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Books > Language and Literature > Classical Indian Dance in Literature and The Arts
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Classical Indian Dance in Literature and The Arts
Classical Indian Dance in Literature and The Arts
Description
Preface

The present study is the result of some fifteen or more years of labour in a field which has, perhaps because of its very nature, received inadequate attention in the past. As a practical student of classical Indian dance forms I had found it necessary to examine and understand the theoretical bases on which the tradition of the dance and the traditional techniques had been built. The gurus and masters, hereditary repositories of what were unquestionably the authentic traditions and techniques of Indian dancing, could only provide inadequate or unsatisfactory answers to many of the theoretical questions that arose in mind. This impelled me to conduct my own research into the original texts. The relationship of the arts, I thus observed, and the insights I gained encouraged me to pursue the detailed study of the field which forms the subject of the present work. I consider it my good fortune that I should have been led to the subject by what may appear an indirect route, because without this practical background I would have found it far more difficult to reach the bridge from the theoretical tenets to the vast and varied field of their application to dance practice. It is the discovery of such bridges and the clear demarcation of routes across them that has been my chief purpose in the present study. I may be permitted to express the belief, in all humility, that the purpose has been achieved. I trust that the lines of study indicated here will be extended to other fields which are, as I have attempted to demonstrate, inseparably related.

The size and nature of the field was formidable and I had naturally to restrict myself to what could be spanned by a unified study. Geographically its scope extended from Manipur to Gujarat and from Hohen-jo-daro through Khajuraho to Kerala. It was not only the archaeological sites scattered over this vast area or the objects recovered from them that had to be surveyed. The different local traditions of the schools of classical dancing preserved in isolated pockets throughout the country had also to be studied; and patient solutions found to intricate problems through personal contact with ageing gurus who represented the precious oral tradition of classical Indian dancing and who alone could provide the insight which would illuminate a study of so complex a field.

While the rasa theory is common to all Indian arts, a parallel study of the different art forms in relation to this theory has not been undertaken before. Indeed, it may justifiably be said that western scholars and art critics have generally devoted greater attention to the continuous study of the theoretical foundations of artistic practice than has been the case in India. Of course, to a large extent, this has resulted from the very nature of western and Indian artistic theories. In the west, the theoretician as well as the practicing artist in every field of art including literature has been actively concerned with "significant form" and has therefore generally studied several arts together or in relation to one another. In India, however, because of the emphasis placed by the rasa theory on the evocation of a mood or the attainment of a 'state of being', both the artist and the theoretician have tended to be concerned primarily with technique. This concern with technique has tended inevitably to isolate one art from another because techniques are specific and exclusive.

While the present study has, I believe, provided the groundwork for a complete historical study of classical Indian dancing and the evaluation of its different forms, the limits within which I have worked must here be clearly stated. I have dealt, in some degree of detail, with literary and sculptural material upto the medieval period. It would be logically consistent to continue this study into the beginning of the modern period, and it is my hope and wish that such a study will be undertaken in the near future. But it is obvious that this would require the collaboration not only of a large number of individual workers but also of regional institutions. Since from the medieval period onwards the unity provided by the Sanskrit texts is no longer sustained, the study would have to be extended to material in a number of regional languages. Apart from the difficulty of access to such language material and the problems of transliteration, translation and interpretation which might well prove too large for the capacities of any single individual, it is even possible that the diversity of the material might only blur the outline of the continuity provided by the Sanskrit tradition.

It has been a part of my good fortune, referred to earlier, that in the course of practical training in the different dance disciplines, I have been able to establish contacts with and receive valuable guidance from a number of gurus of dancing and ustads or heads of gharanas of music, and I have naturally profited by the material thus made available. But obviously, a history of the theoretical foundations of Indian dancing cannot rely on such fortuitous circumstances.

Most of my literary and sculptural source material is known. My purpose was not so much to bring new material to light as to organize and correlate the existing material in a pattern of significance for the historical study of the classical Indian dance. In the field of sculpture particularly it was considered desirable to refer primarily to known examples in order to facilitate the main argument. An endeavour has been made to analyse sculptural representations of dance scenes in terms of dance poses and dance movement and thus to establish the close relationship of the two art forms.

The use of literary material has been more or less analogous. Though I have considered a number of unpublished manuscripts relating to dance in Indian libraries and abroad, I have based my argument in the main on published works. I would have liked to include in my examination some recently published manuscripts, specially Jayasenapati's Nrtta Ratnavali and the Sangitaraja and some other works published in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. It was not possible to do so because the press copy had already been handed over and the Press was unable to cope with additions during the years that the book awaited publication.

