I have read Zimmer's Myths And Symbols In Indian Art And Civilization, and loved it.

I would like to find some other books along those lines (attention to the beauty of the narration, the ideas more than their history, their expression in art), and if possible (but I understand that might be asking something contradictory) more... systematic.

Any recommendation?

1 Answer 1


For art as we generally think of it in the West, the anniversary edition from the British Museum written by William Dalrymple.

As for art as it is generally understood in Hindu culture, there is no one, all-emcompassing book, since there are 64 distinct traditional disciplines in Hindu art. Since you are interested in symbolism, I will list some disciplines that use symbols in either written or gesture form:

  • gita — art of singing, uses svara
  • vadya — art of playing on musical instruments, uses svara
  • nritya — art of dancing, uses mudra (symbolic gestures)
  • natya — art of theatricals, fully detailed in the Natya Shastra
  • alekhya — art of painting. This is a very extensive cover-term, many styles deserve their own book, like Rajput, Tajore, Pattachitra, etc.

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