Responsable: Dominic Goodall

École française d'Extrême-Orient
16-19 rue Dumas
605 001 Pondicherry, India

Tel: +91 413 233 45 39
Fax: +91 413 233 08 86 goodalldominic@gmail.com

Lecture by Fanny Dutillieux on Sculptures of Himachal Pradesh
Sculptures of Himachal Pradesh between the 7th and the 14th centuries.

The administrative state of Himachal Pradesh covers the vast area known as the Western Himalayas. This mountainous terrain was, as far as we know, divided into many chiefly states and kingdoms that ruled over the valleys and fought to control the passes. The numerous temples of this area can be divided in two principal categories, the "classical" stone temples and the so-called "folk" wooden temples, each of them having their own type of sculptures. But to these should be added temples with metal images and idols. The study of this abundant corpus reveals the influences of the neighbouring regions of Kashmir, Tibet, Gandhara and the Gangetic plain. The first sculptures to appear in the Chamba valley, in the western part of Himachal, display a marked resemblance to Gupta and Kashmirian ones, but also possess unique stylistic and iconographic features that would, in turn, influence the following sculptors of other valleys of the region. They reflect a good knowledge of the Sanskritic cosmos of the Gangetic valley and the probable desire of the various persons engaged with the production or the consecration of images to conform to the canons of this cosmos. Other sculptures discovered in the rest of Himachal from the seventh and eighth centuries somewhat confirm this theory. In the numerous temples constructed in the region during the following centuries (9th - 11th), a period which also sees the excavation of the big monolithic complex of Masrur, we note a return to local particularisms in many cases. The third part of this study focusses on the so-called village temples or folk sculptures. The strong and unifying political powers that had probably permitted the efflorescence of arts during the previous centuries seem to crumble and cause each valley to turn inwards.
In this lecture I will try to briefly present the corpus following the three above-mentioned phases and the various problems that have appeared while studying it.

EFEO Centre of Pondicherry, On Friday 10th of December 2010, at 4.30 p.m.