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India: A History in Objects (British Museum)

T. Richard Blurton


An illustrated introduction to the rich material culture of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, tracing its history through a huge variety of art and artefacts

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This illustrated introduction to the rich material culture of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka traces its history through a huge variety of art and artefacts, both religious and secular.

Arranged chronologically, and abundantly illustrated with expertly selected objects, this superb new overview connects today’s South Asia with its past. The narrative begins 1.5 million years ago, examines artefacts from the Indus Civilization, and follows the emergence of Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism and Sikhism, as well as the arrival and flourishing of Islam and Christianity. The important history of textiles is traced from prehistory until today. The historic dynasties of both north and south are presented, while the Mughals and their colonial successors bring the narrative into our own times. The final chapter examines South Asia since independence through art, popular imagery and music.

This compelling visual history, from the rural life of the subcontinent to the splendour of dynastic empires, will inspire and inform everyone interested in the material culture of South Asia.

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'A fascinating overview of centuries of cultural change'
BBC History

'I cannot recommend this excellent book more highly. It is sympathetically written, it covers a huge and diverse span of history, and it is a joy to look at'

'The incredibly wide range of subjects and the fascinating cross-currents they throw up are a delight to discover ... A fine book that weaves together many of the strands that make up one of the world’s most fascinating cultures'
World of Interiors

'Anyone approaching … the material culture of India will find here a succinct introduction to the historical, social or technological milieu in which it belongs. Forms an ideal companion for the collector or curator eager to contextualize material on a very wide canvas'
Journal of the History of Collections

'South Asian history is so complex and layered that making sense of it can take considerable effort. Richard Blurton’s richly illustrated India: A History in Objects emphasizes precisely this complexity and diversity'
Asian Review of Books

'Wonderful … demonstrates South Asia’s rich cultural vitality over the past three millennia to magnificent effect. [Burton’s] depth of knowledge, sympathy with, and curiosity for the region are evident throughout this fine book'
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 24.0 x 17.0 cm

Extent: 320 pp

Illustrations: 479

Publication date: 30 June 2022

ISBN: 9780500480649

Contents List

1. Prehistory and early history
2. Early empires and developing religions
3. Dynasties and the rise of devotion
4. Indo-Islamic South Asia
5. Europeans and the British in India
6. Independence and modernity

About the Author

T. Richard Blurton was the Head of the South and Southeast Asia section at the British Museum, having been a curator in the Museum since 1986. Trained as an archaeologist, he has worked in south Afghanistan and all over South Asia. His publications include Krishna in the Garden of Assam, Bengali Myths and Hindu Art.

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