The Unfinished: Stone Carvers at Work on the Indian Subcontinent

About the Author

Vidya Dehejia holds the Barbara Stoler Miller Chair in Indian and South Asian Art at Columbia University. She was chief curator and deputy director, as well as acting director, of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC. She is an established scholar whose publications have explored a range of topics, from ancient Buddhist art to the esoteric temples of North India, and from the sacred bronzes of the South to the art of British India.

The Unfinished: Stone Carvers at Work on the Indian Subcontinent

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Vidya Dehejia and Peter Rockwell

The sheer number of unfinished stone monuments in India is staggering. Examples appear at some of India's most famous and well-studied sites, which include rock-cut Ellora, Ajanta, and Mamallapuram. Unfinished work also appears on built temples celebrated for the intricacy of their sculpted decoration, such as those in Hoysala kingdom or in Orissa. This detailed study provides an overall coverage of India's unfinished work while addressing a range of issues related to stone carving by examining a select number of monuments at specific sites. Instead of focusing on a site in its entirety, the study here focuses on specific issues of consequence in the context of unfinished work, as they gain an added weight and significance through discovery of their repetitive occurrence at site after site.

At the heart of this book are the many varieties of unfinished stone carving that require close observation to see what is there and what is not, and to appreciate that all the finished work has been through these various stages of being unfinished before reaching completion.

  • Hardcover
  • 274 pages
  • Published: 2016


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