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The Origin Of Portraiture And The Representation Of Heroes

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Chapter Summary

On the one hand, that portraiture was not only an ubiquitous but also an ancient practice in early India and, on the other hand, that there are a lot of common features between portraits and a more religious and divine iconography. This chapter examines more closely these issues, this time in an historical, that is to say chronological, perspective. During two years, from Calcutta to London, this article gave rise to passionate debate, with some scholars following enthusiastically Jayaswal's proposal. Although it is not clearly stated anywhere, it appears in retrospect that Jayaswal's proposal was strongly against the dominant position on Indian art and that this historical, not to say historicist, interpretation on the beginnings of anthropomorphic representation faced many prejudices. It is found that almost the same story told in 629 by another famous Chinese pilgrim, Xuanzang.

Keywords: Calcutta; iconography; Jayaswal's proposal; London; portraiture; representation; Xuanzang



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