Siddhartha at the Bodhi Tree, c. 2nd Century, Gandhara (present-day Pakistan), Schist, 73.7 x 57.2 cm, Cleveland Museum of Art.Siddhartha at the Bodhi Tree, c. 2nd Century, Gandhara (present-day Pakistan), Schist, 73.7 x 57.2 cm, Cleveland Museum of Art.

Encyclopedia of Art

Discover over 10,000 years of art history in South Asia

Siddhartha at the Bodhi Tree, c. 2nd Century, Gandhara (present-day Pakistan), Schist, 73.7 x 57.2 cm, Cleveland Museum of Art.

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Bahubali

A popular figure in Digambara Jain mytholo...

A popular figure in Digambara Jain mythology, Bahub...

Article

Hashim

A painter of illustrated manuscrip...

A painter of illustrated manuscripts, Hashi...

Article

Ganjifa

A Persian card game that has been popu...

A Persian card game that has been popular in th...

Article

Bhuta Masks

Heavy, typically metal alloy-based masks w...

Heavy, typically metal alloy-based masks worn by da...

Glossary

Baburnama

The memoir of Zahiruddin Babur, the founde...

The memoir of Zahiruddin Babur, the founder of the ...

Glossary

Pointillism

Also known as Divisionism or Chromoluminar...

Also known as Divisionism or Chromoluminarism, it i...

Glossary

Jaali

Latticed screen windows often found in Isl...

Latticed screen windows often found in Islamic arch...

Glossary

Inlay

An ornamentation technique in sculpture an...

An ornamentation technique in sculpture and the dec...

Browse more Glossary Terms

Abacus

A square or rectangular slab located right above the shaft of a column. ...

Abhinavagupta

Abhinavagupta (c. tenth–eleventh century) was an ascetic, philosopher an...

Abhinaya

According to the Natyashastra, it may be understood as a combination of ...

Abhiniskramana Sutra

A treatise on the life of the Buddha, it retells, among other episodes, ...

Abhishekam

The ritual anointing or bathing of an idol with offerings such as milk, ...

Abstract Expressionism

An art movement that developed in New York in the 1940s and led to the f...

Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak

An official in Akbar's court, Abu'l Fazl (b. 1551; d. 1602) was a close ...

Academic Realism

A style of painting that was influenced by European academies of art fro...

Achutyadeva

Achyutadeva (b. n.d.; d. 1542 CE) was a ruler of the Vijayanagara empire...

Action Painting

A style of abstraction where paintings are produced through vigorous and...

Adimurti

Also known as Para Vasudeva, it is a manifestation of the Hindu deity Vi...

Adipurana

A Sanskrit poem on the life of Rishabnath, the first Tirthankara of Jain...

After-Cast

The process of making a cast using a mould taken from a finished sculptu...

Agamas

A collection of Hindu literary and scriptural texts that establish syste...

Agamic Texts

Meaning “tradition” or “received knowledge” in Sanskrit, the term refers...

Agastya Teertha

A manmade lake in the vicinity of the Badami Cave Temples, it constructe...

Agni

The god of fire in the Vedic pantheon and one of the five elements of In...

Ahilyabai Holkar

Ahilyabai Holkar (b. 1767; d. 1795) was a Maratha queen and known for he...

Ahmadnagar

A city in present day Maharashtra founded in 1494 and named after its fo...

Airavata

Meaning 'belonging to Iravati' or 'produced from water', Airavata is a c...

Aiyanar Sasta

The guardian deity of several folk and Hindu traditions in south India. ...

Ajivika Sect

An early sramana (ascetic) sect led by Makkhali Gosala in the fifth cent...

Akshobhya

One of the five Tathagatas or the five transcendental Buddhas in Vajraya...

Alam

A religious processional object used by the Shi’a community on Ashura, t...

Albert H Longhurst

Albert H Longhurst (b. 1876; d. 1955) was a British archaeologist and ar...

Albumen Paper

Photographic printing paper that is coated with albumen, or egg white, a...

Alexander Cunningham

Alexander Cunningham (b. 1814; d. 1893) was a British army engineer and ...

Alizarin

An organic compound found in the roots of some madder plants and the cha...

All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society Award

The annual prize conferred by All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society alo...

Alpona

A ritual Bengali practice of making designs and paintings featuring reli...

Alum

A double salt of aluminium and potassium that is used as a mordant in te...

Alvar

A group of twelve Vaishnavite Tamil poet-saints who advocated for person...

Amar Chitra Katha

A series of Indian comics begun in 1967 by Anant Pai, based on religious...

Ambar Charkha

A version of the traditional charkha which uses multiple spindles as opp...

Amitabha

A principal figure in Pure Land Buddhism, he is one of the five Dhyani B...

Amli

Also known as amlikar, it is a needle-embroidered Kashmiri shawl dating ...

Amoghasiddhi

Within the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions of Buddhism, Amoghasiddhi i...

Amuktamalyada

A sixteenth-century epic poem in Telugu, authored by the Vijayanagara ki...

Ananda Nilayam

The name of the vimana (the sanctum sanctorum and the tower over it) of ...

Anandatandava

Meaning “dance of bliss,” it is a cosmic dance performed by the Hindu de...

Anantasayana

A representation of the Hindu god Vishnu, which shows him reclining atop...

Andal

Andal, also known as Kotai, was a ninth-century Vaishnava poet-saint act...

Andhaka

A malevolent asura king from the Hindu pantheon who fought a war with Sh...

Aniline Dye

A category of synthetic dyes made with a base material of coal-tar deriv...