In the field of music greater emphasis has been laid on practice than on literary and other evidence; this was considered necessary to bring out the complete interdependence of music and dancing. A detailed analysis of texts of Music was deliberately left out, on account of the obvious reason, that much valuable work has already been done on both textual and critical interpretation.

It is hoped that this analytical study will give the reader a clear picture of the inter-relationship of the Indian art forms and of their common theoretical basis, and help him to recognize the true character of the Indian dance as the highest artistic integration of the forms and ideals of literary as well as audio-visual arts.

Work of this nature cannot be undertaken without help and guidance from many people and I unhesitatingly acknowledge my indebtedness.

Amongst the gurus from whom came my first insights into the great integrating power of the dance, I remember the late Minakshisundaram Pillai and Bharatam Narayanaswami Bhagavatar. To late Guru Amobi singh, the late Mahabir Singh and Achchan Maharaj, my revered teachers of Manipuri and Kathak dance respectively, I owe my awareness of the vast body of tradition embodied in Indian dance styles, and the intricacy of thought to which they give visual from. To Srimati S. V. Lalitha and Sri Debendra Shankar, I am grateful for the experience of Bharatanatyam and Uday Shankar styles. My training in the principles of movement analysis and dance notation with Dr. Juana de Laban, daughter of Dr. Rudolf von Laban, was not only a stimulating experience but a very fruitful one in my subsequent studies.

Scholars in the field of Indian studies have guided me in the search for solutions to many problems that arise in correlating the academic with the oral traditions of the arts of music and the dance. I recall with gratitude some enlightening discussions on the content of the dance for which Mahamahopadhyaya Pandit Gopinatha Kaviraja kindly gave me the time. I acknowledge also Dr. V. Raghavan's willing help and guidance in addition to the benefit derived from his own studies in the field. Above all I am profoundly indebted to the late Dr. Vasudeva Saran Agarwala, who as my research supervisor for a doctoral thesis I presented on the subject some of the material of which forms the basis of the present work, was not only a meticulous and exacting critic but also an inspiring guide.

To Shri S. H. Vatsyayan I am indebted in many ways and on many planes. The first insights into the relationship of word and movement came through many fruitful discussions. Later, his logical incisive criticism and his unquestioned help and support in all aspects of the work were both a source of encouragement and a challenge.

The Directors of several museums, and in particular Rai Krishnadasa (Bharat Kala Bhavan, Banaras), and Dr. Moti Chandra (Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay) have given me many valuable suggestions. Association with them and their work has also helped me to pursue many lines of thought to definitive ends.

Dr. A. Ghosh, Director-General of Archaeology (now retired) and officers of his department have been most helpful in providing photographs and other illustrative material. Other sources of photographs have been separately acknowledged.

Dr. Nihar Ranjan Ray and Dr. Vidya Nivas Misra read the manuscript and made many helpful suggestions for which I am grateful.

I thank also the officers of the Sangeet Natak Akademi for their patience in seeing the book through the Press. I am particularly sensible of the compliment implicit in the Akademi's acceptance of the present work as the first in their programme of research publications.

From the Jacket

With five decades of dedicated readership behind it, Kapila Vatsyayan's seminal work, Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts, stands tall amidst an increasing corpus of texts on dance scholarship, art history and literary studies. This is the third edition of a text published by the Sangeet Natak Akademi and one that involves fundamental research of enduring significance. It addresses, in particular, the rubric of performance studies but most importantly, it forges a new theoretical frame work in Indian art studies by locating dance as a principle axis of the artistic traditions in an intricate web of interrelationship and inter-dependence between the theory and practice of the literary, visual and performance arts of India.

The book traverses the realms of the theoretical underpinnings of traditional Indian art, addresses the technical treatises that govern the structure and dynamics of its dance forms and explores the centrality of movement, flow the rhythm in the literary, dramatic and sculptural traditions of India. Spanning a period of 1500 years of Indian art, this work has been unanimously acclaimed by connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike as a milestone in dance scholarship. This work is undoubtedly significant for its holistic and insightful understanding not only of dance but all the Indian arts.

A rare combination of artist, performer, author, administrator, policy maker and conceptualiser of exhibitions, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan has worked tirelessly for about fifty years now to establish new methodologies and provide unique insights into Indian artistic and cultural traditions. Through her writings, lectures, performances and exhibitions, she has pointed to the inter-relationship and interdependence of the arts by relating the textual traditions with practice, interconnection and integration of life and art by placing dance in relation to other arts as well as in their ecological, social and cultural context, thus unraveling the multi-layered cultural fabric of India.

