Description

The Antiquity of Nepalese Wood Carving

Mary Slusser and Paul Jett

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  • Published: 2010
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / South Asia; Art History / Asian Art
  • Bibliographic information: 325 pp., 201 illus., 113 in color, 8.50 x 12 in.
  • Published with: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
  • Contents

Mary Slusser's work on the history of the art and culture of Nepal is marked by a series of discoveries and critical reassessments that have advanced our comprehension of this extraordinarily rich culture and art in a revolutionary way. In The Antiquity of Nepalese Wood Carving, Dr. Slusser drastically revises our perception of the marvelous wooden sculpture of the Kathmandu Valley.

Previously considered to be no earlier than the thirteenth century, the earliest of these wooden masterpieces have now been clearly demonstrated to date from the sixth or seventh century, the time of the Licchavis, lords of Nepal from about 300 to 850. Slusser has used an important scientific tool, radiocarbon dating, to help realign - and correct - our overly conservative accepted perceptions of the antiquity of Nepalese wood sculpture. The book is bolstered by the meticulous and painstaking research and documentation that are among the hallmarks of Slusser's works. It is also enriched by her extraordinary photographic archive. Beautiful struts and architectural details that have long been missing from the sites where Slusser first saw them are shown once again in situ in this work, and new photographs, largely the work of Neil Greentree, reveal a wealth of previously unsuspected detail. Also included is an essay by Paul Jett that is both a brief explanation of the science of radiocarbon testing and a validation of the revised dating of Nepalese wood carving proposed in the study.
Mary Shepherd Slusser is the author of an authoritative history of the culture of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal Mandala. Paul Jett is director of conservation and scientific research at the Freer/Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.
Reviews

"The antiquity of this startling corpus pushes a distinctive tradition of wooden architecture in the valley back by over five centuries and upstages even the most daring suspicions of the other astute scholars. . . . A monograph which is sure to illuminate pathways that it has also opened the doors to."
-Nachiket Chanchani, The Journal of Asian Studies, May 2012

"This book is highly recommended for academic and research libraries supporting research and study in art and architectural history, South Asian and Himalayan cultural studies, Buddhist and Hindu iconography, or Indology."
-ARLIS/NA Reviews