Animism

It is a belief system that attributes a spiritual essence to plants, ani...

Anne Morrell

An author, textile artist and academic working with histories of textile...

Antarala

A small antechamber connecting the garbhagriha (inner sanctum) of the te...

Apasmara Purusha

Also known as Muyalaka or Muyalakan, he is a dwarf within Hindu mytholog...

Appar

A Shaivite poet-saint from seventh century Tamil Nadu. He was one of the...

Apsara

Celestial female beings in Buddhist and Hindu cosmology known for their ...

Apsidal

A term referring to the shape of an apse, an architectural element that ...

Archaeological Museum Mohenjo-Daro

A museum in Sindh, Pakistan, established in 1967, which has in its colle...

Architectural Views

A genre of painting that focused predominantly on buildings and their in...

Architrave

A beam, window or door frame that rises above the stamba or column to pr...

Ardhamandapa

A half-open pillared hall in Hindu temples. The ardhamandapa serves as a...

Ardhanarishwara

A composite form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvati, depicte...

Ardhaparyanka

An asana or posture wherein the figure is depicted half-sitting on one f...

Ari

An embroidery tool resembling a crochet needle, it comprises an elongate...

Arjuna

A mythical warrior and one of the five Pandava princes in the Mahabharat...

Art & Heritage Foundation

A Kolkata-based non-profit organisation established in 2002 to promote a...

Art Alive Gallery

A Delhi-based gallery found in 2001 by Sunaina Anand. The gallery has sh...

Art Brut

An art movement that emerged after World War II in reaction to academic ...

Art Heritage Gallery

A Delhi-based art gallery established in 1977 by Ebrahim and Roshen Alka...

Art Informel

Coined by French art critic and curator Michel Tapie in 1952, the term s...

Art Nouveau

A cultural movement in art, architecture and applied and decorative arts...

Arts Network Asia (ANA)

Founded in 1999 by Ong Keng Sen, it is an independent organisation compr...

Arun Khopkar

Arun Khopkar (b. 1945) is a Mumbai-based filmmaker and scholar who has m...

Aruna

The charioteer of Surya, the sun god in Hindu mythology. In iconographic...

Asaf Jahi Dynasty

A dynasty that ruled the kingdom of Hyderabad from 1734 until its depos...

Ashtadikpalas

It is the collective term for a set of eight deities –– Kubera, Yama, In...

Asia Society, New York

A non-profit organisation established in 1956 by John D Rockefeller III ...

Asian/Pacific/American Institute

An institute established in 1996 at New York University to focus on rese...

Asiatic Society Of Bengal

An organisation in Kolkata, West Bengal, that holds a vast collection of...

Asiatic Society Of Bombay

An organisation in Mumbai, Maharashtra, that holds over three thousand a...

Assemblage

Art made by assembling disparate elements from everyday or found objects...

Asura

A clan of power-seeking figures in the Hindu pantheon. Often mistranslat...

Atisha

Atisa Dipankara Srijnana (b. 982; d. 1054) was a religious leader and ma...

Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb (b. 1618; d. 1707) was the sixth Mughal emperor of India. He s...

Axis Mundi

A Latin phrase meaning “world axis” and referring to the centre of the e...

Ayudhapurusha

The anthropomorphic representation of divine weapons in the Hindu panthe...

Baburnama

The memoir of Zahiruddin Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire. Writte...

Back Stitch

A variety of the stem or split stitch, wherein individual stitches are m...

Badla

A thin, flattened metallic wire that is used as yarn for sewing or embro...

Bagta

A painter who worked in eighteenth century Rajasthan in the court of Dev...

Bahamani Sultans

Rulers of the Bahmani Sultanate, an Islamic kingdom in the Deccan region...

Baisakhi

The Hindu and Sikh solar new year and the spring harvest festival, it is...

Bamiyan Buddha

Two Buddha statues carved into the niche of a cliff in the Bamiyan Valle...

Baptist Coelho

Baptist Coelho (b. 1977) is an artist working across mediums of installa...

Barefoot School of Craft

An architectural project conceptualised by unTAG as a school for the pro...

Bargello Stitches

An embroidery technique in which patterns are made by sewing vertical st...

Baroda Pop

A Pop Art movement established by the artists of the Baroda Group in the...

Bast Fibre

A soft but strong plant-based fibre derived from the inner bark of certa...

Bauhaus

A school of art and design founded by German architect Walter Gropius in...

Bel

A popular floral motif, it depicts a climber or vine. Also known as Bel ...

Berozgar Mahila Kalyan Sansthan

Established in 1993, it is an initiative founded by women of the Godda d...

Bhagavata Purana

One of the eighteen major Puranas, the Bhagavata Purana is dedicated to ...

Bhagirath

The mythical king of the Sagara Dynasty who performed several years of p...

Bhairava

A fierce form or manifestation of the Hindu god, Shiva, he is a guardian...

Bhairavi

The consort of Bhairava and a form of Devi, the supreme goddess in Hindu...

Bhaisajyaguru

Also known as the Medicine Buddha, he is the Buddha of healing and medic...

Bhakti

A set of devotional practices that emerged in South India from the sixth...

Bharat Ratna

Instituted on January 2, 1954, it is India's highest civilian honour, co...

Bharata (Jainism)

In Jain mythology, he is the first chakravartin ("universal emperor") an...

Bharthari

Also known as Jogi Sant Bharthari, he is a popular king from the folk le...

Bhogashakti

A form of the Hindu goddess Parvati or Parameswari, who is the consort o...