She is one of the first disciples of great gurus Guru Amubi singh (Manipuri) and Guru Achchan Maharaj (Kathak). She has had rigorous training in Bharatanatyam and Odissi. As important is the fact that she received training in modern dance and Laban notation under Juana de Laban. All this was concurrent with persuit of academic research under doyens like Dr. Vasudeva Saran Agrawala leading her to formulate some fundamental concepts, which cut across the arts, thus identifying a world view and perception, where, interconnectivity is the first principle, which encompasses all dimensions of life.

This work has been followed by other publications which carry forward the principal theoretical premise of the present volume. These include 'Dance and Indian Painting,' 'Traditional Indian Theatre: Multiple Streams' and most importantly, 'The Square and the Circle of the Indian Arts.' Her latest monograph on Bharata's Natyasastra: Text and Context' is the most lucid and concentrated critical and contemporary appraisal of this fundamental work of the Indian arts.

Honoured by several institutions, universities and other cultural and academic bodies, she is a Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Lalit Kala Akademi. Several honorary doctorates and other awards including the Rajiv Gandhi Sadabhavana award have been conferred on her.

Some Opinions about the Book Over Five Decades

Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts presents a comprehensive, analytical and objective study of the evolution of classical Indian dance forms in relation to literature, sculpture, painting and music of the classical and the medieval periods. It examines the theoretical bases on which the tradition and techniques were based and directs itself to the material embodied in the texts on dramaturgy and arts. It begins by a probe into Indian aesthetics and presents a parallel study of the different art forms in relation to the Rasa theory…. Many dancing figures of Indian sculpture, terracottas, and painting have been subjected to a searching analysis, and have been examined in the light of the technical dance terminology. This forms an original contribution to over understanding of the Indian art forms.

Dr. Vasudev Saran Agarwala, Dr. V. Raghavan, Dr. A Ghosh
1956

By this excellently written and sumptuously produced work, Dr. Vatsyayan has made us all her debtors. She has attempted to do for Indian dance what Havell and Coomaraswamy did for the visual and plastic arts of India.

G.C. Pande
Quest, Oct. Dec. 1969

This is without doubt the most extensive and authoritative treatise on the subject with which it deals. Indian Aesthetics is not exactly an easy subject to comprehend, but the author, we feel, has succeeded admirably in simplifying various concepts of writers such as Bharata and Abhinavagupta and in explaining the variety of terms used with precision. We believe this is the first time that the subject has been handled so fully and so completely. Kapila Vatsyayan's book will remain a standard work on its theme for a long time to come.

Karl Khandalavala
Marg, Supplement, December 1969

Dr. Vatsyayan's book is a very solid and comprehensive piece of scholarship. She exhaustively analyses and comments on the prescriptions in the classical tests on dancing and shows what an important part the dance has always played in Indian civilization.

Times Literary Supplement

No praise would be took great for this great book, for nobody seems to be better equipped than Dr. Vatsyayan for such a baffling undertaking as a comprehensive, analytical and objective study of the evolution of the art of classical Indian dance in relation to literature, sculpture, painting and music from the beginning till the medieval period. She has studied early in life the several acknowledged classical dance styles as a practicing artist.

Journal of the University of Gauhati, Vol. XIX, No. 2, 1968 Arts

The present volume has grown out of nearly ten years of dedicated work. The author has been aided in her researches by her training in the different dance disciplines and that has enabled her to cross the bridge from theoretical tenets to the vast field of their application to dance practice, thus providing the basis for an integrated historical study of the evolution of the classical styles in the light of literary and sculptural evidence.

K. Bharatha Iyer
The Times of India, Bombay

Clearly, many researchers in Southeast Asia look to Kapila Vatsyayan as an exemplary, fastidious, and unyielding force in dance scholarship. Her doctoral dissertation and ensuing book, Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts, which is solidly grounded in ancient documents, artifacts and classical visual arts of India, has opened up new vistas in understanding Asian dance aesthetics and the philosophies of performance… Kapila Vatsyayan's contributions to the understanding of aesthetics and meanings of Indian classical Dances have already had a lasting effect on Southeast Asian dance scholarship…

Mohd Anis Md Nor,
Associate Professor in Dance and Music, University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.

This book…brought together Indian aesthetics, dance, literature, sculpture and music with resonances for architecture. What Vatsyayan had written about became the scholarly touchstone for our twentieth century understanding of dance and cultural heritage.

Joan Erdman,
Professor of Anthropology and the Humanities, Columbia College, Chicago &
Research Associate on the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, University of Chicago.

