Soumya James

Independent Art Historian



  • James, S. 2011. “The symbiosis of image, monument and landscape: A study of select goddess images at Prasat Kravan, Kbal Spean and Banteay Srei in Cambodia.” Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell University.
    In my dissertation, I examine how landscape was manipulated to interact with the 11th century reclining Vishnu and Lakshmi images on Kbal Spean to articulate localized Tantric beliefs, and their link to the Angkorean water management network. Additionally, the 10th century Durga Mahishasuramardini carving at Banteay Srei requiring human interaction to augment its meaning, appears to encapsulate ritual performance of animal sacrifice within its static representation. I suggest that the divine feminine had a critical religious and eco-political presence in the Angkor period.
  • James, S. 1998. "Local history of a temple: A case study of the Darasuram Airavatesvara temple between 1146 A.D. and 1486 A.D." M.Phil. dissertation, University of Hyderabad.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

  • James, S. 2007. “O Goddess Where Art Thou? Reexamining the Female Divine Presence in Khmer Art.” Southeast Asia Program Bulletin (Fall 2007). Access via Cornell eCommons.

Submitted for peer review

  • James, S. 2016 (submitted). "Embedding meanings in text, image and context: The reclining Visnu and Laksmi carvings at Phnom Kulen." Archives of Asian Art.

Books and book chapters

  • James, S. 2014. “Durgā and Śiva at Banteay Srei: Blurring boundaries between monument, image and practice.” In Asian encounters: Exploring connected histories, edited by P. P. Dhar and U. Singh. Oxford University Press. Library, Publisher.

    Some reviews:

Non-academic writing

  • ‘P.S.Nandhan’, in Cholamandal – An Artists’ Village, Oxford University Press, 2004
  • ‘Anila Jacob; in Cholamandal – An Artists’ Village, Oxford University Press, 2004
  • ‘Dawn of New Age’, review of the small format bronze sculpture exhibition at Cholamandal Artists’ Village, published in the features supplement ‘Express Week’ of The New Indian Express, 2 December 2000
  • ‘Sacred Manifestation’, review of an exhibition of Tibetan Tankha paintings held in Chennai, published in the ‘Express Week’ of The New Indian Express, 12 August 2000
  • ‘New Dimensions’, review of a one-man show of modern Indian art in ‘Express Week’, of The New Indian Express, 5 August 2000
  • ‘V.R. Raviram’, a physically challenged artist in Ability, published by Ability Foundation, Chennai, October 2000
  • Review of the small format bronze exhibition held at Cholamandal Artists’ Village, in Art Deal, a journal published by the Art Deal gallery in New Delhi, 2000