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Books > Buddhist > Art > Rupa Pratirupa - Alice Boner Commemoration Volume (An Old and Rare Book)
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Rupa Pratirupa - Alice Boner Commemoration Volume (An Old and Rare Book)
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About the Book

ALICE BONER is one of the most outstanding interpreters of ancient Indian art, and an ardent defender of India's artistic heritage and of her living traditions.

Born in 1889 in Italy from Swiss parents, she received her training in sculpture and painting. Her early interest in Indian art received great stimulation by her meeting with Uday Shankar. Together with him she came to India for the first time in 1929, in order to create an ensemble of Indian dancers and musicians. Back in Europe she supported Uday Shankar's troupe for several years, thus contributing to make known to the West India's cultural and artistic traditions. In 1936 she came back to India, to settle down in Varanasi on the banks of the Ganga, where she remained almost till the end of her life. There she took to painting and to studying India's sacred scriptures. Her prolonged study and meditation of the cave-temples of Ellora led her to an insight into the principles governing the composition and expressing the symbolic significance of these sculptures. This she laid down in her book Principles of Composition in Hindu Sculpture: Cave Temple Period. In search of relevant Silpa-Sastras and of living sthapatis she came to Orissa, where he met Pandit Sadasiva Rath Sarma. With him she started working on Silpa-Sastra manuscripts, and she published the Silpa Prakasa : Medieval Orissan Sanskrit Text on Temple Architecture, and New Light on the Sun Temple of Konarka, containing four important manucripts on various aspects of the construction, history and worship of the great Sun temple. Another basic text on image-making and the symbolism of sacred images is now in the press: Vastusatra Upanisad. Alice Boner passed away in Switzerland in April 1981.

This Volume which is dedicated to her memory, contains articles on various aspects of Indian art by some of the best-known scholars today. The theoretical and scriptural background of Indian art has been elaborated from two different angles by Kapila Vatsyayan and Bettina Baumer. StelIa Kramrisch has given the mythological origins of one aspect of the iconography of Siva: the antelope. By showing a rare iconographical representation of Visvarupa, C. Sivaramamurti develops the great symbolism of this divine manifestation. Lama Anagarika Govinda traces the origin of the Buddhist mandala which serves as the basis for all later representations, also in Tibetan art. Carmel Berkson in her profusely illustrated article proposes a new way of examining style in the cave temples of Ellora, which may also help in establishing a relative chronology of the caves. Anand Krishna has discovered some remnants of Gupta sculpture in the city of Banaras, as distinct from the Gupta style of Sarnath, which throws new light on the early Hindu art of the holy city. Thomas Donaldson examines the interesting iconography of Naga images and of the goddess Manasa and Jaratkaru in Orissan art. Two articles are related to architecture: George Michel shows the relationship of the sacred and the secular in the town planning of Vijayanagara, and he finally gives a clue to the meaning of the Great Platform, which has not yet been fully explained. M.A. Dhaky in his important and richly illustrated article on the pranala or gargoyle gives an exhaustive treatment of this interesting architectural element, not only in Indian but also in South- Asian and South-East Asian temple architecture, which has never received special attention. Two articles examine Ragamala painting and the relationship between music and painting, both from a musical (Alain Danielou) and an iconographic as well as textual point of view (B.N Goswamy), thus clarifying some obscure points. The living artistic tradition of Orissa is represented by an article on Pata painting (Eberhard Fischer), and on a recent sculpture of Satyanarayana following the traditional rules (Sadasiva Rath Sarma). Heinz Mode presents some little known documents on the early European reactions to Indian art. The volume concludes with a more general study of the theatrical art in the Greek, Christian, Japanese and Indian traditions by Georgette Boner.

