Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes: Origin, Meaning, and Form of Multiplicity in Indian Art
One of the first things that strike the Western viewer of Indian art is the multiplicity of heads, arms and eyes. This convention grows out of imagery conceived by Vedic sages to explain creation. This book for the first time investigates into the meaning of this convention. The author concentrates on its origins in Hindu art and on preceding textual references to the phenomenon of multiplicity. The first part establishes a general definition for the convention. Examination of all Brahmanical literature up to, and sometimes beyond, the 1st - 3rd century A.D., adds more information to this basic definition. The second part applies this literary information mainly to icons of the Yaksa, ?iva, V?sudeva-K?s?a and the Goddess, and indicates how Brahmanical cultural norms, exemplified in Mathur?, can transmit textual symbols. Both Part I and Part II provide iconic modules and a "methodology to generate interpretations" for icons with this remarkable feature through the Gupta age.
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Section A Introduction
Section B Basic Deﬁnitions in the Samhitas
Transference of the Purusa Ideal into the Brahmanas
Multiplicity in the Upanisads
Section E Multiplicity in the Epics and Beyond
Section F The Prehistoric Period
Agni Agnicayana altar ancient Ardhanarisvara arms associated Atharva Veda attributes Bhita body Brahman Buddha Buitenen Caturmukha century B.C. Chapter concept cosmic creation creator Cultural D.M. Srinivasan Deﬁnition deity Delhi depicted divine early eight eightfold epic example ﬁfth ﬁgure ﬁre ﬁve ﬁvefold four four-armed Gita godís gods Gonda Government Museum Gupta heads Hindu Hinduism iconography icons identiﬁed Indian Art inﬂuence inscription Krsna Kusana period late Kusana Linga Lir'rga Liriga Maha Mahabharata Mahanarayana Upanisad Mahesa Male manifestation Mathura Mathura Museum mukha multiple bodily multiplicity convention names Narayana nature omniform Paﬁcamukha phenomenal Photograph courtesy Prajapati Prakrti pre-Kusana Purina Purusa Purusa-Prajapati relief religious represents Rig Veda ritual Rudra Rudra-Siva s'aiva sacriﬁce Sadasiva Samhitas Samkhya Satapatha Brahmana sculpture signiﬁcance Siva Sivaís Skambha Sonkh speciﬁc Svetasvatara Upanisad symbolic terracotta two-armed Upanisad Vaisnava Vasudeva Vasudeva-Krsna Vedic verse Visnu Visvarﬁpa Warrior Goddess womb worship Yajur Veda Yaksa