Bhringi

In Hindu mythology, Bhringi is a sage and an attendant of the deity, Shi...

Bhudevi

A deity personifying the earth. She is also known as Bhumi Devi and is c...

Bhulabhai Desai Memorial Institute

Established in 1946, it was a site of artistic significance and housed G...

Bhuta

Spirit deities central to the bhuta kola ritual performance of the Tulu ...

Bhutagana

In Hindu mythology, it refers to a class of beings who attend to the dei...

Bhuvaraha

The name of the anthropomorphic form of Varaha, an avatar (manifestation...

Bichauni

A bedding or bedsheet typically made of cotton. From the Hindi word bich...

Biennial of Contemporary Indian Art

A prominent exhibition of Indian contemporary art held at the multi-arts...

Bijapur

Bijapure (now Vijayapura) is a city in present-day Karnataka which was f...

Bindu

A circular symbol resembling and implying a point or a dot. It has sever...

Bindu-Varttana

An ancient Indian shading technique wherein the artist retains their bru...

Biruda

An honorific epithet given to Tamil rulers, musicians, poets and other i...

Bishnupriya Dutt

Bishnupriya Dutt (b. n.d.) is an Indian scholar of theatre studies and p...

Blind Bays

In architecture, a recess or space between two vertical supports that is...

Block-Printing

Also known as woodblock printing, it is the process of stamping coloured...

Bodhisattva

Within the Mahayana tradition of the Buddhist faith, it refers to any fi...

Bodhyagri Mudra

Also known as the bodhyangi mudra, it means the “mudra of the six elemen...

Bombay Art Society Award

An annual award conferred by the Bombay Art Society. The awardees are ch...

Brahma

A deity in the Hindu pantheon regarded as the creator of the universe, h...

Brahmagiri

An archaeological site in Chitradurga, Karnataka, that contains evidence...

Brahmi Script

A writing system or script that appeared as a fully developed universal ...

Brahmi And Sundari

Within Jainism, they were the daughters of the first Tirthankara Rishabh...

Brihat Samhita

A Sanskrit text written by the astronomer Varahamihira in the sixth-cent...

British East India Company

A British company which traded commodities such as cotton, indigo, salt,...

Bronze Age

A prehistoric period characterised by the production and use of bronze a...

Brownie Camera

Also known as the Kodak brownie, it is a series of box cameras with a me...

Cable-Edging

A motif with a raised surface, it is often found in textiles. Cables are...

Calcutta Art Studio

Established in 1878 in Calcutta (now Kolkata) by Ananda Bagchi and four ...

Calico Acts

Passed by the British Parliament in 1700 and 1721, these acts banned the...

Calotype

An early photographic technique invented by William Henry Fox Talbot, wh...

Camera Lucida

An optical device and precedent to the camera, which was used as an aid ...

Cantoned Pillar

An architectural term used to denote a pillar that emerges at an angle i...

Capital

The topmost part of a column, pilaster or pier that joins the square aba...

Carding

The process of untangling and cleaning raw plant or animal fibre to prod...

Central Silk Technological Research Institute (CSTRI)

A research institute established in 1983 in Bengaluru, India, to work on...

Chadar

A length of cloth worn by women as a loose veil or wrap to cover the hea...

Chain Stitch

A decorative embroidery technique in which the stitch consists of consec...

Chaitra Parva

An important festival in Odisha, it translates to "the festival of the m...

Chaitya

Meaning ‘shrine’ or ’sanctuary’ in Sanskrit, chaitya or chaitya griha (‘...

Chakra

The sacred symbol of a wheel in Buddhism and Hinduism. In Buddhism, the ...

Chakrapurusha

The personification of Vishnu's discus, the Sudarshan Chakra, as a male ...

Chakravaka

An aquatic bird resembling geese or swans that recurs in Buddhist and Hi...

Chakravartin

A title referring to an ideal ruler in Buddhist, Jain and Hindu traditio...

Chalan

A series of notes in a Hindustani raga that summarise its development by...

Chalcolithic Period

The period that marked the transition from Neolithic cultures to the Bro...

Chalukya Dynasty

The name of three major dynasties that ruled over large parts of central...

Chamaradhara

A term used with reference to Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina religious art, i...

Chameli

From the Hindi word for the jasmine flower, it is a popular floral motif...

Chamunda Raya

Chamunda Raya (b. n.d.; d. n.d.) was a general and minister of the Ganga...

Chand Bibi

Sultana Chand Bibi (b. 1550; d. 1599) was the acting ruler and regent of...

Chand Tara

A motif which combines visual elements of the moon and the stars, used d...

Chandayana

A Sufi romance written in Hindi by the poet Mulla Da'ud during the reign...

Chandesa

A devotee of the Hindu deity Shiva and one of the sixty-three Nayanars, ...

Chandesanugrahamurti

A benevolent form (anugrahamurti) of the Hindu deity Shiva, in which he ...

Chandra

The lunar deity in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Sanskrit, and seve...

Chandragupta II

Chandragupta II (b. n.d. ; d. n.d) was ruler of the Gupta dynasty from 3...

Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta Maurya (b. n.d.; d. c. 297 BCE) was the founder of the Maur...

Chandrashala

A decorative motif similar to a barrel-vaulted roof, with a circular dor...

Charles Wallace India Trust

It is a British not-for-profit organisation that provides academic grant...

Charlotte Canning

Charlotte Canning (b. 1817; d. 1861) was an artist and the wife of Charl...

Chatta

A mat comprising four square pieces of cloth joined together, it is a cu...

