Stones and Images

Stones et images

Religious Representations

Continuing the line of research developed in the preceding four-year period, this programme, headed by Charlotte Schmid, will focus on corpuses of religious representations taking into account, amongst other things, available texts (in Sanskrit and Tamil), and inscriptions, the archaeological character of which will be emphasised. The programme is articulated around two major axes: iconographic ruptures in ancient India and the corpus of village temples from the Chola period (9th-13th centuries), two areas of research characterised by the recurrent appearance of the figure of Krishna and the relationship between local culture and royal power.

Within the EFEO, cooperation with Indian scholars working at the Pondicherry Centre, particularly the Tamil-speakers G. Vijayavenugopal, R. Varadadesikan and T.V. Gangadharan, is indispensible. The contributions of art historian Valérie Gillet and the close collaboration of philologists Dominic Goodall and Eva Wilden are, as ever, extremely valuable.

Iconographic Ruptures

The Appearance of Figures Representing Gods in Northern India: Krishna
A study of the appearance of images of the god Krishna. The iconographic rupture which took place in the Gupta era (4th-6th century) reveals the original complexity of relationships with the god Vishnu. The manuscript of a work on the beginnings of the Krishnaite cults in northern India, the first draft of which is complete, is to be delivered in 2007 for publication in 2008-2009.

The Appearance of Figures Representing Gods in Southern India: Pallava Iconography
The aim of the project is to produce a book - co-written by Valérie Gillet, Emmanuel Francis (graduate student at Louvain-le-Neuve University) and Charlotte Schmid - on the main temple of the Pallava dynasty -9th-10th century): the Kailasanatha at Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu). The temple, with its exceptional examples of royal art, displaying a combination of epigraphy, iconography and visual inventiveness, was the first site in which representations of divinities appeared. The style of those representations was to become highly influential not only in Tamil Nadu but throughout Southern India and even in certain Indianised regions. In spite of this, the temple has never been the object of a monographic publication. The project continues the tradition of the EFEO's archaeological memoirs (see the works of Jacques Dumarçay, Françoise L'Hernault and Pierre Pichard).
Preparatory work on the project is well underway and the task of collecting the necessary source data is almost complete. Work on the structure of the book, which is yet to be written, still has to be done. Source materials for the CD-ROM accompanying the book, which could include documents held in the EFEO Centre and the IFP's photo library, also need to be referenced by an IT database specialist.
The manuscript should be ready by late 2009 or early 2010 (it would be preferable for an Indian publisher to publish an English-language translation distributed solely in India). A posting of one or two years may be necessary in the final phase of the elaboration of the work.

 

With the logistical and scientific help of N. Ramaswamy (chauffeur-assistant) and G. Ravindran (photographer) both of whom are posted at Pondicherry, Charlotte Schmid has been able to compile an outstanding corpus of previously unpublished representations of female divinities from the Tamil-speaking region which shed light on adaptations of northern Indian concepts to the southern context in the Pallava period. The project is set to be published in book form in 2010 (leaving time to complete work on the corpus which has already been collected); the collaboration with Valérie Gillet may make it possible to publish a number of photographic images online in either 2009 and 2010 (see D.3.3, Epigraphic Photo Library).

Village Temples in the Chola Period

A large corpus of artefacts from village temples from the Chola period, including narrative friezes mirrored in different versions in narrative literature, has provided ideal subject matter for monographic studies - on, for example - unpublished epigraphic corpuses. New avenues of research have been opened: local incarnations of centralised power, the tradition of royal eulogies, networks of donators, sectarian rivalries, the birth of the cult of saints in Tamil Nadu and the problem of linking elements of the corpus of devotional hymns as it is known to us today to specific temples. The research will be organised and, eventually, published as follows:

