Rupa to Publish Body Sutra: Tracing the human form through art & imagination by Alka Pande

(INR 2500, 272pp)


‘O scion of Bharata, you should understand that I am also the knower in all bodies and to understand this body and its knower is called knowledge.’

—Bhagavad Gita

The body has always been central to Indian art, thought, literature and even religion. In Body Sutra, renowned art historian Alka Pande celebrates the body by capturing both its beauty and divinity in an artistic-cum-historical journey. This book is inarguably the definitive and a truly authoritative work on the literary and artistic representation of the body, and combines rare Indian literature with the most stunning visualdocumentation of the body ever.

Picture Credit: Rupa
Picture Credit: Rupa

Over time, the artistic representation of the body developed its own iconography. Drawing from the canonical Shilpa Shastras, where the idealized body becomes more corporeal, it goes on to attain a classical perfection in the Gupta Age, when the sensuous and the sacred came together. Dr Pande traces the shifting patterns of the representation of the body through 5,000 years of history, from the ancient to the contemporary. Body Sutra also gives an extraordinary insight into India’s pluralistic and diverse culture.

This masterful treatise beautifully weaves together poetry, prose, well-researched text and over two hundred stunning images. With almost each page like a work of art, the book is definitely a collector’s item.

Body Sutra is a book that will be talked about for decades.


DR ALKA PANDE is one of India’s leading art historians and curators. She has not only curated several significant exhibitions in India and abroad, but also set up museums. Widely awarded for her contribution in the field of arts, she has received the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government; the Australia-India Council Special Award; the L’Oréal Paris Femina Woman of the Year in Design and Arts; and the Amrita Sher-Gil Samman by the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi.

Some of her prominent books are Ardhanarishvara, the Androgyne: Probing the Gender Within; The New Age Kamasutra for Women; and Shringara: The Many faces of Indian Beauty. Dr Pande is currently the consultant art advisor and curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the IndiaHabitat Centre in New Delhi.

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