Chaunsa Khaddar

A handspun and handwoven textile made of fine yarn that is used as a bas...

Chengalpattu

A town in Tamil Nadu, India, dated to the early Chola period c. second c...

Chenrezig

Another name for Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, he is th...

Chera

A dynasty that ruled over areas of present-day Kerala and Tamil Nadu fro...

Chiaroscuro

A technique used in the visual arts to represent strong contrasts of lig...

Chiffon

A lightweight, woven fabric popular for its shimmery and translucent app...

Chin Mudra

A mudra or gesture in South Asian iconographic traditions, in which the ...

Chinese Silk Painting

Paintings on silk practive produced in China as early as the fourth cent...

Chinoiserie

The European interpretation of Chinese and East Asian decorative arts, d...

Chitrashala

A painted room in the form of a gallery commissioned by kings, nobles an...

Chittoor

Located in the Poini river valley, it is a district in the Rayalaseema r...

Chokha

A painter in nineteenth century Rajasthan who worked in the courts of Me...

Chola

A medieval dynasty that ruled over areas of present-day Tamil Nadu. The ...

Cholera Belt

A belt or flat strip made of flannel or wool and tied around the stomach...

Chromolithography

A chemical-based printing method for the production of coloured prints u...

Chunari

A long, scarf-like accessory, it is a multicoloured piece of fabric that...

Clamp-Resist Dyeing

A textile dyeing technique where wooden clamps are used to reserve areas...

Colin Murray

Colin Murray (b. 1840; d. 1884) was a British photographer who worked in...

Collagraph

A printmaking technique in which colour is applied to a printing surface...

Collonade

A row of columns, typically equidistant from each other and joined by an...

Colonial and Indian Exhibition 1886

An exhibition inaugurated on 4 May 1886 at the South Kensington Museum, ...

Colour Field Painting

An abstract painting style categorised within American Expressionism, it...

Combination Printing

An early photographic technique wherein two or more negative images are ...

Conceptual Art

An artistic movement that emerged in the 1960s which prioritised the con...

Constructivism

An early twentieth century artistic and architectural movement that was ...

Cornice Moulding

A horizontal decorative moulding applied to the edges at the top of an i...

Counted-Thread Embroidery

A form of embroidery where the warp and weft are uniformly counted, resu...

Cowasji Jehangir

Cowasji Jehangir (b. 1879; d. 1962) was an industrialist and philanthrop...

Cowasji Jehangir Hall

A hall funded by industrialist and philanthropist Sir Cowasji Jehangir i...

Crepe

Also known as crape, it is a fabric characterised by a rumpled, crimped ...

Cross-Stitch

A type of sewing and embroidery that incorporates x-shaped stitches to c...

Cubism

A modern art movement developed in the twentieth century by artists such...

Cushion Capital

In architecture, it is a type of crown, which is the top-most part of a ...

Chandrakali Sari

A type of sari made in Ilkal in Karnataka, India, woven in dyed silk and...

Collodion Wet Plate

A nineteenth-century method of producing photographic negatives using a ...

Dabbi

Meaning “small box,” it is a single, squarish motif found in the Rajasth...

Dadariya

A form of popular folk or field song from Chhattisgarh that is typically...

Dado

In architecture, it is the space between the base and the pedestal of a ...

Dafli

A percussion instrument, it is a smaller version of a Persian instrument...

Dalai Lama

The name Dalai Lama is a combination of the Mongolic dalai, meaning "oce...

Dandahasta

A gesture in which the arm is presented forward and held straight, like ...

Dantidurga

The founder of the Rashtrakuta kingdom, who reigned between c. 735–c. 75...

Darasuram

A municipality in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, known as the site of the Airava...

Darning Stitch

An embroidery technique in which running stitches are worked in straight...

Datta

A type of block used in textile block-printing. It is carved in complete...

Deccan Heritage Foundation

A charitable organisation established in 2011 that works with the herita...

Delhi Fine Arts Exhibition

An annual exhibition organised by the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Soc...

Department of Curatorship of Ancient Monuments

A short-lived department established by Henry H Cole in 1880 to administ...

Deva Raya II

Deva Raya II (b. n.d.; d. 1446) was a ruler of the Sangama dynasty, whic...

Devadushya

Meaning “divine cloth” in Sanskrit, it is an upper body garment. In Jain...

Devanampriya Priyadarshi

A title used by the emperor Ashoka to refer to himself, it derives from ...

Devasenapathi

One of the names of the Hindu deity Subrahmanya. The name derives from h...

Devi

A Sanskrit term used to denote a goddess or female deity. The word also ...

Devi Mahatmya

Also known as Durga Saptashati, it is one of the foremost texts within t...

Devi Upanishad

A minor Upanishad often classified as one of the eight Shakta Upanishads...

Devi-Bhagavata Purana

Also known as Devi Bhagavatam, it is often categorised as a Mahapurana a...

Dhamma

The Pali word for dharma, it stands for the “the law of nature” or “the ...

Dhamma Mahamatta

A class of officers instituted by the Indian emperor Ashoka during his r...

Dhanushpurusha

The personification of Vishnu's bow as a male figure, following the Ayud...

Dharmachakra

A symbol in Buddhist, Jain and Hindu traditions, it is depicted as the w...

Dhawadi

A flower motif based on the dhawadi flower (Woodfordia fruticosa), commo...

Dhol

A percussion instrument in the Indian subcontinent, it is made of wood, ...

Dholak

A South Asian percussion instrument, it is a two-headed drum with a wood...

Dhruva

A classification of songs from chapter thirty-two of the Natyashastra, w...

