhra region, located along the south-east coast of India, welcomed Buddhism. An important shrine was built there at a place called Amaravati, probably to house relics of the Buddha brought from the north. Amaravati was enlarged and embellished over several centuries from about 200 bce, transforming it into what ancient inscriptions describe as a mahācetiya or ‘great shrine’. Although one of the most important Buddhist monuments in India, Amaravati declined from the 14th century. It was re-discovered and then excavated during the 19th century. In 1880 more than 120 of the Amaravati sculptures entered the collection of the British Museum, while other pieces found their way to museums in India, Europe and America.

Subjects covered in this volume include the rediscovery of the site at the end of the 18th century as well as its recreation and reinterpretation in the 21st century. The art of Amaravati is also placed in the context of other sites and remains from the Andhra region which, despite its importance, has been relatively neglected in the study of the religious and visual cultures of South Asia.