In contrast to contemporary western theories of aesthetics, scholastic and Oriental art agree that art imitates nature in her manner of operation, not nature visually. Things, including works of art, are what they are by reason of the determining forms or ideas embodied in them, and valid judgments are impossible without an understanding of these formative ideas. Christian and Oriental art, in other words, are languages; post-renaissance art, a spectacle. Aesthetic experience, then, consists in the combined intellectual and emotional delight of the spectator’s self-identification with the indicated content. Mr Coomaraswamy’s book sets forth this view of art and at the same time makes accessible certain Oriental, and especially Indian, source material hitherto almost unknown to students.