Monographic Studies: Iconography and Epigraphy of the Temples of Puncai, Tirucennampunti, Tirumangalam and Kumbakonam.
Late 2008, online publication of the epigraphic corpus of the temple at Puncai (texts, translations and photos); late 2008-early 2009, publication of an article on the epigraphy and iconography of the Puncai temple. The texts and photos of this corpus are ready as is a first draft of the article; the translations need to be checked, the article completed, and the IT system implemented.
Late 2009-early 2010, the publication, using the same methodology, of the corpus of the temple at Tirucennampunti. The texts and photos of the inscriptions (a smaller corpus) are also ready; the article to be published in a journal will focus on the definition of so-called Chola art and local cultures, emphasising the supposed role of the Chola dynasties in this type of temple (a subject addressed in an EPHE seminar in 2006-2007).
Epigraphic corpuses are being collected and revised with a view to publishing further articles on the temples at Tirumangalam and Nageshvara at Kumbakonam. At least one of these articles could be published in 2011.
The section of the programme dealing with iconography (which has already been addressed in a number of articles) concerns the status of narrative. This section is the object of a joint-project involving our colleagues Mariekke Klokke and Ellen Raven of the University of Leiden in the framework of a Master's degree on narrative in Indian and in Indianised countries (conferences, cycles of intensive courses, etc.).
Organised on a regular basis, between one and three annual missions, each lasting between one and two months, will be sufficient within the context of this programme. Scholarly assistance from the Pondicherry Centre via the collaboration of G. Vijayavenugopal, as well as logistical assistance, (a car, chauffeur-assistants, photolab) will also be required.

Chola Village temples and the Establishment of the Tevaram Corpus
Carried out in collaboration with Jean-Luc Chevillard (CNRS, editor of the Tevaram CD co-published by the EFEO and the IFP in 2006) and Leslie Orr (Concordia University, Montreal; author of the preface to G. Vijayavenugopal's Pondicherry Inscriptions co-published by the EFEO and the IFP in 2006), the project focuses an reevaluating the balance between legend and historical reality in the establishment of the Tevaram corpus, the corpus of Saiva devotional hymns in Tamil (particularly the geographical origins of specific hymns), and the birth of the cult of Saiva saints in the Tamil-speaking region. The project, which could give rise to an article by various authors, will be the subject of a series of conferences.

The Iconography of Krishna in Chola Village Temples: Northern Tradition and Tamil Devotional Practices
The EFEO is working with André Couture (Laval University, Quebec) on a project to establish a Krishnaite iconography specific to southern India. Couture will be evaluating the influence of the Harivamsha, a Sanskrit text written in northern India between the second and fourth centuries CE. A comparison between northern Indian and Sanskrit texts and the southern tradition, examples of which are to be found in Chola village temples, as well as with Vishnuist devotional hymns studied in collaboration with R. Varada Desikan of the Pondicherry Centre, has made it possible to reappraise the role played by southern India in the evolution of the Pan-Indian figure of the god Krishna. Charlotte Schmid has written the first draft of an article on the apparition and evolution of Krishna as a musician-divinity (approximately sixty pages); the translations of the Tamil hymns on which the article is partially based need to be checked and work needs to be done on ensuring that the corpus of representations used is large enough. The article is set for publication in 2009.

EFEO News
New publication

The fourth volume of the Epigraphy and Oral Sources of Peking Temple - A Social History of an Empire Capital programme carried out by the EFEO with the support of the École Pratique des Hautes Études and Peking Normal University is published.

Marianne Bujard (吕敏), éd., Ju Xi, Guan Xiaojing 關笑晶, Wang Minqing 王敏慶, Lei Yang 雷陽, Beijing neicheng simiao beike zhi 北京内城寺廟碑刻志 (Temples et stèles de Pékin), vol. 4, 2 t., 916 p., Péking, Guojia tushuguan 國家圖書館出版社 (National Library), 2017. READ MORE
International symposium ''Calendriers d’Europe et d’Asie''
Paris, France,

On Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th October 2017, the International symposium "Calendrier d'Europe et d'Asie" is organized by Alain Arrault (EFEO), Olivier Guyotjeannin (ENC) and Perrine Mane (CRH)

École nationale des chartes, 65 rue de richelieu, Paris 2e - salle Léopold-Delisle

Programme
Paris EFEO Seminar
Paris, France,

On Thursday 5th October Chen Hsi-yuan (Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica) is speaking on "The many faces of the prison god in late Imperial China".

4 to 6 p.m (Free admission)
Maison de l'Asie, First floor salon, 22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris
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EFEO Library
Paris, France,

You can now follow the EFEO library on Facebook @BibliothequeEFEO
Monday 11th September conference ''Kaesong, une belle endormie''
Paris, France,

On monday 11th September, in the framework of the EFEO program Histoire et archéologie du site de Kaesong, RPDC Elisabeth Chabanol organizes the conference "Kaesong, a Sleeping Beauty: heritage and heritage of a historic capital of Korea"

From 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Maison de l'Asie, Grand Salon, 1st floor, 22 avenue du Président Wilson 75116 Paris