Head and Heart : Valour and Self Sacrifice in the Art of India
By Mary Storm
Published by Routledge India - July 2013
An extensive study of self sacrificial images in Indian art, this book examines concepts such as head offering, human sacrifice, blood, suicide, valour, self immolation and self giving in the context of religion and politics to explore why these images were produced and how they became paradigms of heroism.
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SIT Academic Director Mary Storm Writes New Book on Art in India
SIT Academic Director Mary Storm, PhD, has authored a new book, Head and Heart: Valour and Self-Sacrifice in the Art of India, to be published by Routledge this summer in the US, the UK, and India simultaneously. We recently talked with Dr. Storm about the book and her ongoing research.
SIT Study Abroad: Tell us about the book. What are its central ideas and arguments?
Mary Storm: The book is a study of the paradigm shift in Indian art from logos to icon in the expression of sacrifice and the development of social altruism. The text explores how aniconic, but precisely articulated, Vedic sacrifice, controlled by Brahmin elites, developed into the Puranic tradition of highly visualized loose narratives accessible to “Everyman.” Additionally, it questions how Indian society created visual models of self-sacrifice necessary for a hierarchical but harmonious society. When sacrifice was visualized and was no longer controllable by the literate Brahmin elites, it became a tool for manipulating transference of power within the caste system which allowed outliers (low castes or women) to access and claim heroic behavior.