Mandira Sharma is an art historian, specializing in early Indian art. She earned her PhD in the History of Art (2008) from the National Museum Institute, New Delhi, with a dissertation on aesthetics and Buddhist narrative traditions in Ajanta paintings. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at Department III, MPIWG, in the “Visualizations and Material Cultures of the Heavens” working group. Before joining the MPIWG, Mandira worked at the National Museum (NM), New Delhi (2020–2022), where she was engaged in art history research projects. Her most recent co-edited and co-authored book is Company Paintings: Visual Memoirs of 19th-Century India (2021) that deals with art produced during the British colonial rule in India. The book accompanied a physical and virtual exhibition at the NM that she co-curated.
As a Jan Gonda Fellow of Indology at IIAS, Leiden (2019), Mandira examined the hitherto unidentified eighteenth-century illustrated Satsai and other miniatures from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. With a grant received from the British Library, London (2011–2012), she worked on the Stein Collection of the IDP, London. Her research interests include narrative traditions, Indian mythology, religious studies, illustrated manuscripts, and archival material. Mandira has published her academic writings in national and international publications, and has presented her research at conferences and talks. She has taught History and Art History courses at the University of Delhi, India, for several years. At the MPIWG she is working on her project, “Of the Astral Divinities and Heavens in South, Central, and East Asia.”