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S. J. Vernoit

(b Lölling, July 27, 1878; d Vienna, July 8, 1961).

Austrian historian of Byzantine, Islamic and Indian art. He studied art history and archaeology at the universities of Vienna and Graz and in 1902 completed his doctorate at Graz under Josef Strzygowski and Wilhelm Gurlitt, a study of the paintings in a manuscript of Dioskurides’ De materia medica (Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., Cod. med. gr. 1) copied for the Byzantine princess Juliana Anicia before ad 512. After military service (1902–3), Diez pursued further research in Rome and Istanbul and worked in Vienna as a volunteer (1905–7) at the Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie. From 1908 to 1911 he worked in Berlin at the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum with Max Jacob Friedländer, Wilhelm Bode and Friedrich Sarre. He was then appointed lecturer at the University of Vienna. From 1912 to 1914 he made trips to Iran, India, Egypt and Anatolia, which led to articles on Islamic art and architecture and ...

Article

Barbara Stoler Miller

(b Nikolsburg, Austria [now Mikulov in the Czech Republic], 1896; d Philadelphia, PA, Aug 31, 1993).

Austrian art historian, teacher, and museum curator, active in India and the USA. Her published writings begin with her PhD dissertation on early Buddhist art (1919), written at the University of Vienna under the supervision of Josef Strzygowski. In 1921 she went to India at the invitation of Rabindranath Tagore (see Tagore family §(1)) to teach at his school at Santiniketan. She remained for 30 years as a professor at the University of Calcutta. During her tenure she edited the Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, to which she contributed numerous articles on every period of architecture, sculpture, and painting, as well as on folk and contemporary art. Her researches culminated in The Hindu Temple (1946), which she characterized as ‘the sum total of architectural rites performed on the basis of its myth’. The work analyses the Hindu temple conceptually, locating its structural principles in ancient Vedic ritual and texts, as well as in Sanskrit treatises on architecture....

Article

Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....

Article

Tapati Guha-Thakurta

[Raja, Rama]

(b Tanjore, c. 1790; d Mysore, 1833).

Indian writer. His posthumously published work, Essay on the Architecture of the Hindus (published for the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1834), was a pioneering attempt at acquainting the West with the ancient Hindu ‘science’ of architecture, through a translation of some surviving fragments of Sanskrit treatises. Coming from an aristocratic but impoverished family of Karnataka, Ram Raz rose from the position of clerk to that of Head English Master at the College of Fort St George, Madras, eventually becoming a local judge and magistrate at Bangalore. His translation from Marathi into English of an indigenous code of revenue regulations brought him to the attention of Richard Clarke, a British official of the Madras government. It was under Clarke’s initiative that he turned his linguistic skills towards the elucidation of the ancient temple architecture of south India. While the British turned to a ‘Hindu’ to uncode the age-old precepts ‘locked’ in the Sanskrit language, Ram Raz himself had to rely on traditional Brahman scholars and on the practising craftsmen of the ‘Cammata’ clan of Thanjavur in deciphering the abstruse language and technical vocabulary of the texts. Highlighting the difficulties of his study, he noted the gap in communication between the Brahmans, with their closely guarded high knowledge, and the working ‘lower orders’ of artisans; the result was that the original theories were either lost or vastly distorted....

Article

Salima Hashmi

(b Simla, India, 1929; d Stafford, England, Jan 18, 1985).

Pakistani painter, printmaker, writer and teacher, active in England. He was born into a Kashmiri family of carpetmakers and grew up in Lahore. He received a diploma in fine arts in 1947 from the Mayo School of Arts, Lahore, and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1959–60). He was active in the literary circles of Lahore as a poet and short-story writer throughout the 1950s. Although trained in traditional miniature techniques, calligraphy and formal tessellated pattern making, in his early work he propagated a modernist, iconoclastic approach to painting, creating cubistic cityscapes and still-lifes in oil on canvas. Strongly influenced by Paul Klee, Shemza later drew on Arabic and Persian calligraphy in strongly linear works. In his ink-and-watercolour Untitled Drawing (1959; Lahore, A. Council Col.) the structure is geometric yet the forms remain fluid and rhythmic. He participated in the International Print Biennial, Tokyo (...

Article

Mary F. Linda

(b Greifswald, Dec 6, 1890; d New York, March 20, 1943).

German art historian. He was trained in Sanskrit philology and comparative linguistics at the University of Berlin, graduating in 1913, and his interests embraced Hindu mythology and philosophy in both literary and visual forms. He taught at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität, Greifswald (1920–24), and he held the Chair of Indian philology at Heidelberg (1924–38), from which he was dismissed in 1938 for his anti-Nazi convictions. In 1942, after briefly teaching at Balliol College (1939–40), Oxford, Zimmer became Visiting Lecturer in Philosophy at Columbia University (1942–3) in New York, where he died a year later. Many of his most important writings were edited and published posthumously by Joseph Campbell.

Following the Romantic and transcendental traditions of Indian scholarship, Zimmer sought to interpret the contributions of India in philosophy, medicine, art and the history of religion to the development of human civilization, and to assimilate the ‘truths’ found therein with Western thought. His observations were based on Puranic and Tantric texts, sources which until that time were underutilized in Indic studies. His ...