Ellen Raven

The emergence of the early Gupta style in gold coins and non-miniaturized arts

By the end of the 4th century CE, subtle changes hail the emergence of a new stylistic vocabulary for the North Indian arts of the Gupta period. It expresses itself through rock-cut reliefs at sites of worship, through terracotta panels lining brick temples for the Hindu gods, and via an opulent imagery applied in gold coins. These coins were struck from the time of King
Samudragupta, around 350, until the very end of Gupta rule by the early 6th century. Their manufacture runs parallel with that of early and mature sculptural arts in media other than gold. Although important studies exist for the sculptural styles of the early Gupta age, the numismatic manifestation of this new vocabulary remains virtually unstudied. Certain continuities and
innovations in visual designs of the early Gupta period (both in sculpture and in gold) illustrate coherence in workmanship transcending the limits of individual media.

Ellen Raven (PhD with honors, Leiden University 1991) lectures in arts and material culture of South Asia at Leiden University, The Netherlands. She specializes in iconographies and styles of early Indian arts and architecture. Her research focuses on numismatics of the Gupta period in North India (4th-6th cent. AD), in particular, the gold coins of the period. She is the general editor in the international bibliographic project ABIA South and Southeast Asian Art and Archaeology Index and secretary of the European
Association of South Asian Archaeology and Art.

Co-Sponsored by University of Wisconsin Lectures Committee.