Books about Indian Visual Culture

From textiles to bollywood posters, matchboxes to calendars, comic books to street signs, India’s visual culture is a riot of colours and stories. Learn more about it from this collection of books.
India's Immortal Comic Books: Gods, Kings, and Other Heroes (Contemporary Indian Studies)
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India's Immortal Comic Books: Gods, Kings, and Other Heroes (Contemporary Indian Studies)

by Karline McLain

About the book:  Combining entertainment and education, India's most beloved comic book series, Amar Chitra Katha, or "Immortal Picture Stories," is also an important cultural institution that has helped define, for several generations of readers, what it means to be Hindu and Indian. Karline McLain worked in the ACK production offices and had many conversations with Anant Pai, founder and publisher, and with artists, writers, and readers about why the comics are so popular and what messages they convey. In this intriguing study, she explores the making of the comic books and the kinds of editorial and ideological choices that go into their production.

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The Fabric of India
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The Fabric of India

by Rosemary Crill

About the book:  This sumptuous book is a wide-ranging, yet accessible, overview of the making, design, and use of textiles from the Indian subcontinent...

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Sar
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Sar

by Swapnaa Tamhane,Rashmi Varma

About the book:  An exploration of the timeless beauty of Indian design through 200 classic objects. The Indian subcontinent is an amalgamation of peoples, cultures, languages and philosophies. Throughout history Indian culture has been subject to myriad different influences, from the Mughal empire to the British Raj to the now globalized nation in transition. Similar to 'Wa: Essence of Japanese Design', this book will trace continuity through the history of Indian design from antiquity to the present day. The book explores the elements that make Indian design so special, including the varied manufacturing and decorating techniques of the country’s incredibly skilled craftsmen, highly specialized object designs that have been refined over centuries, and ongoing responses to nature, technology, and necessity. The objects were chosen for their enduring quality and beauty, and their integral connection to Indian culture. Rather than following a chronological order or concentrating on the (often anonymous) designers, this book separates the objects into abstract categories anchored by Hindi words chosen to illuminate how each object fits into the lives of Indians.

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Cinema India
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Cinema India

by Rachel Dwyer,Divia Patel

About the book:  As the largest producer of films in the world, Indian cinema is both a major industry and a distinctive art form that permeates daily life in that country and shapes emerging global cultures elsewhere. While much has been written on the history of Indian cinema, its iconography and aesthetics have yet to be analyzed as reflections of national and cultural identities. In this important new work, Rachel Dwyer and Divia Patel focus on the development of Bombay-based commercial cinema since 1913, exploring the symbolic role of settings and costumes in staging the nation and the function of makeup and hairstyles in defining notions of beauty, sexuality, and consumption. The authors also examine how factors such as ethnicity, modernization, and Westernization impact reception of film along caste, region, language, and religious lines. The economic influence of advertising in actually determining film content and the dissemination of its imagery are also discussed. Film studies scholars recently have begun to investigate advertising in the film industry and this book makes an important contribution to this emerging subfield in its engagement with Indian cinema and the impact of advertising on the culture at large.

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Gods in the Bazaar
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Gods in the Bazaar

by Kajri Jain

About the book:  DIVA theoretically informed cultural study of the design, production, and circulation of Indian calendar art./div

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Street Graphics India
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Street Graphics India

by Barry Dawson

About the book:  "Much of today's most exuberant, most creative and most telling imagery is all around us, in the street. Nowehere is the visual cornucopia more striking than in India, whose streets are a continuous gallery of images vibrantly portraying the country's rich cultural doversity. From Arabian Sea to Indian Ocean, Northern Himalayas to southernmost tip, the subcontinent's overwhelming profusion of art and design excites the eyes. Street furniture, architecture, transport, billboards, posters, packaging, animals and people are all used as the media of calculated design and spontaneous expression. Ancient and modern, permanent and transient, India's street art has evolved in myriad styles reflecting regional variation and concerns." - back cover.

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India Bazaar. Vintage Indian Graphics. Ediz. inglese, francese e tedesca
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India Bazaar. Vintage Indian Graphics. Ediz. inglese, francese e tedesca

by Samantha Harrison

About the book:  THAT'S INDIA FOR YOU!KNOWN AS ""BAZAAR"" OR ""CALENDAR"" ART, THESE GRAPHICS ARE FOUND THROUGHOUT INDIA ON POSTERS, PACKAGING, ADVERTISEMENTS, AND CALENDARS. THE COLORFUL PRINTS DEPICT SECULAR, RELIGIOUS, OR EVEN POLITICAL SCENES PEOPLED WITH ANIMALS, GODS, CHILDREN, WOMEN, AND HEROES. RECENTLY THEY'VE BECOME A HOT EXPORT AND HAVE MADE APPEARANCES ON CD COVERS, CLOTHING, AND FASHION ACCESSORIES AROUND THE GLOBE. PICK UP A COY OF INDIA BAZAAR TO CHECK OUT THE LIKES OF KRISHNA AND KALI, DULDUL AND BABA DEEP SINGH, THE IDEAL BOY, AND CHANDRA SHEKHAR AZAD IN THIS WACKY, MULTI-HUED COLLECTION OF CALENDAR ART.

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Light of India
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Light of India

by Warren Dotz

About the book:  With all the zany vibrancy of a Bollywood musical, the colorful matchbox labels of LIGHT OF INDIA present a fascinating confluence of popular culture and a sophisticated graphic arts tradition that stretches back for centuries. Populated with pouncing Bengal tigers, regal jungle elephants, and Hindu gods and goddesses, these miniature masterpieces are worlds unto themselves, skillfully illustrated with a naive yet irresistible charm. This delightful art book is sure to fire the imagination of all who wish to study, preserve, and celebrate India's more humble, but no less brilliant, visual arts heritage. A dazzling collection of more than 300 vintage matchbox labels from India, dating from the turn of the century through the 1950s. Includes a discussion of Hindu iconography, recurring visual themes and symbols, and the cultural and historical significance of matchbox art. A great resource for graphic artists and designers, collectors of paper ephemera or advertising art, and students of Indian culture. Gift edition slipcase includes a textured novelty "striker strip" along the spine.

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Matchbook
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Matchbook

by Shahid Datawala

About the book:  A groundbreaking treasure-trove of striking graphic design curios from the Indian matchbox marketplace.

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The Art of Bollywood
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The Art of Bollywood

by Edo Bouman,Rajesh Devraj

About the book:  The Bombay-based Indian film industry--Bollywood--has developed a unique visual language, articulated by the vivid hand-painted movie posters that have since become highly desirable collectors' items. This volume presents the original art in its true glory.

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Bollywood Posters
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Bollywood Posters

by Jeremy Pinto,Sheena Sippy

About the book:  A provocative assessment of movie posters from India spans the complete history of Hindi movies and offers insight into Bollywood's considerable and growing contributions in both film and poster art. Original.

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Bollywood in Posters
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Bollywood in Posters

by S.M. M. Ausaja

About the book:  A rare compilation of hand-printed as well as digitalized landmark Hindi film posters from the 1930s to the present - both tracing the journey of an art form and the evolution of cinema in India. The text accompanying each poster carries a synopsis, banner, details of cast and technical crew, date of release, famous songs, awards won, and some lesser-known anecdotes about the film. The posters are from young Hindi film buff, S M M Ausaja's personal collection of posters, lobby cards, record album covers and other memorabilia.

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