Book on shades of Odisha

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  • Published 10.04.13

Bhubaneswar, April 9: A panoramic view of the state’s culture and heritage is now assimilated into a book — Imaging Odisha.

Over 60 research scholars of various backgrounds, who have seen the various shades of Odisha and spent years documenting them, have put in their labour to bring out the book.

Right from its cover, Imaging Odisha brings out the artistic excellence of ancient Odisha. Inside, it includes 65 articles by art historians, archaeologists, Indologists and scholars from different backgrounds.

“We have 27 articles by non-Indian scholars and Indologists from Japan, Germany and many other countries. The best part is that all of them have not only contributed interesting articles, but also helped us collect rare photographs and paintings of ancient and contemporary times that depict the exquisite heritage of Odisha,” said Prasanna Das, a member of the Prafulla Pathagara, one of the brains behind the project.

The Prafulla Pathagara in Jagatsinghpur is a unique rural library and has published the two volumes of the book.

The volumes depicting the history, religion, culture, art, architecture, visual and performing arts show Odisha from the period of rock art till 1980s.

There are a number of illustrations in form of paintings and photographs that keep the reader engrossed. One finds a rare painting from the collection of a London-based museum portraying a British painter’s view of rath yatra in the 18th century and it shows a British couple mounted on an elephant to view the proceedings.

There are also a number of sculptures and temple artworks that bring out Odisha’s maritime history and cultural vivacity.

“The book involves teamwork at a different level. We have included illustrations collected from British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and many other museums from all over the world. This has made the work lively and not a boring scholarly book. It projects Odisha’s culture visually and combines the virtues of both a coffee-table book as well as a research compilation,” said Jatin Nayak of research organisation Siksha Sandhan, one of the members of the editorial board of the book.

Noted Indologist Hermann Kulke is the chief editor of this project. An editorial board consisting of professor Gaganendra Nath Dash, well-known art historian Dinanath Pathy and historian Nivedita Mohanty have assisted Kulke.

Lalatendu Mohapatra of National Archives of India, archaeologists Bijay Rath and Sadashib Pradhan have also written articles for the book of which Odisha tourism has decided to buy 500 copies.

“The book was conceived five years ago and apart from huge co-ordination among the scholars settled in all parts of the globe, purchasing copyrights for illustrations and giving it an appealing look cost around Rs 30 lakh,” said Das.

The book is believed to depict the strong cultural background and heritage of Odisha outside the state through its comprehensive structure. It was launched in Delhi last month and will be unveiled at the Idcol auditorium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday evening.