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FREE BOOK: India: Art and Culture, 1300–1900 by Stuart Cary Welch (1985). The Metropolitan Museum of Art has put this beautiful book online for free. Here is the summary of the book at their website: This volume, which is divided into five sections, opens with the bronze sculptures, ritual objects, and temple hangings of the classical Hindu tradition of the south. The vivid and lively art of rural India, which provides an aesthetic continuum that extends throughout these six centuries, is presented in the second section, Tribe and Village. This is followed by the highly refined and sophisticated art of the Muslim courts, which reached its greatest flowering in the exquisite illustrated manuscripts executed under the patronage of the Mughal emperors. In addition, the imperial ateliers of the Mughals produced works of technical brilliance in a wide array of decorative arts. Political alliances between the Mughals and the Hindu nobility in the north led to a fusion of Islamic and Hindu traditions that is explored in the bold, vigorous miniatures and dazzling weaponry of the Rajput world. And the art of the nineteenth century, produced under the Raj as Indian artists began to assimilate Western perspectives, is documented in the last section, the British Period.
Here is a beautiful Rasamandala, Krishna's Cosmic Dance (late 18th century, Jaipur: item 261):
WALTERS ART MUSEUM. I was amazed by the beautiful presentation of images at the Walters Art Museum, and the notes provided for the images are excellent. Here, for example, is an early 19th-century painting showing episodes from the Krishna legends; the detail shows the horse-demon Keshi (read that story at Wikipedia):
WILLIAM DALRYMPLE. All Indian life is here by William Dalrymple (The Guardian). I am sure people in this class would enjoy this essay by the wonderful writer William Dalrymple, one of the best writers on India today: The British Library's Ramayana miniatures - masterpieces of Hindu art, many painted by Muslims - are testimony to a time when religious relations on the subcontinent were less fraught, writes William Dalrymple.
You may already be familiar with the illustration that accompanies the article: Awakening Kumbhakarna.