The book is an exploration of ancient Indian art from the perspective of gender. It focuses on the period from 181 BCE to CE 320 — a period of great turmoil in the politico-economic, socio-cultural and religious spheres that gave rise to contesting ideologies and gender complexities in ancient India. It delves into the development of engendered representation in art, with the emergence of aesthetic and sexual archetypes and stereotypes of women: goddesses, mothers, wives, nuns, semi-divine yaksis, ogresses and others. It examines the nature of the stereotypes and archetypes that were constructed on the basis of gender roles rather than on sex and how these were reflected by various attributes of the representations — nudity or its absence, ornamentation, gestures, direction of gaze and context. It gives interesting insights into the intention, agency and patronage patterns in early Indian art.
The volume with its scholarly approach, providing fresh insights into early Indian art, will prove useful to scholars, students and researchers of Indian art and history alongwith the cognoscenti.