Exploring Goan Hindu Iconography

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Every Hindu sculpture has a specific description. They are carved or cast according to this description. It provides the key identifying features of these sculptures. These include poses called asanas, weapons called aayudhs, hand gestures called mudraas, hairdos, crowns, etc. This is entirely based on ancient scriptures. This study is termed as iconography while the texts which describe them are called iconographical texts. Throughout India these texts were followed while making any sculpture. Goa was no exception. Hence, even when fragmentary remains of a sculpture are found, the sculpture can be identified based on these attributes.

With this as the backdrop, Xavier Centre of Historical Research, Porvorim is organising its second Online History Hour programme ‘An introduction to Goan Hindu Iconography’ today at 6 p.m. The lecture aims to understand the layout and formation of Hindu sculptures with a specific reference to Goa.

Resource person for the lecture is enthusiast of ancient Indian history, Rohit Ramakant Phalgaonkar. Armed with a PhD in history from Savitribai Phule University, Pune in 2015, for his thesis titled ‘The History of Goa’s Religion-Cultural Past: A Study based on Iconography (AD 4 –AD 1600)’, Phalgaonkar is sought after for lectures on ancient Indian history, archaeology, culture, etc. He is also known to have revived interest in cultural dances like the dhallo and in the traditional Kunbi saree. His upcoming book titled ‘Goan bronzes’ has been approved for publication by the Department of Art and Culture and is said to be one of the only works of its kind in Goa, which concentrates on Goa’s brass and bronze sculptures.

(The Online History Hour programme will begin today at 6 p.m. IST. Online platform: Zoom and meeting ID 915 3545 5388. Direct link to the talk: http://bitly.ws/abLi)