Indeed Vatsyayan's writing is seminal not just because it is comprehensive, insightful and transcultural. Her research is poised at a moment of severance and regeneration, and her writing marks the radical shift from inherited dance knowledges and oral tradition to institutional knowledges.

Uttara Asha Coorlawala,
C.W. Post Campus, Long Island University &
Barnard College, Columbia University, New York

Contents

Prologue xviii
Forewordxix-xx
Prefacexxi-xxiv
Preface to Second Editionxxv-xxviii
Introduction1-3
Chapter I-Indian Aesthetics5-22
Spiritual and philosophical background of Indian art: theory of Rasa, 5-7; commentators, 7-8; Rasa as a theory of technique: Bharata and dramaturgy, 8-10; Rasa theory in relation to music, 10-11; in relation to architecture and sculpture, 12-16; in relation to painting, 16-17; in relation to dance, 17-19; the inter-relationship of the arts, 19-21.
Chapter II-Theory And Technique of Classical Indian Dance23-141
General considerations, 23-25; technique, 25-31; nrtya or abhinaya, 31.32; theoretical treatises, 32-39; analysis of angas and upangas: drstis, 40-43; tara and bhru, 39-44; mukhaja abhinaya, 45-60 vaksa, parsva, janu, 5-67; pada, 67-68; hasta, 69-72; comparative tables of asamyuta, samuta and nrtta hasta, 74-88; sthana, 72-89; comparative table, 90-91; urits of movement (cari), 92-97; karana: detailed analysis and comparison with Cidambaram sculptures, 98-136
Chapter III-Literature And Dancing142-261
General considerations, 142-143; relationship of dance and literature, 143-147; dance representation in literature: Rgveda, 148-152; Samaveda, 153; Yajurveda, 153-156; Athrvaveda, 157; Brahmanas, 158; Upanisads, 153-156; Athrvaveda, 157; Brahmanas, 158; Upanisads, 158-160; Grhyasutras, 160; Ramayana, 161-169; Mahabharata, 169-171; Harivamsa Purana, 171-174; Visnu Purana, 174-175; Srimad Bhagavata Purana, 175-176; codes, commentaries, lexicons: 176-178; Kautilya, 178-179 Vatsyayana, 179-180; Sukranitisara, 180-181; Prabandakosa, 181-182; Amarakosa, 182; Buddhist texts, 182-185; Jaina texts, 186-190; Kavya literature, 190-192; Buddhacaritam, 192-194; Raghuvamsa, 194-195; Kumarasambhava, 195; Meghaduta and Rtusamhara, 195-199; Kiratarjuniyam, 199-200; Dasakumaracaritam, 200-201; Harsacarita, 2041-205; Kadambari, 205-207; Natya literature, 207-208; Balacaritam Mrcchakatikam, 208-213; Malavikagnimitra, 213-217; Vikramorvasiya, 217-219; Sakuntala, 220-230; Angikabhinaya and kaksa-vibhaga (zonal treatment of stage) in Kalidasa, 230-236; Ratnavali and Priyadarsika, 237-240; Malatimadhava and Uttararamacarita, 241-244; Venisamhara, 244-246; Karpuramanjari, 246-252.
Chapter IV-Sculpture And Dancing262-332
General considerations: mana, sutra and bhanga, 262-270 Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, 270-271; Salabhanjika: Didarganj, Yaksi, 272; Bharhut, 272; Sanci, 272-273; Bodh Gaya, 274 Mathura, 274-275; Amaravati, 275-276; Salabhanjika and Yaksi figures: Gudanpur, Elura, Paharpur, Khajuraho, Bhuvanesvar, Belur and Halebidm, Dilwara, Rajasthan and Central India, 276-284; flying figures, 284-290; dance scenes in sculpture: Khandagiri-Udayagiri, 290-291; Bharhut, 291-294; Sanci, 294-296; Amaravati: Nagarjunikonda, 296-302; Gandhara, 302-303; Gupta Art: Gwalior and Deogarh, 303-305; Sarnath, 305-306; Aurangabad and Ajanta, 306-307; Khajuraho, 308-309; Bhuvanesvara, 310-311; Mount Abu, 311-312; Rajasthan, 312-313; Kerala, 314; Srisailam: Hampi, 315-316; Cidambaram, 316-319; Nrttamurtis, 321-328.
Chapter V-Music And Dancing333-349
General considerations, 333-336; musical accompaniment in Bharatanatyam, 336-341; musical accompaniment in Kathakali, 341-344; musical accompaniment in Manipuri, Kathak, Orissi, etc. 344.
Select Bibliography350-358
Index359-376

