Wall Paintings of Banaras: Treasures from Mahamaya Temple

Wall Paintings of Banaras: Treasures from Mahamaya Temple

Kamal Giri
1422 1800 (21% off)
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Since remote past the temples of Banaras represent the synthesis of varied cultural streams. As far as wall paintings are concerned, the city was an acclaimed centre, the tradition of which continues till today on different occasions to beautify the temples, mathas, akhadas, and residential buildings. These paintings may be divided between religious and social or secular groups. The Mahamaya temple is unique for its architecture as well as paintings inside the garbhagrha. The subjects of the paintings are narratives, divine figures, lokapalas, saints and rsis, valour of devis, day to day life of local people, nature etc. showing regional influence. The paintings enhance our understanding of the 18th and 19th century wall paintings of Banaras with various styles like Rajasthani, late Mughal and Company including Banaras painting style with folk impressions. For the study of Sakti cult and other divinities, the aesthetic appeal of the figures and stylistic confluence of Rajasthani, late Mughal, Company, Nepali and folk style from Banaras, the temple is unique. However, the Rajasthani style dominates with the blend of other styles. The paintings in Mahamaya temple are basically based on Devi Bhagvata Purana. The murals represent an elaborately organized pictorial programme that finds no counterpart in the paintings preserved elsewhere in the city. The paintings are in square or circular shape panels, captioned as deodhis of different metals like gold, silver, iron, bronze, copper, lead, pancadhatu and of precious stones like Pusparagamani, Gomedaka, Diamond, Vaiduryamani, Indranila, Moti, Mahamarakatamani, Pravala and Navaratna. The lokapalas, with vahanas and iconographical details are given adequate place in the paintings. Besides Mahakali and Durga, saints and male-female devotees have an important place. In miscellaneous scenes upasakas, music, gardening, cooking etc. are depicted. Contents: Preface Gratitude List of Illustrations 1. Wall Painting of Banaras: An Overview Political condition, development of polychrome culture, role of Maharajas of Kasi-rajya, continuation of the painting till today, 18th century miniature paintings, reason of the decay of wall paintings, category of paintings in Banaras, important temples for wall paintings, subjects of the paintings, representation of different states in the temples of Banaras. 2. Mahamaya Temple History of temple, form and architecture of temple, Kali images in the grabhagrha, Sakti temples in Banaras and its adjoining areas. 3. Paintings of Mahamaya Temple Subjects of paintings, styles in the paintings, reason of confluence of style, Devi Bhagavata Purana and Mahamaya paintings, description of Manidvipa, metal deodhis and their swamis – rtus – Vasanta, Grisma, Varsa, Sarada, Hemanta, Sisira. 4. Precious Stone Deodhi or Sala Pusparagamani Sala, Padmaragamani Sala, Gomedaka Sala, Vajra Sala, Vaidurya Sala, Indranila Sala, Moti Sala, Pravala Sala, Navaratna Sala. 5. Cintamanigrha and Mandapas Cintamanigrha, Srngara Mandapa, Mukti Mandapa, Jnana Mandapa, Ekanta Mandapa. 6. Lokapala Indra, Agni, Yama, Nrtti, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera, Isana. 7. Mahakali and Durga Mahakali and Devaganas, Durga facing Devaganas, Durga killing demon Raktabija, Durga killing Mahisasura. 8. Independent Scenes Goddess surrounded by deities, saints and male-female devotees, Bhagavati upasaka, Bhagavati salokvasi, saints and rsis – Vedavyas and Narada, Saunakadik and Sutapauranika, Sesasayi, Garuda, daily life, nature. 9. Conclusion About the Author: Prof. Kamal Giri, at present Hon. Director, Jnana Pravaha: Centre for Cultural Studies and Research, Varanasi, has completed her education from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (BHU). She is M.A. in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology and History of Art and completed her Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. A.K. Narain, a reputed scholar in the field of Numismatics. Dr. Giri taught in the Dept. of History of Art, Banaras Hindu University for more than three decades. Prof. Giri has published more than 100 research papers and several books on different aspects of Indian art and culture and has presented papers in seminars and conferences in India and abroad. Her publication entitled Madhyakalina Bharatiya Murtikala (in joint authorship), was presented to President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. She has co-edited several prestigious publications like Chhavi: Rai Krishnadas Felicitation Volume (1981), Khajuraho in Perspective (1994), KALA: Journal of Indian Art History Congress (1995-2006), Treasures of Indian Art: Suresh Neotia Collection (2006), Kasi ki Ramalila (2012) and is at present editing Jnana-Pravaha Research Journal. She has been recipient of several fellowships including that of UGC, ICHR and Nehru Trust for Victoria and Albert Museum, London for research projects like ‘Ramakatha in Indian and Indonesian Sculptures’ and ‘Terracotta and Painting in Kasi’. She has been the convener of the UGC Panel —History of Art and Fine Arts and Nodal Person, Curriculum Development Committee at University Grants Commission, New Delhi. In connection with academic purposes, she has visited Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and few other countries.