 

Preface

This prayer of the Vedic Rishi can aptly be applied to Alice Boner whose main aim both in the practice of art and in its understanding has been the penetrating vision. The Vedic poet plays on the two prefixes of the verb to see (pas) sam and vi, implying the unitive, syn-thetic, overall vision of the totality by the prefix sam and the differentiated, discerning, analytic vision of the details in the prefix vi. The third prefix he uses with the same verb is prati, towards, to look at. The idam is everything that can become the object of man's vision, the cosmos as a manifestation of the divine. And this vision is not only realised by the eye alone, nor by the intellect, but the whole body is involved in it, it is a total vision.

The prayer is addressed to the Sun, without whose power neither the all- embracing nor the detailed vision would be possible. It is not by chance that Alice Boner devoted many years of her life to the study of Surya and of his magnificent temple at Konarka, because the symbolism of Light and of vision was one of her deepest concerns. The expression "human eye" (nrcaksas) also reminds us of another vision which occupied Alice Boner both as an artists and as a student of Indian philosophy, namely Arjuna's vision of the Visvarupa, for which he had to receive a "divine eye" (divya caksuh), Her unique contribution to deciphering the meaning of ancient Indian art is due more to her in-sight and vision than to an academic study of art history, although there is a complete balance in her works between the understanding of the totality (sam) and the detailed analysis (Vi). Her aim in studying and discovering the principles underlying Indian art was also not only academic, but she wanted to awaken the vision of those Indians who are no longer in contact with their own tradition due to Western education and other factors, and of those belonging to other cultures wanting to understand Indian art. The fact that she decided to publish her later works in India, after having published her first two books in Europe" (which have hardly been accessible to the Indian readers), was motivated by her intention to make the Indian public conscious of their rich and deep artistic tradition which is so intimately related to their religious and philosophical heritage. She herself expressed her desire in these words: "If my studies could contribute a little towards promoting a less academic, more pointed interest in Indian art and could induce a young generation to look with a more' penetrating eye at the splendid heritage of its past, if art-students could start feeling the joy and love emanating from each of these sculptured stones and be awakened to their wordless spiritual message, I would deem it ample reward to all my efforts."

Thus she did not work for the sake of recognition by some European scholars and lovers of Indian art, but for the rediscovery and revival of the Indian tradition where its roots and sometimes. even its branches are still alive. Therefore this tribute mostly by Indian scholars to her is a 'fitting expression of the gratefulness owed to her contribution to the understanding of Indian art.

The present volume was originally intended as a Festschrift for Alice Boner's 90th birthday on July 22, 1979, but the planning had started too late. Still it was hoped to bring it out during her life-time so that in her many months of physical immobility but intellectual and spiritual alertness till the very end she could have the joy of this sign of appreciation of her work from scholars of Indian art. She followed the project with great interest but without the least trace of personal pride. Unfortunately the publication was delayed due to the overwork of some of the contributors. Fate decided otherwise, and Alice Boner left us in her 92nd year, on 13th April 1981.

Till the last weeks of her life she took an active part in advising me on important points concerning the publication of her last book with which she had entrusted me and which was the culmination and confirmation of her life's work, the Vastu-sutra Upanisad (to be published soon by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi). Although she could not see it in published form, she had at least the satisfaction that the text had been completed and accepted by the publisher. She was also happy to know that her work is going to continue, that her basic insights are going to be a guide for further research, and that the many unpublished texts on Silpasastra which are important for the traditional understanding of Indian art, will in the course of time see the light of the day.

The title of this volume: Rupa pratirupa, originally from the Rg Veda, is taken from our common work on the Vastusatra Upanisad because it expresses with the precision of which only the Sanskrit language is capable, the two poles of the creative tension between metaphysics and art, archetype and image, which are so characteristic of Alice Boner's approach to traditional, sacred art, on similar lines as A. K. Coomaraswamy, Stella Kramrisch and others. I try to elucidate its meaning in my own contribution.

