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SPLENDOUR IN STONE AND BRONZE

ART FROM THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT (Mapin, Rs 2,500) by Pratapaditya Pal is the first volume in a series of three, cataloguing the south Asian art collection at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. This sumptuous volume spans two millennia (2nd century BC to the 19th century) and represents three religions — Hinduism, Budhhism and Jainism. Although one wonders how these ravishing pieces, particularly the collection of Chola bronzes, ended up in Pasadena, Pal’s cataloguing is thorough, illuminating and entertaining. “She appears remarkably buoyant despite the ponderous masses and volumes of her buttocks and bosom,” he notes about this 11th-century sandstone Celestial Dancer from Uttar Pradesh (right). On the left is a 10th-century bronze from Tamil Nadu, depicting Shiva with Uma and their son, Skanda or Murugan. Dance and yoga are beautifully fused in the deportment of this divine family.

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