Dhvaja

Meaning ‘banner’ or ‘flag’ in Sanskrit, dhvaja also refers to a high fla...

Dhyani-Buddha

Denoting any of the five celestial and meditative Buddhas — Vairochana, ...

Digambara

Meaning “sky-robed” in Sanskrit, it is one of two major ideologies withi...

Discstones

Stone sculptures that developed from ringstones, dated approximately to ...

DLN Reddy

DLN Reddy (b. 1949) is a painter and sculptor who creates figurative wor...

Do Thal

A cave temple in Ellora dating to the eighth century CE and discovered i...

Dobby

A mechanism attached to a loom that controls warp threads to allow for t...

Doha

A form of Indian poetry, it is a self-contained rhyming couplet consisti...

Domingo Paes

Domingo Paes (b. n.d.; d. n.d.) was a Portuguese horse trader who visite...

Doric Order

Originating in western Greece, it is oldest of the three orders of the c...

Dormer

A triangular or cylindrical projection from a roof that usually contains...

Dorukha

A textile with double-sided design, typically seen in Kani weaving and k...

Double Running Stitch

A form of running stitch that is even on both sides of the fabric, used ...

Double-Interlock

A technique of tapestry weaving wherein two differently coloured weft th...

Double-Voluted

An architectural or design element consisting of two scroll-shaped ornam...

Dovetail

A method of tapestry weaving where wefts of two different colours are wo...

Draupadi

The mythical heroine of the Mahabharata, Draupadi was the daughter of Ki...

Dro Clan

A prominent Tibetan family from the ninth century, based in Kokonor (pre...

Drupada

In the epic Mahabharata, the ruler of Southern Panchala and the father o...

Duldul

Within Islamic tradition, one of the beloved mules of the Prophet Muhamm...

Durga

The Hindu goddess of war, identified as the principal form of the goddes...

Dutch East India Company

Founded in 1602, the United East India Company or Vereenigde Oost Indisc...

Early Harappan Phase

The early period of the Indus Valley Civilisation that lasted from 3300–...

Early Historic Period

The period between 600 BCE and 300 BCE. In the Indian subcontinent, it w...

Early Western Chalukya

Also known as the Badami Chalukyas, the dynasty ruled over parts of pres...

Earthwork

Art that is made by shaping or making forms on land or by using natural ...

Eastern Ganga Dynasty

Also known as the Rudhi or the Prachya Gangas, this is an early medieval...

Eberhard Fischer

Eberhard Fischer (b. 1941) is a German art historian, ethnologist and au...

Edgar Thurston

Edgar Thurston (b. 1855; d. 1935) was a British medical officer who cont...

Egmore Museum Theatre

A theatre in Chennai constructed in 1896 by the British as a replica of ...

Ekadasamukha

An epithet for one of Alokiteshwara’s forms, it is Sanskrit for "the one...

Ektara

A South Asian stringed instrument, it consists of a single string, a gou...

En Plein Air

Meaning “in open air” in French, it is the style of creating a finished ...

Engine Oil Painting

Paintings made using engine oil as the pigment binder, instead of typica...

Enlarger

A transparency projector used to produce photographic prints from negati...

Entablature

A horizontal band resting on pillar capitals, they are divided into thre...

Etching

The process of using a mordant or acid to cut into exposed areas of a me...

Ethnographic Study

A qualitative method of research within the field of anthropology that i...

European Realism

A movement originating in France in the 1840s, which rejected then-preva...

Expressionism

A modernist art movement that emerged in Europe in the early twentieth c...

Extra Weft

Also known as the supplementary weft technique, it is a design method wh...

Faience

A broad term used for fine glazed pottery made after the nineteenth cent...

Fardi Ka Kaam

A type of mukaish embroidery in which short lengths of metallic wire are...

Fast Forward: Women In Photography

An project aimed at engaging with women in photography, instituted in 20...

Fauvism

A style of painting popular in France in the early years of the twentiet...

Film And Television Institute Of India

A film institute established in 1960 that falls under the auspices of th...

Firka

A genre of paintings associated with the Patna School, which depicted pe...

Firuz Shah Tughlaq

Firuz Shah Tughlaq (b.1309; d.1388) was a Tughlaq dynasty ruler who reig...

Fixed Heddle Loom

Also known as rigid heddle looms, they feature a single shaft wherein he...

Fleur-de-lis

From the French fleur, meaning "flower," and lis, meaning "lily," it is ...

Fluting

Decorative ridges or grooves that are carved along the shaft of a column...

Fo Oertel

Friedrich Oscar Oertel (b.1862; d.1942) was a German engineer and archae...

Folio

Could refer to either the leaf or page of a manuscript or a method of ar...

Folk Art Museum, Sonargaon

A museum dedicated to the folk arts and crafts of Bangladesh, located in...

Formalism

An approach to art which emphasises aspects of form, such as line, shape...

Four-Shaft Pit Loom

A pit loom with four shafts or harnesses that support the healds through...

Foy Nissen

Foy Nissen (b. 1931; d. 2018) was a writer and historian. From 1962 onwa...

Frame Loom

Made of rods and boards fixed at right angles, it is a compact, box-shap...

French East India Company

Founded in 1664 to counter the growing influence of the British and the ...

Fresco

A mural painting technique where water-based pigments are applied over w...

Fresco Buono

Literally meaning “true fresh” in Italian, it is a painting technique in...

Frieze

The central section of the entablature (a capital on the top of a pillar...

Futurism

An avant-garde artistic movement that emphasised speed, technology, viol...