Classical Indian Dance in Literature and The Arts

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Preface

The present study is the result of some fifteen or more years of labour in a field which has, perhaps because of its very nature, received inadequate attention in the past. As a practical student of classical Indian dance forms I had found it necessary to examine and understand the theoretical bases on which the tradition of the dance and the traditional techniques had been built. The gurus and masters, hereditary repositories of what were unquestionably the authentic traditions and techniques of Indian dancing, could only provide inadequate or unsatisfactory answers to many of the theoretical questions that arose in mind. This impelled me to conduct my own research into the original texts. The relationship of the arts, I thus observed, and the insights I gained encouraged me to pursue the detailed study of the field which forms the subject of the present work. I consider it my good fortune that I should have been led to the subject by what may appear an indirect route, because without this practical background I would have found it far more difficult to reach the bridge from the theoretical tenets to the vast and varied field of their application to dance practice. It is the discovery of such bridges and the clear demarcation of routes across them that has been my chief purpose in the present study. I may be permitted to express the belief, in all humility, that the purpose has been achieved. I trust that the lines of study indicated here will be extended to other fields which are, as I have attempted to demonstrate, inseparably related.

The size and nature of the field was formidable and I had naturally to restrict myself to what could be spanned by a unified study. Geographically its scope extended from Manipur to Gujarat and from Hohen-jo-daro through Khajuraho to Kerala. It was not only the archaeological sites scattered over this vast area or the objects recovered from them that had to be surveyed. The different local traditions of the schools of classical dancing preserved in isolated pockets throughout the country had also to be studied; and patient solutions found to intricate problems through personal contact with ageing gurus who represented the precious oral tradition of classical Indian dancing and who alone could provide the insight which would illuminate a study of so complex a field.

While the rasa theory is common to all Indian arts, a parallel study of the different art forms in relation to this theory has not been undertaken before. Indeed, it may justifiably be said that western scholars and art critics have generally devoted greater attention to the continuous study of the theoretical foundations of artistic practice than has been the case in India. Of course, to a large extent, this has resulted from the very nature of western and Indian artistic theories. In the west, the theoretician as well as the practicing artist in every field of art including literature has been actively concerned with "significant form" and has therefore generally studied several arts together or in relation to one another. In India, however, because of the emphasis placed by the rasa theory on the evocation of a mood or the attainment of a 'state of being', both the artist and the theoretician have tended to be concerned primarily with technique. This concern with technique has tended inevitably to isolate one art from another because techniques are specific and exclusive.

While the present study has, I believe, provided the groundwork for a complete historical study of classical Indian dancing and the evaluation of its different forms, the limits within which I have worked must here be clearly stated. I have dealt, in some degree of detail, with literary and sculptural material upto the medieval period. It would be logically consistent to continue this study into the beginning of the modern period, and it is my hope and wish that such a study will be undertaken in the near future. But it is obvious that this would require the collaboration not only of a large number of individual workers but also of regional institutions. Since from the medieval period onwards the unity provided by the Sanskrit texts is no longer sustained, the study would have to be extended to material in a number of regional languages. Apart from the difficulty of access to such language material and the problems of transliteration, translation and interpretation which might well prove too large for the capacities of any single individual, it is even possible that the diversity of the material might only blur the outline of the continuity provided by the Sanskrit tradition.

It has been a part of my good fortune, referred to earlier, that in the course of practical training in the different dance disciplines, I have been able to establish contacts with and receive valuable guidance from a number of gurus of dancing and ustads or heads of gharanas of music, and I have naturally profited by the material thus made available. But obviously, a history of the theoretical foundations of Indian dancing cannot rely on such fortuitous circumstances.

Most of my literary and sculptural source material is known. My purpose was not so much to bring new material to light as to organize and correlate the existing material in a pattern of significance for the historical study of the classical Indian dance. In the field of sculpture particularly it was considered desirable to refer primarily to known examples in order to facilitate the main argument. An endeavour has been made to analyse sculptural representations of dance scenes in terms of dance poses and dance movement and thus to establish the close relationship of the two art forms.

The use of literary material has been more or less analogous. Though I have considered a number of unpublished manuscripts relating to dance in Indian libraries and abroad, I have based my argument in the main on published works. I would have liked to include in my examination some recently published manuscripts, specially Jayasenapati's Nrtta Ratnavali and the Sangitaraja and some other works published in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. It was not possible to do so because the press copy had already been handed over and the Press was unable to cope with additions during the years that the book awaited publication.

