Book cover Abundance and Fertility
Table of Contents, Reviews

Abundance and Fertility

Representations Associated with Child Protection in the Visual Culture of Ancient India

Pages: 514 Book format: 15x23 cm Publish date: 06.09.2023

Book description

This work is a fascinating attempt to probe deep into the socio-cultural ramifications of the visual artefacts of ancient India, which has a rich heritage of iconographic treasures of varying sizes and styles. The art objects selected for analysis are mainly from the Mathura region of the Kushan era and belong to a period between 50–60 and 300 of the Common Era. This period is perceived as that of ‘multicultural environment’ enriched with different streams of tradition.    According to the author they are directly related to the themes of abundance and fertility, its perceived cause.  The author demonstrates how these distant fragments of visual imagery can yield rich insights of the world view of the communities which produced them. The work critically analyses the representation of ‘spiritual deities’ consisting of Ekanamsha, Hariti, Matrikas, Naigamesha, Shashthi and Skanda who were associated with the function of child protection. Understandably, they were the products of a belief in supernatural powers which could offer psychological protection to women cutting across different socio-economic classes at the times of great psychological stress like pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium. The artefacts are carved in stone. Sometimes they are projected as isolated individuals and at other times as belonging to multi-character panels. Depending on their size, they had different functions: bigger objects could be fixed at some places and smaller ones carried from place to place.
Excerpt from the review of Dr. C. Rajendran

Abour author

Dr Agnieszka Sylwia Staszczyk is a graduate of Indian Philology and Art History at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. She completed her doctoral studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. Currently, she works in a research and teaching position at the Jagiellonian University. She conducts language classes, subjects presenting cultural phenomena of the Indian subcontinent, mainly in the field of visual culture. She is also a trainer of cross-cultural competences and conducts workshops preparing for work in multicultural environment. The author’s research interests include socio-cultural and religious aspects of artistic patronage, resulting in founding sanctuaries or images of deities, as well as beliefs and stories related to them. She conducted projects in this area and published numerous articles and books presenting their results. She participated in field trips, scholarships as well as in international conferences and workshops. She is a member of several organisations associating researchers of Asian art, e.g. European Association for South Asian Archeology and Art.

About series

The Vastness of Culture” is a series of publications presenting cultural studies and emphasizing the role of comparative research and analyses that reveal similarities, differences and intercultural influences. In our publications, cultures and civilizations are in a state of constant flux, engaging in dialogue, creating new understandings, competing for meaning under the influence of global content,  without any clear boundaries, but with a vastness that forces questions to be raised.
Language English
Edition first
Cover design Marta Jaszczuk
ISBN: 978-83-233-5252-5
e-ISBN (pdf): 978-83-233-7447-3
e-ISBN (mobi,epub): 978-83-233-7448-0

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