Karen Pechilis et al. ed., "Devotional Visualities: Seeing Bhakti in Indic Material Cultures" (Bloomsbury, 2023)


Devotional Visualities: Seeing Bhakti in Indic Material Cultures (Bloomsbury, 2023) is the first to focus on material visualities of bhakti imagery that inspire, shape, convey, and expand both the visual practices of devotional communities, as well as possibilities for extending the reach of devotion in society in new and often unexpected ways. Communities of interpreters of bhakti images discussed in this book include not only a number of distinctive Hindu bhakti groups, but also artisans, diaspora women, South Asian Sufis, businessmen, dancers, and filmmakers.

This book's identification of devotional practices of looking, such as materializing memory, mirroring and immaterializing portraits, and shaping the return look, connect material and visual cultures as well as illustrate modes of established and experimental image usage.

Bhakti is one of the most-studied aspects of Indic devotionalism on account of its expression through emotive poetry, song, and vivid hagiographies of saints. The diverse devotional visualities analyzed in this book meaningfully circulate bhakti images in past and present, generating their renewed relationship to contemporary concerns.

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Raj Balkaran

Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com.

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