Iconography of Maritime Machinery in Ancient India

By Bhavyashree GNS, Research Intern, Maritime History Society

According to the Cambridge dictionary, the term ‘iconography’ refers to the use of images and symbols to represent ideas or the particular images and symbols used by a religious or political group. In simple words, iconography is concerned with the visual aspect of the study in regard to ideas, cultures, and the study of these. Iconography is considered as an important aspect as it makes use of various symbols, themes, and subject matter to convey meaning of the work.[1] Continue reading “Iconography of Maritime Machinery in Ancient India”

The Makara: Transforming a mythical creature into an object of Art

By Dennard H D’Souza ,Research Associate, Maritime History Society

My first encounter with the Makara was on a gateway of the Sanchi stupa. It featured a man wrestling with a serpentine monster geared with tusks of an elephant. Little was I aware of the creature and its significance in the Indian scheme of tradition. All of a sudden, it appeared in bas-reliefs and sculpture in lands as far as Japan. This set me thinking about the concept of Makara as a marine being that suddenly became a decorative motif all throughout Asia.

The Makara is a mythical creature which resides in the depth of the waters, where it lives in a state of elusive isolation. Like all mythical creatures, the Makara too has many fantastical descriptions. But most plastic representations  portray it to be serpentine with a mouth of a crocodile and tusks and snout of an elephant.

Continue reading “The Makara: Transforming a mythical creature into an object of Art”