Jinah Kims new book, Garlands of Visions: Color, Tantra, and a Material History of Indian Painting, explores the generative relationships between artistic intelligence and tantric vision practices in the construction and circulation of visual knowledge in medieval South Asia. Shifting away from the traditional connoisseur approach, Jinah Kim instead focuses on the materiality of painting: its mediums, its visions, and especially its colors.She argues that the adoption of a special type of manuscript called pothi enabled the material translation of a private and internal experience of "seeing" into a portable device. These mobile and intimate objects then became important conveyors of many forms of knowledge—ritual, artistic, social, scientific, and religious—and spurred the spread of visual knowledge of Indic Buddhism to distant lands. By taking color as the material link between a vision and its artistic output, Garland of Visions presents a fresh approach to the history of Indian painting.
"I am in awe of this book. Jinah Kim controls a stunning range of information, both verbal and visual, that she uses as the basis for her brilliant insights. Elegantly written, entirely
pioneering, and fully persuasive, this is a book of enormous importance."—Frederick M. Asher, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota
"This is a paradigm-changing work. By linking together a dizzying array of concerns in this exploration of visionary practice and color, Jinah Kim complicates long-held assumptions about religious imagery in India and produces remarkable insights. The book is sure to create new paths of scholarly inquiry in a wide range of fields."—Janice Leoshko, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin
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