Indian Serpent-Lore, or the Nagas in Hindu Legend and Art.
London: Arthur Probsthain, 1926. First Edition. Hardcover. Quarto. xiv + 318pp (+ vipp. publisher's catalogue). + 30pp of b&w full-page plates not included in the pagination.. Original navy blue cloth with gilt title, etc. to spine and upper board. Index. A handsome study of the deified serpents or Nagas whose presence permeates Hindu and Buddhist lore. Superbly illustrated with full page black and white plates. As the author comments, Nagas appear in Indian literature and art in a seemingly endless variety of aspects, most commonly as a water spirit, but also as "the primitive type of the reptile endowed with the magic properties which we are wont to associate with the dragon of western fable," through to that of a shape-changing deity who can assume human form, sometimes appearing as a pious ascetic, or self-denying saint. Vogel said that his object with his volume was "to collect the legends relating to the Nagas which are found in the Brahmanical and Buddhist literature of India." The author, Prof. Jean Philippe Vogel (1872-1958), Sanskritist and archaeologist, was one of the great Indologists of the early twentieth century. Between 1899 and 1914 Vogel he travelled widely throughout India, observing first hand the extent and variety of Naga worship as he did so. He was also a Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Archaeology at the University of Leiden, and for a time Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey in India. Corners and spine ends bruised and lightly chafed, a little general light shelf-wear. Short, insignificant split at gutter of front endpaper hinge. Owner's name on half-title page, a minimal amount of very pale foxing to the first few leaves. Overall a lovely tight, fresh, clean VG+ copy and scarce thus (no dust jacket - possibly none issued). Item #70278