Gadadevi

The anthropomorphic representation of Vishnu’s gada or mace, held in one...

Gadh

Also spelt gad, it is a type of block used in textile block-printing. Th...

Gaekwads of Baroda

A royal family of the Maratha confederacy, who ruled the Princely State ...

Gahadavala Dynasty

Established by the king Yashovigraha, this dynasty ruled parts of presen...

Gaja Hasta

A single-handed gesture in South Asian iconography in which the palm is ...

Gajantaka Shiva

An incarnation of Shiva as the killer of the elephant demon Gajasura. It...

Gajapati

A dynasty that ruled over territories corresponding to parts of present-...

Gajasamhara

A form of Shiva as a samharamurti (destructive aspect), which shows him ...

Gajendra

A figure in the Gajendramoksha episode of Hindu mythology, Gajendra was ...

Gajendramoksha

An episode in Hindu mythology central to the Vaishnava sect, it narrates...

Ganas

In Hindu mythology, they are attendants of Shiva who live with him on Mo...

Gandhara

An ancient region that occupied parts of present-day northwestern Pakist...

Gandharva

Celestial beings in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist mythology. They are depicte...

Gangadhara

An epithet for the Hindu deity Shiva, meaning "the one who carries Ganga...

Gangaikondacholapuram

A village in present-day Tamil Nadu which served as the capital city of ...

Gara

A colloquial term for a coarse, textured cotton fabric.

Garbhagriha

Translating to 'womb chamber' from Sanskrit, it is the innermost sanctua...

Garuda

A winged creature in Buddhist, Jain and Hindu mythology. He is the mount...

Gelugpa

A Tibetan Buddhist monastic order, founded by Je Tsongkhapa in the early...

Geometric Abstraction

A form of abstract art that uses geometric forms, usually in a non-illus...

George Curzon

George Curzon (b. 1859; d. 1925) was a British statesman who served as t...

Georgette

A lightweight, sheer fabric made of fine silk, it is named after the Fre...

German Expressionism

An art movement that emerged in early twentieth-century Germany, charact...

Gharcholu

Also known as gharchola or ghatchola in Gujarati and Kutchi, it means “a...

Gilt

An object that is covered with a thin layer of gold, often used in jewel...

Ginning

The process of removing debris and dirt from raw cotton fibre, either ma...

Gita Govinda

A Sanskrit poetic epic that describes the love between the Hindu god Kri...

Glass Plate Negative

A photographic negative produced using a glass plate coated with a light...

Gonandiya

An ancient dynasty from Kashmir that is referred to in the twelfth centu...

Gopi

A group of women significant to the worship of the Hindu deity Krishna, ...

Gouache

An opaque water-soluble paint that contains a gum binder and a white pig...

Goutam Ghosh

Goutam Ghosh (b. 1979) is painter who creates abstract work that draws f...

Gram Art Project

A collective of famers, artists and makers in Paradsinga village in Madh...

Great Exhibition of 1851

Also known as The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Natio...

Great Trigonometric Survey of India

A project undertaken by the British military under the East India Compan...

Griselda Pollock

Griselda Pollock (b. 1949) is a British-Canadian art historian and cultu...

Grosvenor Vadehra

A joint venture between the Delhi-based Vadehra Art Gallery and the Lond...

Groyne

A long, rigid hydraulic structure constructed perpendicular to the seash...

Gul Buta

A rose motif that appears in block-printed textiles of Rajasthan, it der...

Guldasta

A motif depicting flowers in a vase, popularly found in textiles such as...

Gum Arabic

A naturally occuring gum obtained from the hardened sap of the Acacia se...

Gurpurab

A festival of the Sikh religion, which marks important events in the liv...

Guru Nanak

The first of the ten Sikh gurus, Guru Nanak (b. 1469, d. 1539) was the f...

Gelatin Dry Plate

A method of producing photographic negatives that emerged in the 1880s, ...

Hadith

An important religious text within Islam, it is a record of the traditio...

Hajjani Jetun Bi

Hajjani Jetun Bi (b. n.d.) is an Indian master practitioner of Bagh prin...

Half-and-Half Style

A sari style characterised by contrasting colours or patterns in its two...

Hampi

An ancient city in Karnataka, India, it was the capital of the Vijayanag...

Hamsa

An aquatic migratory bird associated with geese or swans in Sanskrit lit...

Hand Stencil

The technique of imprinting human hands on rock surfaces, found in Prehi...

Hanji Paper

A traditional Korean handmade paper produced using the inner bark of the...

Hank

A unit of measure in the textile industry, it describes a coiled or wrap...

Happenings

A precursor of performance art, they are events or situations where the ...

Harappa Museum, Punjab

A museum in Punjab, Pakistan, that houses artefacts from the Indus Valle...

Harda

The fruit of the black myrobalan plant (Terminalia Chebula), it is used ...

Harihara

A deity who represents the combined aspects of Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (...

Harihariharivahana

In Tibetan and Tantric Buddhism, he is one of the manifestations of the ...

Harisena

A ruler of the Vakataka Dynasty who reigned in the late fifth century CE...

Harmonium

An Indian stringed instrument shaped like a portable wooden box with key...

Harry Barr

A captain of the eighth Bombay Native Infantry and the first president o...

Hasta Shilpa Evam Hathkargha Vikas Nigam

A textile manufacturing company located in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. It w...

Hayagriva

The horse-headed avatar of Vishnu, he is the deity of knowledge and wisd...

Heald

Also known as a heald wire or heddle, it is the part of the loom through...

