Crafting Geology and Art: The Publications of Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1877- 1947)
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At the beginning of the twentieth century discussion about the merits of South Asian art markedly increased as the topic became embroiled in the movement for Indian self-rule at the same time as it emerged as a significant source for modernist artists in the West. An interesting participant in such discussions was Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy who was a prominent scholar of South Asian art. Although born in Sri Lanka (Sri Lankan father, English mother), he was raised in England where he studied geology at University College, London and obtained a doctorate in mineralogy. But in 1907 he abandoned his scientific career in order to become a cultural scholar. His transformation reflects a journey taken by many others in the early twentieth century who sought a new order of things for the world. This display centers on publications from the period of this transformation which begins while Coomaraswamy lived in Sri Lanka (1903-1907) to the time that he permanently moves to the United States to be a curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (1917). The works here are but a small part of his prolific production but still demonstrate something of his range.