In the field of music greater emphasis has been laid on practice than on literary and other evidence; this was considered necessary to bring out the complete interdependence of music and dancing. A detailed analysis of texts of Music was deliberately left out, on account of the obvious reason, that much valuable work has already been done on both textual and critical interpretation.

It is hoped that this analytical study will give the reader a clear picture of the inter-relationship of the Indian art forms and of their common theoretical basis, and help him to recognize the true character of the Indian dance as the highest artistic integration of the forms and ideals of literary as well as audio-visual arts.

Work of this nature cannot be undertaken without help and guidance from many people and I unhesitatingly acknowledge my indebtedness.

Amongst the gurus from whom came my first insights into the great integrating power of the dance, I remember the late Minakshisundaram Pillai and Bharatam Narayanaswami Bhagavatar. To late Guru Amobi singh, the late Mahabir Singh and Achchan Maharaj, my revered teachers of Manipuri and Kathak dance respectively, I owe my awareness of the vast body of tradition embodied in Indian dance styles, and the intricacy of thought to which they give visual from. To Srimati S. V. Lalitha and Sri Debendra Shankar, I am grateful for the experience of Bharatanatyam and Uday Shankar styles. My training in the principles of movement analysis and dance notation with Dr. Juana de Laban, daughter of Dr. Rudolf von Laban, was not only a stimulating experience but a very fruitful one in my subsequent studies.

Scholars in the field of Indian studies have guided me in the search for solutions to many problems that arise in correlating the academic with the oral traditions of the arts of music and the dance. I recall with gratitude some enlightening discussions on the content of the dance for which Mahamahopadhyaya Pandit Gopinatha Kaviraja kindly gave me the time. I acknowledge also Dr. V. Raghavan's willing help and guidance in addition to the benefit derived from his own studies in the field. Above all I am profoundly indebted to the late Dr. Vasudeva Saran Agarwala, who as my research supervisor for a doctoral thesis I presented on the subject some of the material of which forms the basis of the present work, was not only a meticulous and exacting critic but also an inspiring guide.

To Shri S. H. Vatsyayan I am indebted in many ways and on many planes. The first insights into the relationship of word and movement came through many fruitful discussions. Later, his logical incisive criticism and his unquestioned help and support in all aspects of the work were both a source of encouragement and a challenge.

The Directors of several museums, and in particular Rai Krishnadasa (Bharat Kala Bhavan, Banaras), and Dr. Moti Chandra (Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay) have given me many valuable suggestions. Association with them and their work has also helped me to pursue many lines of thought to definitive ends.

Dr. A. Ghosh, Director-General of Archaeology (now retired) and officers of his department have been most helpful in providing photographs and other illustrative material. Other sources of photographs have been separately acknowledged.

Dr. Nihar Ranjan Ray and Dr. Vidya Nivas Misra read the manuscript and made many helpful suggestions for which I am grateful.

I thank also the officers of the Sangeet Natak Akademi for their patience in seeing the book through the Press. I am particularly sensible of the compliment implicit in the Akademi's acceptance of the present work as the first in their programme of research publications.

From the Jacket

With five decades of dedicated readership behind it, Kapila Vatsyayan's seminal work, Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts, stands tall amidst an increasing corpus of texts on dance scholarship, art history and literary studies. This is the third edition of a text published by the Sangeet Natak Akademi and one that involves fundamental research of enduring significance. It addresses, in particular, the rubric of performance studies but most importantly, it forges a new theoretical frame work in Indian art studies by locating dance as a principle axis of the artistic traditions in an intricate web of interrelationship and inter-dependence between the theory and practice of the literary, visual and performance arts of India.

The book traverses the realms of the theoretical underpinnings of traditional Indian art, addresses the technical treatises that govern the structure and dynamics of its dance forms and explores the centrality of movement, flow the rhythm in the literary, dramatic and sculptural traditions of India. Spanning a period of 1500 years of Indian art, this work has been unanimously acclaimed by connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike as a milestone in dance scholarship. This work is undoubtedly significant for its holistic and insightful understanding not only of dance but all the Indian arts.

A rare combination of artist, performer, author, administrator, policy maker and conceptualiser of exhibitions, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan has worked tirelessly for about fifty years now to establish new methodologies and provide unique insights into Indian artistic and cultural traditions. Through her writings, lectures, performances and exhibitions, she has pointed to the inter-relationship and interdependence of the arts by relating the textual traditions with practice, interconnection and integration of life and art by placing dance in relation to other arts as well as in their ecological, social and cultural context, thus unraveling the multi-layered cultural fabric of India.