The articles contained in this volume" reflect a variety of approaches to Indian art, from its theoretical background (Kapila Vatsyayan), its mythological (Stella Kramrisch) and symbolical (Anagarika Govinda) implications, the study of iconography (C. Sivaramamurti, Th. Donaldson, Anand Krishna), style (C. Berkson) and architecture (G; Michell, M. A. Dhaky), to the relation between such different arts as music and painting (A. Danielou, B. N. Goswamy), and finally to the still living traditions of sculpture (S. Rath Sarma) and painting (E. Fischer) in Orissa, to which Alice Boner had dedicated most of her work; it concludes with a study on different traditions of drama (G. Boner), since. according to Bharata's Natya Sastra, all Indian arts have their origin in drama. Thus the wide spectrum of Alice Boner's own interest in the Indian arts is covered at least by some representative articles; a few are also related to her two main places of work, Varanasi and Orissa. It was my desire to get some contribution on the application of her principles of composition to some other sculptures or paintings, but this was not possible in such a short time,

I wish to thank all the contributors for their readiness and collaboration. My thanks are especially due to Sri Alfred Wuerfel who patiently helped me in contacting scholars and collecting articles and whose life-long friendship with Alice Boner made him most qualified for writing on her life; Prof. M. A. Dhaky has given me: much of his precious time for advising me on the publication of this book for which' I am most grateful; Dr. Georgette Boner who has served her sister with much dedication and love till her end, has also encouraged me very much in this undertaking; Irene R. Ray has kindly revised the English style of most of the papers for which I thank her very much. Last but not least my friend Sri Sita Ram Goel has most generously offered to publish this volume at any cost and without restriction, for, which, as well as his unfailing help and kindness, I have no words to express my gratitude.

 

Contents

 

Preface  
Alice Boner: On her Life and Work 1
Bibliography alice Boner 7
Alice Boner and the Indian Arts 9
The Indian Arts-their Ideational Background and Principles of Form 11
Purusa and the Origin of Form 27
The Antelope 35
A Rare visvarupa 41
The Origin of the Buddhist Mandala 49
An Approach towards examining style in the Cave Temples 57
The Gupta style of Sculpture from the city of Banaras 87
Naga Images and the Cult of Manasa in Orissan Art 99
The royal Centre and the Great Platform at Vijayanagara 109
The Pranala in Indian, South asian and South East Asian Sacret Architecture 119
The Representation of the Raga in Pictures, Poems and Numbers 167
Ragamala Iconography in the Pahari Tradition 175
Hair and Shading in Painting from Orissa 183
A Living Tradition of silpa in Orissa 187
European reactions to Indian art 189
Is Acting an Art> 193
Index 209

 














Rupa Pratirupa - Alice Boner Commemoration Volume (An Old and Rare Book)

Item Code:
NAN117
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
1982
Language:
English
Size:
9.5 inch X 7.0 inch
Pages:
294 (93 B/W Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 740 gms
Price:
$45.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

ALICE BONER is one of the most outstanding interpreters of ancient Indian art, and an ardent defender of India's artistic heritage and of her living traditions.

Born in 1889 in Italy from Swiss parents, she received her training in sculpture and painting. Her early interest in Indian art received great stimulation by her meeting with Uday Shankar. Together with him she came to India for the first time in 1929, in order to create an ensemble of Indian dancers and musicians. Back in Europe she supported Uday Shankar's troupe for several years, thus contributing to make known to the West India's cultural and artistic traditions. In 1936 she came back to India, to settle down in Varanasi on the banks of the Ganga, where she remained almost till the end of her life. There she took to painting and to studying India's sacred scriptures. Her prolonged study and meditation of the cave-temples of Ellora led her to an insight into the principles governing the composition and expressing the symbolic significance of these sculptures. This she laid down in her book Principles of Composition in Hindu Sculpture: Cave Temple Period. In search of relevant Silpa-Sastras and of living sthapatis she came to Orissa, where he met Pandit Sadasiva Rath Sarma. With him she started working on Silpa-Sastra manuscripts, and she published the Silpa Prakasa : Medieval Orissan Sanskrit Text on Temple Architecture, and New Light on the Sun Temple of Konarka, containing four important manucripts on various aspects of the construction, history and worship of the great Sun temple. Another basic text on image-making and the symbolism of sacred images is now in the press: Vastusatra Upanisad. Alice Boner passed away in Switzerland in April 1981.

