Sugata Ray’s ‘Climate Change and the Art of Devotion’

July 13, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Over the last couple of decades a deepening awareness of human dependence on climatic stability has created a surge of interest among historians in earlier eras of climatic disruption. Much of this interest has been focused on the so-called Little Ice Age that peaked in the 17th and early 18th centuries.

This fascinating, and rapidly growing, body of work has tended, however, to be centered on certain specific themes and regions. Thematically the focus is usually on political issues, broadly speaking, rather than literature, culture and the arts. Geographically the focus is usually on Europe and North America, rather than, say, Asia or Africa.

This is why Sugata Ray’s Climate Change and the Art of Devotion: Geoaesthetics in the Land of Krishna 1550-1850 is doubly welcome: because it is focused on the art and architecture of the city of Mathura, in ‘the enchanted world of Braj, the primary pilgrimage center in north India for worshippers of Krishna, (where) each stone, river and tree is considered sacred.’

Climate Change and the Art of Devotion is a wonderfully imaginative addition to the growing body of literature on the Little Ice Age. Sugata Ray traces the influence of climatic variations on South Asian art, architecture and devotional practices with extraordinary interpretive skill. This book is a must read for everyone with an interest in human responses to climate variability.


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