Coomaraswamy, Ananda K. (Ananda Kentish), 1877-1947

Alternative names
Birth 1877-08-22
Death 1947-09-09
Sri Lankans

Biographical notes:

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy was a Ceylonese-born, English-educated, American art historian, philosopher, and author. Stella Bloch, Coomaraswamy's third wife, was a student of Indian dance, art, and philosophy and co-authored several articles with Coomaraswamy. Although they divorced in 1930, they maintained a friendly correspondence, discussing art, philosophy, and Coomaraswamy's works.

From the description of Stella Bloch papers relating to Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, 1890-1985 (bulk 1917-1930) (Princeton University Library). WorldCat record id: 81612351

Coomaraswamy was a pioneer historian of Indian art and culture. He was the research fellow in Indian, Persian, and Muslim art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston from 1916-1947.

From the guide to the Papers on The nature of Buddhist art, 1919-1920., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Coomaraswamy was an historian of Indian art and culture; and a research fellow in Indian, Persian, and Muslim art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1916-1947.

From the description of Papers on The Nature of Buddhist art, 1919-1920 and undated. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 80617144

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy was a noted art historian and champion of Ceylonese and Indian culture. Born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), in 1877, Coomaraswamy moved to England in 1879 and attended Wycliffe College, a preparatory school, from the age of 12. In 1900, he graduated from University College, London, with a degree in geology and botany, and in 1906, he received a doctor of science for his study of Ceylonese mineralogy. He served as director of the Mineralogical Survey of Ceylon from 1902 to 1907 before moving to the United States to serve as curator of Indian art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where he stayed for the remainder of his life. Coomaraswamy devoted himself to the study of traditional Ceylonese and Indian arts and crafts, the cataloging of Indian art collections, and research on Indian art, religion, metaphysics, and culture. He died in 1947.

From the guide to the Ananda K. Coomaraswamy Papers, 1903-1970, 1930-1947, (Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections)

1903-1906 director of the mineralogical survey of Ceylon; 1910 co-founder of the India Society; 1910-1911 in charge of the art section of the United Provinces Exhibition, Allahabad; 1917-1947 research fellow in Indian, Persian and Muhammadan art at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Epithet: art historian

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001477.0x000167


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  • Religion
  • Dancers--20th century--Correspondence
  • Jaina art
  • Art, Buddhist
  • Islamic art
  • Indian art
  • Gods, Hindu
  • Artists--20th century--Drawings
  • Hindu gods
  • Art, Hindu
  • Hindu philosophy
  • Philosophy, Hindu
  • Artists--20th century--Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc
  • Buddhist art and symbolism
  • Art, Islamic
  • Philosophy, Buddhist
  • Art--History
  • Indian dance
  • Art historians--20th century--Correspondence
  • Dance, Indonesian
  • Art, indonesian
  • Art historians--20th century--Manuscripts
  • Aesthetics
  • Aesthetics, Oriental
  • Husband and wife--20th century--Correspondence
  • Hindu art
  • Buddhist philosophy
  • Philosophy
  • Gods, Vedic


  • Art historians--20th century.--United States
  • Bookseller
  • Art historians
  • Art historians--United States--20th century


  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • India (as recorded)
  • Indonesia (as recorded)
  • India (as recorded)