This Volume which is dedicated to her memory, contains articles on various aspects of Indian art by some of the best-known scholars today. The theoretical and scriptural background of Indian art has been elaborated from two different angles by Kapila Vatsyayan and Bettina Baumer. StelIa Kramrisch has given the mythological origins of one aspect of the iconography of Siva: the antelope. By showing a rare iconographical representation of Visvarupa, C. Sivaramamurti develops the great symbolism of this divine manifestation. Lama Anagarika Govinda traces the origin of the Buddhist mandala which serves as the basis for all later representations, also in Tibetan art. Carmel Berkson in her profusely illustrated article proposes a new way of examining style in the cave temples of Ellora, which may also help in establishing a relative chronology of the caves. Anand Krishna has discovered some remnants of Gupta sculpture in the city of Banaras, as distinct from the Gupta style of Sarnath, which throws new light on the early Hindu art of the holy city. Thomas Donaldson examines the interesting iconography of Naga images and of the goddess Manasa and Jaratkaru in Orissan art. Two articles are related to architecture: George Michel shows the relationship of the sacred and the secular in the town planning of Vijayanagara, and he finally gives a clue to the meaning of the Great Platform, which has not yet been fully explained. M.A. Dhaky in his important and richly illustrated article on the pranala or gargoyle gives an exhaustive treatment of this interesting architectural element, not only in Indian but also in South- Asian and South-East Asian temple architecture, which has never received special attention. Two articles examine Ragamala painting and the relationship between music and painting, both from a musical (Alain Danielou) and an iconographic as well as textual point of view (B.N Goswamy), thus clarifying some obscure points. The living artistic tradition of Orissa is represented by an article on Pata painting (Eberhard Fischer), and on a recent sculpture of Satyanarayana following the traditional rules (Sadasiva Rath Sarma). Heinz Mode presents some little known documents on the early European reactions to Indian art. The volume concludes with a more general study of the theatrical art in the Greek, Christian, Japanese and Indian traditions by Georgette Boner.

 

Preface

This prayer of the Vedic Rishi can aptly be applied to Alice Boner whose main aim both in the practice of art and in its understanding has been the penetrating vision. The Vedic poet plays on the two prefixes of the verb to see (pas) sam and vi, implying the unitive, syn-thetic, overall vision of the totality by the prefix sam and the differentiated, discerning, analytic vision of the details in the prefix vi. The third prefix he uses with the same verb is prati, towards, to look at. The idam is everything that can become the object of man's vision, the cosmos as a manifestation of the divine. And this vision is not only realised by the eye alone, nor by the intellect, but the whole body is involved in it, it is a total vision.

The prayer is addressed to the Sun, without whose power neither the all- embracing nor the detailed vision would be possible. It is not by chance that Alice Boner devoted many years of her life to the study of Surya and of his magnificent temple at Konarka, because the symbolism of Light and of vision was one of her deepest concerns. The expression "human eye" (nrcaksas) also reminds us of another vision which occupied Alice Boner both as an artists and as a student of Indian philosophy, namely Arjuna's vision of the Visvarupa, for which he had to receive a "divine eye" (divya caksuh), Her unique contribution to deciphering the meaning of ancient Indian art is due more to her in-sight and vision than to an academic study of art history, although there is a complete balance in her works between the understanding of the totality (sam) and the detailed analysis (Vi). Her aim in studying and discovering the principles underlying Indian art was also not only academic, but she wanted to awaken the vision of those Indians who are no longer in contact with their own tradition due to Western education and other factors, and of those belonging to other cultures wanting to understand Indian art. The fact that she decided to publish her later works in India, after having published her first two books in Europe" (which have hardly been accessible to the Indian readers), was motivated by her intention to make the Indian public conscious of their rich and deep artistic tradition which is so intimately related to their religious and philosophical heritage. She herself expressed her desire in these words: "If my studies could contribute a little towards promoting a less academic, more pointed interest in Indian art and could induce a young generation to look with a more' penetrating eye at the splendid heritage of its past, if art-students could start feeling the joy and love emanating from each of these sculptured stones and be awakened to their wordless spiritual message, I would deem it ample reward to all my efforts."

