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Stewart, Mary Loretta (1988) Nalanda Mahavihara: An Historiographic Study of Its Art and Archaeology, 1812-1938. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The art historical and archaeological literature on Nalanda Mahavihara maintains that it was a centre of intellectual, cultural and artistic activity in the Gupta and Pala periods, spreading its influence beyond the borders of India. It was investigated and excavated under the British administration of the Archaeological Survey of India from 1861 to 1938. Yet in that period there appeared no western comprehensive study of Nalanda, its architecture and artefacts to bear out these claims. The purpose of this thesis is to examine western literature and archaeological records to determine how Nalanda's reputation was established and why an extensive analysis was not done during that period. The Nalanda material is presented within the intellectual context for the study of Indian Buddhism and art history in the early 20th century. The thesis is divided into four parts: (1) An overview of the intellectual context for Indian Buddhism, its art and architecture; (2) an analysis of the accounts of Nalanda of the early antiquarians; (3) an examination of the reports of the Archaeological Surveys of India, 1861-1938, and (4) an analysis of the French and English translations of the accounts of Nalanda of visiting Chinese monks.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:31

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