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Grant number like: FT-55470-07

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Karline Marie McLain
Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA 17837-2005)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2007 – 7/31/2007

Envisioning Hinduism: Raja Ravi Varma and the Visual Canon

This project is a study of artist Raja Ravi Varma’s (1848-1906) contribution to modern Hinduism. Through interviews with god poster artists, temple priests, and household devotees, I will explore Varma’s lasting impact on which gods Hindus worship, how Hindus picture the divine, and how Hindus define Hinduism. Several scholars have examined the ways in which many regional religious traditions were subsumed under the category “Hinduism” in the late nineteenth century, focusing on literary figures. My project argues that the articulation of a modern, united Hindu identity was accomplished not only through written texts, but was simultaneously accomplished through printed images – and Varma’s lithographs were at the heart of this process.