The Art of Gujarat Patronized by the Jains and its History

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Abstract:

Sarabhai Manilal Nawab’s writings in the Gujarati language shed considerable light on the medieval and early modern arts patronized by the prosperous Jain community of the Gujarat region of Western India to which he belonged. This essay, The Art of Gujarat Patronized by the Jains and its History, originally appeared in a sumptuous book edited and published by Nawab. In it the author first proffers several passages from the corpus of ancient Jain scriptures that mention the arts; read together, they present art as a tool that provokes delight and desire. Thereafter, by melding the visual evidence with the inscriptional record, Nawab constructs a chronology of Western Indian painting from the twelfth to the early twentieth century. These paintings were made on palm-leaf strips, rolls of cloth, paper, and wooden boards. In his section he wrestles with the views of contemporary clerics and scholars and he situates masterpieces such as the Freer Vasanta Vilāsa scroll as well as lesser known illustrated manuscripts in private collections, temple libraries and museums within their political and socio-cultural milieu. Also documented are shifts in the production, circulation, and consumption of the above-mentioned works. Finally, Nawab lists shrines and dwellings in the towns of Gujarat where he has found examples of late medieval woodcarving and statuary.
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  • The first journal publishing original English-language translations of seminal works presently only available in their source language. Essential reading for everyone in the international academic community concerned with visual arts, architecture and design.

    Global in scope and extensively illustrated, this unique and innovative new e-journal demonstrates the vitality of art historical and visual culture scholarship undertaken outside English-speaking territories and cultures. Offering high quality English language translations of seminal works presently available only in their source language, Art in Translation offers a fresh perspective on global art practices, history and theory. It covers all areas of the visual arts including painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, design, and electronic media.

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