In 1910 an incident
took place that pained Ananda Coomaraswamy deeply.
Sir George Birdwood was an art critic. He delivered a lecture on Western and Eastern
art. He said that in the East artists produced pictures and sculptures as works of
art but they did not know what beauty was. As an example he spoke of the Buddha figures of
the East. "What beauty is there in these? They are like pies made of sawdust."
Ananda Coomaraswamy was both pained and disgusted. He felt that people like Birdwood
knew nothing of the origin and development of the arts in the East. They spoke from the
point of view of their own country. But many people in the East believed them and learnt
to regard their own art through Western eyes. Coomaraswamy felt the injustice of this
keenly. The necessity to explicate the eastern arts became clearer.
A little later he wrote the book call 'Origin of the Buddha Image.'
Ananda Coomaraswamy and Ratna Devi traveled back to Ceylon. Soon after a son was born
to them. He was named Narada, 'Nara' meaning knowledge and 'da', giver.