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Neeraja Poddar

Neeraja Poddar is The Ira Brind and Stacey Spector Associate Curator of South Asian Art at Philadelphia Museum of Art, and a Research Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Art History and Archaeology from Columbia University. Her area of expertise is early modern Indian painting, with research interests in historiography, materiality of books, relationships between text and image, and the translation and circulation of narrative. She also studies the painting traditions of Nepal.


Poddar has published on illustrated manuscripts and series of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa; her curatorial projects include Mewar Photographs, 1857-1947: A Glimpse into the Archive and the reinstallation of the South Asian galleries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She is currently working on a catalogue of the silver collection of The City Palace Museum, Udaipur, while writing her first monograph on Bhāgavata Purāṇa imagery. Poddar’s research has been supported by fellowships from the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, The Clark Art Institute, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the C. V. Starr Foundation, and Columbia University.

Role in the Project: As a collaborator in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa Research Project, Neeraja Poddar is helping broaden the scope of the project to the visual—where the Bhāgavata Purāṇa has many manifestations—and grow the network of scholars engaged in Bhāgavata studies. She participated in the National Conference on the Bhāgavata Purāṇa: History, Philosophy & Culture, held in Chennai, India, in 2017, and contributed to the resulting peer-reviewed publication. Poddar has taken the lead in organizing a conference devoted to Bhāgavata imagery, to be held at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies in 2020. She is writing her first monograph, which takes an interdisciplinary and transregional approach to the analysis of illustrated manuscripts and series of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa produced in northern India during the early modern period, and is working on a digital database to facilitate their exploration. This is in addition to Bhāgavata-themed conference presentations, public lectures, seminars, and museum and online learning resources.

Bhagavata-related Publications:

  • “Re-framing” the Bhāgavata: Preservation and Reuse in South Asian Illustrated Manuscripts,” Journal of Hindu Studies, Volume 11, Issue 2 (August, 2018), pp.116-132.

  • “Krishna goes to War: Translating the Bhāgavata’s Battle Scenes,” International Journal of Hindu Studies, Volume 22, No. 1 (April, 2018), pp.105-122.

  • “Scattered Stories: Two Rijksmuseum Bhāgavata Illustrations in Context,” Aziatische Kunst, Volume 48, No. 1 (March, 2018), pp.20-29.

  • “Incarnations of the Bhagavata” and 21 catalogue entries in Marika Sardar, ed., Epic Tales from Ancient India: Paintings from The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego: San Diego Museum of Art, 2016.

  • Krishna’s Earthly Paradise: Two Shrine Hangings from H. Peter Stern, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2016 (with Darielle Mason).​

  • “Matsya,” “Kurma,” “Narasimha,” “Parashurama,” “Kalki,” “Attributes,” “Garuda” and 34 catalogue entries in Joan Cummins, ed., Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior, Ahmedabad: Mapin Publishing and Nashville: Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 2011.



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