Heer-Ranjha

An epic love story popular in the Punjab region across present-day Pakis...

Hemakuta

A hill near Hampi, Karnataka, it is the site of the oldest and best-pres...

Henry Cole

Sir Henry Cole (b. 1808; d. 1882) was a civil servant, inventor and indu...

Henry Daly

Henry Daly (b. 1823; d. 1895) was a British Indian army officer who serv...

Hephthalite

Also known as the White Huns, they were a predominantly nomadic set of p...

Herringbone Stitch

A needlework technique that uses stitches resembling bones extending fro...

Herwitz Collection of Modern & Contemporary Indian Art

A body of artwork collected by Chester and Davida Herwitz, which include...

High Relief

Also known as alto-relievo, it is a technique of relief sculpting where ...

Himation

A type of garment worn by men and women in ancient Greece, it was an uns...

Himavata

In Hindu mythology, Himavat is the lord of the mountains and the father ...

Hinayana

A term coined by the Mahayana Buddhist tradition to denote followers of ...

Hiranya

A Sanskrit term meaning “golden.”

Hollowed Bone

A tool made from shaping human or animal bone and used by prehistoric pe...

Hoysala

A dynasty that ruled over the southern Deccan in India between the eleve...

Humanism

A term coined in the nineteenth century to describe philosophical doctri...

Ikshvaku

The solar dynasty (Suryavansha) founded by King Ikshvaku. It finds menti...

Ikshvaku Architecture

Architecture patronised by the rulers of the Ikshvaku dynasty (c. fourth...

Illusionism

A technique in painting, sculpture and architecture where the artwork si...

Impasto

A painting technique in which paint is thickly applied to the canvas, cr...

India House, London

The premises of the High Commission of India in London, UK. The proposal...

India Ink

Also known as Chinese ink or Indian ink, it is a black pigment commonly ...

India International Centre

A convention centre in New Delhi, India, known for organising lectures a...

India International Photographic Council

An international photography organisation established in 1983 in New Del...

India Office Records, British Library

The publications, printed maps, archive and public records of the East I...

Indian Amateur’s Photographic Album

A monthly periodical produced by William Johnson and William Henderson a...

Indian Printmakers Guild

An organisation established in 1990 to generate interest in printmaking ...

Indo-Greek Sculpture

Sculptural art characterised by the merging of Indian and Hellenistic tr...

Indoo Shivdasani

Indoo Shivdasani (b. 1918; d. 1979) was a businessman and philanthropist...

Indra

A major Vedic deity, he is believed to be the king of the realm of gods ...

Indus Valley Civilisation

A Bronze Age civilisation located along the basin of the Indus river, in...

Inlaks Fine Art Award

An award given annually by the Inlaks Foundation to four or five emergin...

Inlay

An ornamentation technique in sculpture and the decorative arts, where w...

Intermedia

Similar to multimedia art, this is a term used to describe interdiscipli...

Ionic Style

One of the three canonical orders of Western Classical architecture, it ...

Ira Bhaskar

An Indian scholar of film studies, as well as a professor and former dea...

Ish Sherawat

An artist working with sound and electronic media. His projects include ...

Ismail Suleiman Khatri

Ismail Suleiman Khatri (b. 1937; d. 2014) was an Indian master practitio...

Ithyphallic

The depiction of a figure, usually a deity, with an erect phallus. This ...

Jaali

Latticed screen windows often found in Islamic architecture, typically m...

Jagannatha Murlidhar Ahivasi

Jagannatha Murlidhar Ahivasi (b. 1901; d. 1973) was an Indian artist and...

Jainamaz

A floor mat or rug used for namaz or daily prayer in mosques. From the P...

Jairam Das

An artist in nineteenth-century Patna, who painted topographical views a...

Jaishri Abichandani

Jaishri Abichandani (b. 1966) is a Brooklyn-based artist and curator wor...

Jambavati Kalyanam

A sixteenth-century Sanskrit play authored by the Vijayanagara ruler Kri...

Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy

Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy (b. 1783; d. 1859) was an Indian businessman and phi...

Janaka

In the Indian epic Ramayana, the father of Sita and father-in-law of Ram...

Janeu

The sacred thread worn Brahmin men after initiation rites of upanayana, ...

Jangla

Also known as jaal, it is a rich, dense scrolling pattern of floral and ...

Japanese Ink Wash Technique

Known as sumi-e (black ink painting) in Japanese, it is a painting techn...

Jataka

A large collection of approximately 550 stories about the Buddha’s forme...

Jatamakuta

A hairstyle or headdress in the Indian iconographic tradition in which l...

Jatamukuta

A hairstyle made of braided, matted or curled hair that is also lavishly...

Jati Dor

A local plant found in Odisha, its inner bark is used by the women of th...

Jaya

In Hindu religious mythology, he is an attendant of the deity Vishnu. Al...

Jaykumar Shankar

An artist specialising in handpainting monochrome photographs. In additi...

JC Harle

JC Harle is an English art historian specialising in South Indian art an...

Jhabla

A loose-fitting blouse worn by women as part of an ensemble. It also ref...

Jhalar

A strip of brightly coloured paper, cloth or plastic that is used to cra...

Jinas

Also known as Tirthankaras, jinas are teachers and guides who lead their...

Jivan Ram

A nineteenth century artist who worked between Delhi, Meerut and Patna a...

Joda

Meaning “pair," it is a set of garments comprising a chadar (shawl) and ...

John Forbes Watson

John Forbes Watson (b.1827; d.1892) was a physician and writer. Watson s...