She is one of the first disciples of great gurus Guru Amubi singh (Manipuri) and Guru Achchan Maharaj (Kathak). She has had rigorous training in Bharatanatyam and Odissi. As important is the fact that she received training in modern dance and Laban notation under Juana de Laban. All this was concurrent with persuit of academic research under doyens like Dr. Vasudeva Saran Agrawala leading her to formulate some fundamental concepts, which cut across the arts, thus identifying a world view and perception, where, interconnectivity is the first principle, which encompasses all dimensions of life.

This work has been followed by other publications which carry forward the principal theoretical premise of the present volume. These include 'Dance and Indian Painting,' 'Traditional Indian Theatre: Multiple Streams' and most importantly, 'The Square and the Circle of the Indian Arts.' Her latest monograph on Bharata's Natyasastra: Text and Context' is the most lucid and concentrated critical and contemporary appraisal of this fundamental work of the Indian arts.

Honoured by several institutions, universities and other cultural and academic bodies, she is a Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Lalit Kala Akademi. Several honorary doctorates and other awards including the Rajiv Gandhi Sadabhavana award have been conferred on her.

Some Opinions about the Book Over Five Decades

Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts presents a comprehensive, analytical and objective study of the evolution of classical Indian dance forms in relation to literature, sculpture, painting and music of the classical and the medieval periods. It examines the theoretical bases on which the tradition and techniques were based and directs itself to the material embodied in the texts on dramaturgy and arts. It begins by a probe into Indian aesthetics and presents a parallel study of the different art forms in relation to the Rasa theory…. Many dancing figures of Indian sculpture, terracottas, and painting have been subjected to a searching analysis, and have been examined in the light of the technical dance terminology. This forms an original contribution to over understanding of the Indian art forms.

Dr. Vasudev Saran Agarwala, Dr. V. Raghavan, Dr. A Ghosh
1956

By this excellently written and sumptuously produced work, Dr. Vatsyayan has made us all her debtors. She has attempted to do for Indian dance what Havell and Coomaraswamy did for the visual and plastic arts of India.

G.C. Pande
Quest, Oct. Dec. 1969

This is without doubt the most extensive and authoritative treatise on the subject with which it deals. Indian Aesthetics is not exactly an easy subject to comprehend, but the author, we feel, has succeeded admirably in simplifying various concepts of writers such as Bharata and Abhinavagupta and in explaining the variety of terms used with precision. We believe this is the first time that the subject has been handled so fully and so completely. Kapila Vatsyayan's book will remain a standard work on its theme for a long time to come.

Karl Khandalavala
Marg, Supplement, December 1969

Dr. Vatsyayan's book is a very solid and comprehensive piece of scholarship. She exhaustively analyses and comments on the prescriptions in the classical tests on dancing and shows what an important part the dance has always played in Indian civilization.

Times Literary Supplement

No praise would be took great for this great book, for nobody seems to be better equipped than Dr. Vatsyayan for such a baffling undertaking as a comprehensive, analytical and objective study of the evolution of the art of classical Indian dance in relation to literature, sculpture, painting and music from the beginning till the medieval period. She has studied early in life the several acknowledged classical dance styles as a practicing artist.

Journal of the University of Gauhati, Vol. XIX, No. 2, 1968 Arts

The present volume has grown out of nearly ten years of dedicated work. The author has been aided in her researches by her training in the different dance disciplines and that has enabled her to cross the bridge from theoretical tenets to the vast field of their application to dance practice, thus providing the basis for an integrated historical study of the evolution of the classical styles in the light of literary and sculptural evidence.

K. Bharatha Iyer
The Times of India, Bombay

Clearly, many researchers in Southeast Asia look to Kapila Vatsyayan as an exemplary, fastidious, and unyielding force in dance scholarship. Her doctoral dissertation and ensuing book, Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts, which is solidly grounded in ancient documents, artifacts and classical visual arts of India, has opened up new vistas in understanding Asian dance aesthetics and the philosophies of performance… Kapila Vatsyayan's contributions to the understanding of aesthetics and meanings of Indian classical Dances have already had a lasting effect on Southeast Asian dance scholarship…

Mohd Anis Md Nor,
Associate Professor in Dance and Music, University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.

This book…brought together Indian aesthetics, dance, literature, sculpture and music with resonances for architecture. What Vatsyayan had written about became the scholarly touchstone for our twentieth century understanding of dance and cultural heritage.

Joan Erdman,
Professor of Anthropology and the Humanities, Columbia College, Chicago &
Research Associate on the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, University of Chicago.

