Cummings book sheds new light on historic Indian temple
In her first book, Associate Professor of Art History Cathleen Cummings, Ph.D., explores the visual images and symbols of an eighth century Indian temple built by a queen.
Queen Lokamahadevi, the chief wife of the early Chalukya king Vikramaditya II, began construction of the Virupaksha Temple in approximately A.D. 733 at the dynasty’s royal consecration site of Pattadakal in Karnataka, India. It is widely considered one of the most important of the freestanding structures erected during the Chalukya era, and it represents the zenith of temple construction of its period, Cummings said.
“Although this temple has been studied for more than a century and appears in virtually every textbook on Indian art, its iconographic program has never been fully explored,” said Cummings, author of “Decoding a Hindu Temple: Royalty and Religion in the Iconographic Program of the Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal.”
The visual images and symbols express royal aspirations, both material and spiritual, and past successes. Specific imagery legitimizes the king through references to his genealogy and lineage, his royal marriage, his defeats of rival monarchs and his role in upholding the social order, she says.
It is available for purchase on Amazon.