John Murray

A Scottish-born doctor who started making photographs c. 1849, while wor...

John Wilson

John Wilson (b. 1804; d. 1875) was a Scottish Christian missionary, educ...

Journal of the Photographic Society of Bombay

A monthly journal established by the Photographic Society of Bombay in 1...

Jyotirlinga

An aniconic representation of the Hindu deity Shiva in the form of a lin...

Kairi

A floral motif, it resembles a green mango with a slightly curved tip. A...

Kaitabha

A demon in Hindu mythology who emerged from Vishnu's earwax and was kill...

Kajli Siyahi

A technique associated with the Patna School, where paintings are render...

Kala Ratna

Established in 1988, Kala Ratna is awarded by the All India Fine Arts an...

Kalachuri Dynasty

A name adopted by three major Indian dynasties. The earliest known Kalac...

Kalahasti

A temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva, located in the town of Kala...

Kali

Also known as Dakshina Kalika, she is a Hindu goddess and aspect of Shak...

Kalinga War

A war fought between the independent kingdom of Kalinga and the Mauryan ...

Kalpavriksha

Also known as the kalpataru or kalpadruma, it is a sacred, wish-granting...

Kalyana Mandapa

A pavilion found within a temple complex that is used to celebrate the d...

Kama

In Hinduism, Kama is the god of love and desire. Some of his iconographi...

Kamadahana Panel

A depiction of the mythological episode of the Kamadahana, which means “...

Kamala Dongerkery

Kamala Dongerkery (b. 1909; d.1992) was an art and culture historian, so...

Kamasutra

An ancient Sanskrit text on sexuality and eroticism, dating to c. 400 BC...

Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription

A bilingual edict, written in Greek and Aramaic, dating to c. 260 BCE. I...

Kanha

Kanha (b. n.d.; d. c. 1590) was a miniature painter in the court of Mugh...

Kani

A term referring to both the weaving technique and the final textile cre...

Kanishka

Kanishka (b. n.d.; d. n.d.) was the third emperor of the Kushan Empire (...

Kanjur

A sacred text of the Tibetan Buddhist canon that outlines the principles...

Kankaladhara

A form of the Hindu deity, Shiva, in which he is shown with a kankala-da...

Kapil Jariwala

Kapil Jariwala (b. n.d.) is an independent curator and art dealer. He es...

Kapotabandha

In Indian temple architecture, it is a style of decorative moulding seen...

Karanda Makuta

A conical, multi-tiered headdress or crown found in Indian iconographic ...

Karigar

A regional term used in parts of northern, central and western India to ...

Karma

A philosophical concept in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, and ...

Karva Chauth

A Hindu festival, it is primarily celebrated by women in northern India ...

Kasavu

The gold zari used in the border of a traditional white Kerala textile, ...

Kashika Vastra

Meaning “clothes from Kashi” in Sanskrit, it is a possible reference to ...

Kataka Hasta

A single-handed mudra or gesture in the South Asian iconographic traditi...

Katorna

The process of trimming extra threads on the reverse side of a brocade a...

Katyavalambita Mudra

A single-handed mudra or gesture found in South Asian iconographic tradi...

Kaurvaki

Kaurvaki (b. 288 BCE; d. n.d.) was the second queen of the Mauryan king ...

Kaushalya

The seniormost queen of King Dasaratha, she appears in the Hindu epic Ra...

Kayotsarga Pose

A meditation posture in Jainism, it is frequently observed in artistic d...

Kerala Kalapeedam, Kochi

An arts institution and cultural space established in 1978 in Kochi, Ker...

Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi

Founded in 1958 and located in Thrissur, it is an arts and culture insti...

Kerang

A coarse bark cloth made by women of the Gadaba community in Odisha. The...

Kevala

A concept in Jainism that pertains to omniscience or the attainment of s...

Khadgapurusha

The anthropomorphic representation of Vishnu's sword as a male figure, f...

Khadi Paper

A traditional Indian handmade paper produced from khadi rags.

Khanzada Begum

Khanzada Begum (b. c.1478; d. 1545) was the elder sister of the Mughal e...

Khapa Sari

Also known as patiya sari, it is a tussar silk sari characterised by ext...

Kharoshthi

An ancient writing system used in parts of present-day central Asia, Afg...

Khasarpana

An esoteric form of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara that emerged due to t...

Khat

A motif found predominantly in kota doria, which uses cotton as warp and...

Khatri

A community of predominantly Kshatriya Hindus, as well as Muslims and Si...

Khil’At

A loose, long-sleeved outer robe made of silk or cotton, commonly worn i...

Khombi

An odhani (veil) worn by brides of the Khatri community and Muslim commu...

Kinkhwab

Meaning “little dream,” it is a woven brocade, characterised by a dense ...

Kinnara

A celestial being in Buddhist and Hindu texts, legends and art, depicted...

Kirata

A Sanskrit term for people inhabiting areas in the Himalayas and the nor...

Kishore Singh

A critic and curator with the Delhi Art Gallery. At the time of writing,...

KL Syed

KL Syed (b. 1880; d. 1941) was a photographer who served as the official...

Kolam

An art form practised in Tamil Nadu that consists of lines, loops and cu...

Konagamana Buddha

The twenty-third Buddha in the Theravada Buddhist tradition and the fift...

Konia

A motif placed at the corner of a textile design. It is often a stylised...

Korravai

One of the earliest documented deities in Tamil Sangam literature, she i...

Kotavi

A form of the Hindu goddess Durga, she is a tutelary deity of the Daitya...