Indeed Vatsyayan's writing is seminal not just because it is comprehensive, insightful and transcultural. Her research is poised at a moment of severance and regeneration, and her writing marks the radical shift from inherited dance knowledges and oral tradition to institutional knowledges.

Uttara Asha Coorlawala,
C.W. Post Campus, Long Island University &
Barnard College, Columbia University, New York

Contents

Prologue xviii
Forewordxix-xx
Prefacexxi-xxiv
Preface to Second Editionxxv-xxviii
Introduction1-3
Chapter I-Indian Aesthetics5-22
Spiritual and philosophical background of Indian art: theory of Rasa, 5-7; commentators, 7-8; Rasa as a theory of technique: Bharata and dramaturgy, 8-10; Rasa theory in relation to music, 10-11; in relation to architecture and sculpture, 12-16; in relation to painting, 16-17; in relation to dance, 17-19; the inter-relationship of the arts, 19-21.
Chapter II-Theory And Technique of Classical Indian Dance23-141
General considerations, 23-25; technique, 25-31; nrtya or abhinaya, 31.32; theoretical treatises, 32-39; analysis of angas and upangas: drstis, 40-43; tara and bhru, 39-44; mukhaja abhinaya, 45-60 vaksa, parsva, janu, 5-67; pada, 67-68; hasta, 69-72; comparative tables of asamyuta, samuta and nrtta hasta, 74-88; sthana, 72-89; comparative table, 90-91; urits of movement (cari), 92-97; karana: detailed analysis and comparison with Cidambaram sculptures, 98-136
Chapter III-Literature And Dancing142-261
General considerations, 142-143; relationship of dance and literature, 143-147; dance representation in literature: Rgveda, 148-152; Samaveda, 153; Yajurveda, 153-156; Athrvaveda, 157; Brahmanas, 158; Upanisads, 153-156; Athrvaveda, 157; Brahmanas, 158; Upanisads, 158-160; Grhyasutras, 160; Ramayana, 161-169; Mahabharata, 169-171; Harivamsa Purana, 171-174; Visnu Purana, 174-175; Srimad Bhagavata Purana, 175-176; codes, commentaries, lexicons: 176-178; Kautilya, 178-179 Vatsyayana, 179-180; Sukranitisara, 180-181; Prabandakosa, 181-182; Amarakosa, 182; Buddhist texts, 182-185; Jaina texts, 186-190; Kavya literature, 190-192; Buddhacaritam, 192-194; Raghuvamsa, 194-195; Kumarasambhava, 195; Meghaduta and Rtusamhara, 195-199; Kiratarjuniyam, 199-200; Dasakumaracaritam, 200-201; Harsacarita, 2041-205; Kadambari, 205-207; Natya literature, 207-208; Balacaritam Mrcchakatikam, 208-213; Malavikagnimitra, 213-217; Vikramorvasiya, 217-219; Sakuntala, 220-230; Angikabhinaya and kaksa-vibhaga (zonal treatment of stage) in Kalidasa, 230-236; Ratnavali and Priyadarsika, 237-240; Malatimadhava and Uttararamacarita, 241-244; Venisamhara, 244-246; Karpuramanjari, 246-252.
Chapter IV-Sculpture And Dancing262-332
General considerations: mana, sutra and bhanga, 262-270 Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, 270-271; Salabhanjika: Didarganj, Yaksi, 272; Bharhut, 272; Sanci, 272-273; Bodh Gaya, 274 Mathura, 274-275; Amaravati, 275-276; Salabhanjika and Yaksi figures: Gudanpur, Elura, Paharpur, Khajuraho, Bhuvanesvar, Belur and Halebidm, Dilwara, Rajasthan and Central India, 276-284; flying figures, 284-290; dance scenes in sculpture: Khandagiri-Udayagiri, 290-291; Bharhut, 291-294; Sanci, 294-296; Amaravati: Nagarjunikonda, 296-302; Gandhara, 302-303; Gupta Art: Gwalior and Deogarh, 303-305; Sarnath, 305-306; Aurangabad and Ajanta, 306-307; Khajuraho, 308-309; Bhuvanesvara, 310-311; Mount Abu, 311-312; Rajasthan, 312-313; Kerala, 314; Srisailam: Hampi, 315-316; Cidambaram, 316-319; Nrttamurtis, 321-328.
Chapter V-Music And Dancing333-349
General considerations, 333-336; musical accompaniment in Bharatanatyam, 336-341; musical accompaniment in Kathakali, 341-344; musical accompaniment in Manipuri, Kathak, Orissi, etc. 344.
Select Bibliography350-358
Index359-376
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