- Gandharan Buddhist Reliquaries
Gandhara, the ancient name for the region around modern Peshawar in northern Pakistan, was of pivotal importance in the production of Buddhist texts and art in the first centuries CE. Since the mid-nineteenth century, excavations of Gandharan monastery sites have revolutionized the study of early Buddhism. Among the treasures unearthed are hundreds of reliquaries--containers housing relics of the Buddha.
This volume combines art history, Buddhist history, ancient Indian history, archaeology, epigraphy, linguistics, and numismatics to clarify the significance and function of these reliquaries. The story begins with the Buddha's last days, his death and funerary arrangements, and the distribution of the cremated remains, which initiated a relic cult. Chapters describe Gandharan reliquary types and subgroups, the archaeological and historical significance of collections, and the paleographic and linguistic interpretation of the inscriptions on the reliquaries.
The 400 reliquaries illustrated and surveyed are from museums and private collections in Pakistan, India, Japan, Europe, and North America. Stone is the primary material of construction, along with bronze, gold, and silver. Shapes range from spherical and cylindrical to miniature stupas, a configuration that provides valuable information about the history of this Buddhist monumental form.
- Cities of the Dead: The Ancestral Cemeteries of Kyrgyzstan
A Kyrgyz cemetery seen from a distance is astonishing. The ornate domes and minarets, tightly clustered behind stone walls, seem at odds with this desolate mountain region. Islam, the prominent religion in the region since the twelfth century, discourages tombstones or decorative markers. However, elaborate Kyrgyz tombs combine earlier nomadic customs with Muslim architectural forms. After the territory was formally incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1876, enamel portraits for the deceased were attached to the Muslim monuments. Yet everything within the walls is overgrown with weeds, for it is not Kyrgyz tradition for the living to frequent the graves of the dead.
Architecturally unique, Kyrgyzstan's dramatically sited cemeteries reveal the complex nature of the Kyrgyz people's religious and cultural identities. Often said to have left behind few permanent monuments or books, the Kyrgyz people in fact left behind a magnificent legacy when they buried their dead.
Traveling in Kyrgyzstan, photographer Margaret Morton became captivated by the otherworldly grandeur of these cemeteries. Cities of the Dead: The Ancestral Cemeteries of Kyrgyzstan collects the photographs she made on several visits to the area and is an important contribution to the architectural and cultural record of this region.
Watch the book trailer: https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=haaOw6cx1yk
- Sacred Leaves of Candomble: African Magic, Medicine, and Religion in Brazil
Candomble, an African religious and healing tradition that spread to Brazil during the slave trade, relies heavily on the use of plants in its spiritual and medicinal practices. When its African adherents were forcibly transplanted to the New World, they faced the challenge not only of maintaining their culture and beliefs in the face of European domination but also of finding plants with similar properties to the ones they had used in Africa. This book traces the origin, diffusion, medicinal use, and meaning of Candomble's healing pharmacopoeia--the sacred leaves. Robert Voeks examines such topics as the biogeography of Africa and Brazil, the transference--and transformation--of Candomble as its adherents encountered both native South American belief systems and European Christianity, and the African system of medicinal plant classification that allowed Candomble to survive and even thrive in the New World. This research casts new light on topics ranging from the creation of African American cultures to tropical rain forest healing floras.
- The Covarrubias Circle: Nickolas Muray's Collection of Twentieth-Century Mexican Art
New York in the 1920s and 1930s was a modernist mecca that drew artists, writers, and other creators of culture from around the globe. Two such expatriates were Mexican artist and Renaissance man Miguel Covarrubias and Hungarian photographer Nickolas Muray. Their lifelong friendship gave Muray an entree into Covarrubias's circle of fellow Mexican artists--Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo, Juan Soriano, Fernando Castillo, Guillermo Meza, Roberto Montenegro, and Rafael Navarro--whose works Muray collected. This outstanding body of Mexican modernist art, now owned by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC) at the University of Texas at Austin, forms the subject of this beautifully illustrated volume.
Produced in conjunction with the Ransom Center's exhibition "Miguel Covarrubias: A Certain Clairvoyance," this volume contains color plates of virtually all the items in Nickolas Muray's collection of twentieth-century Mexican art. The majority of the works are by Covarrubias, while the excellent works by the other artists reflect the range of aesthetic shifts and modernist influences of the period in Mexico. Accompanying the plates are five original essays that establish Covarrubias's importance as a modernist impresario as influential in his sphere as Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and Jean Cocteau were in theirs. Likewise, the essays reestablish the significance of Nickolas Muray, whose success as a master of color photography, portraiture, advertising imagery, and commercial illustration has made him difficult to place within the history of photography as a fine art.
As a whole, this publication of the Nickolas Muray Collection vividly illustrates the transgression of generic boundaries and the cross-fertilization among artists working in different media, from painting and photography to dance and ethnography, that gave modernism its freshness and energy. It also demonstrates that American modernism was thoroughly infused with a fervor for all things Mexican, of which Covarrubias was a principal proponent, and that Mexican modernists, no less than their American and European counterparts, answered Pound's call to "make it new."
- Xs All Areas: The Status Quo Autobiography
Quo are the most successful band in British history after the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. From 1973 to the mid-80s they had a string of hits, including 'Down, Down', 'Rockin' All Over the World', 'Again and Again,' 'What You're Proposing' - all classic rock anthems. When the band imploded, and the other members left, Rossi and Parfitt reinvented Quo for the 90s and kept going, touring constantly and winning new fans. The story of Status Quo is essentially the story of two people: Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. It is the story of two outwardly very different characters - Rossi, the moody insecure one, Parfitt, the smiling, permanently at ease golden boy - who against the odds forged an unlikely yet enduring bond that would see them through the dizzying highs and terrifying lows of a forty-year career. Rossi and Parfitt admit that in the past they've hidden some of the truth about their lives, unable to admit quite how out of control things were even to themselves. Now they tell it all - the drug-taking, the marriage breakdowns, Parfitt's brush with death when he was forced to undergo bypass surgery. From their early days as a sixties pop band through the massive international success of the seventies to the present day, this is an explosive, no-holds-barred autobiography from two of Britain's most enduring rock stars.