Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen (Editor-in-Chief), University of Bergen, and Helene Basu, University of Münster, Angelika Malinar, University of Zürich, Vasudha Narayanan, University of Florida (Associate Editors)

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism presents the latest research on all the main aspects of the Hindu traditions. Its 438 essays are original work written by the world’s foremost scholars on Hinduism. The encyclopedia presents a balanced and even-handed view of Hinduism, recognizing the divergent perspectives and methods in the academic study of a religion that has ancient historical roots with many flourishing traditions today. Including all essays from the heralded printed edition, Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism is now to be regularly updated with new articles and available in a fully searchable, dynamic digital format.


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Iconography and Images (Murtī)

(25 words)

Author(s): Colas, Crispin Branfoot and Gautama Vajracharya, Gérard
Iconography and Images (Murtī): Ancient Concepts Iconography and Images (Murtī): Art Iconography and Images (Murtī): A Methodology Gérard Colas, Crispin Branfoot and Gautama Vajracharya
Date: 2019-01-30

Iconography and Images (Murtī): A Methodology

(7,293 words)

Author(s): Vajracharya, Gautama
Hindu iconography and art, as a part of a bigger picture of the artistic expressions of ancient India, can be understood properly only if we pay attention to the fact that they are closely associated with the typical ecological system of the subcontinent (see Vajracharya, forthcoming ). In order to justify this assertion, I will explain this new methodological approach, then analyze the visual representations of some vedic divinities whose attributes dramatically changed after the Aryans settled in their new homeland, thus giving birth to Hindu iconography of the classical period. A …
Date: 2019-01-30

Iconography and Images (Murtī): Ancient Concepts

(5,053 words)

Author(s): Colas, Gérard
This article will briefly examine some concepts of material religious image in ancient India, that is to say, from vedic times (probably c. 12th–8th cents. BCE) to 12th century CE. It will not deal with abstract images that are meditated upon in spiritual practices or with the aesthetic of image or art history. The earliest historical testimonies of material religious images in the subcontinent go back to the 2nd century BCE, after which it gradually became an omnipresent phenomenon. Yet, no Ind…
Date: 2019-01-30

Iconography and Images (Murtī): Art

(8,308 words)

Author(s): Branfoot, Crispin
Modern Hinduism is a very visual culture, populated by brightly colored and ornamented images of gods, goddesses, and divine beings, some with multiple arms and heads, and dramatic expressions (see fig. 1). These images have been made for the past two thousand years and are one of the principle means for the transmission of the Hindu tradition to its practitioners. An understanding of iconography – the study of the subjects and themes of images (as well as architecture) – is essential for the interpretation of this vibrant, visual world of Hinduism over the past two millennia.At its most …
Date: 2019-01-30