'Tree Serpent' Book traces emergence of Buddhist art in southern India

New Delhi, Jul 16 (PTI) MET curator John Guy's upcoming book, "Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India", traces the emergence of rare Buddhist art from southern India.
    The book, published by Mapin in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York, described as a pioneering study of the emergence of Buddhist art in southern India, featuring vibrant photography of rare works -- with many published for the first time.
    Unlike traditional narratives, which focus on northern India (where the Buddha was born, taught, and died), this ground-breaking book presents Buddhist art from monastic sites in the south.
    For instance, it is the first publication to foreground devotional works produced in the Deccan from 200 BCE to 400 CE.
    "To better understand the processes by which the Buddhist faith and culture were disseminated, the focus is shifted away from the heartland of Buddhism, the greater Magadha region of northern India where the Buddha was born, taught, and died, to the territories of the Daksinapatha, the regions of the south, and the roads that led there.
    "The southern region, the Deccan, was home to some of the greatest early monasteries of Buddhist India. Today, we turn to Bharhut, Sanchi, and Amaravati when we seek to understand the majesty of this architecture and its adornment," said Guy, curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in a statement.
    With its exploration of Buddhism's emergence in southern India, as well as of India's deep commercial and cultural engagement with the Hellenised and Roman worlds, this definitive study aims to expand readers' understanding of the origins of Buddhist art itself.
    The book, scheduled to be released on Monday, will also witness an exhibition at the MET. It will feature over 125 objects, including a series of spectacular sculptural masterpieces from southern India on public display for the first time along with newly discovered works of art from ancient monastic sites in the Deccan.
    According to the publishers, the art book represents a significant step in advancing scholarship of Buddhist art from monastic sites in the south.
    "It is not merely an art book but it also brings home Buddha’s message of environmental awareness and care of the planet for the contemporary world. I am especially pleased with Mapin’s ongoing collaboration with The MET museum with this definitive study of the origins of Buddhist art," added Bipin Shah, publisher and MD of Mapin Publishing.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)