Thus she did not work for the sake of recognition by some European scholars and lovers of Indian art, but for the rediscovery and revival of the Indian tradition where its roots and sometimes. even its branches are still alive. Therefore this tribute mostly by Indian scholars to her is a 'fitting expression of the gratefulness owed to her contribution to the understanding of Indian art.

The present volume was originally intended as a Festschrift for Alice Boner's 90th birthday on July 22, 1979, but the planning had started too late. Still it was hoped to bring it out during her life-time so that in her many months of physical immobility but intellectual and spiritual alertness till the very end she could have the joy of this sign of appreciation of her work from scholars of Indian art. She followed the project with great interest but without the least trace of personal pride. Unfortunately the publication was delayed due to the overwork of some of the contributors. Fate decided otherwise, and Alice Boner left us in her 92nd year, on 13th April 1981.

Till the last weeks of her life she took an active part in advising me on important points concerning the publication of her last book with which she had entrusted me and which was the culmination and confirmation of her life's work, the Vastu-sutra Upanisad (to be published soon by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi). Although she could not see it in published form, she had at least the satisfaction that the text had been completed and accepted by the publisher. She was also happy to know that her work is going to continue, that her basic insights are going to be a guide for further research, and that the many unpublished texts on Silpasastra which are important for the traditional understanding of Indian art, will in the course of time see the light of the day.

The title of this volume: Rupa pratirupa, originally from the Rg Veda, is taken from our common work on the Vastusatra Upanisad because it expresses with the precision of which only the Sanskrit language is capable, the two poles of the creative tension between metaphysics and art, archetype and image, which are so characteristic of Alice Boner's approach to traditional, sacred art, on similar lines as A. K. Coomaraswamy, Stella Kramrisch and others. I try to elucidate its meaning in my own contribution.

The articles contained in this volume" reflect a variety of approaches to Indian art, from its theoretical background (Kapila Vatsyayan), its mythological (Stella Kramrisch) and symbolical (Anagarika Govinda) implications, the study of iconography (C. Sivaramamurti, Th. Donaldson, Anand Krishna), style (C. Berkson) and architecture (G; Michell, M. A. Dhaky), to the relation between such different arts as music and painting (A. Danielou, B. N. Goswamy), and finally to the still living traditions of sculpture (S. Rath Sarma) and painting (E. Fischer) in Orissa, to which Alice Boner had dedicated most of her work; it concludes with a study on different traditions of drama (G. Boner), since. according to Bharata's Natya Sastra, all Indian arts have their origin in drama. Thus the wide spectrum of Alice Boner's own interest in the Indian arts is covered at least by some representative articles; a few are also related to her two main places of work, Varanasi and Orissa. It was my desire to get some contribution on the application of her principles of composition to some other sculptures or paintings, but this was not possible in such a short time,

I wish to thank all the contributors for their readiness and collaboration. My thanks are especially due to Sri Alfred Wuerfel who patiently helped me in contacting scholars and collecting articles and whose life-long friendship with Alice Boner made him most qualified for writing on her life; Prof. M. A. Dhaky has given me: much of his precious time for advising me on the publication of this book for which' I am most grateful; Dr. Georgette Boner who has served her sister with much dedication and love till her end, has also encouraged me very much in this undertaking; Irene R. Ray has kindly revised the English style of most of the papers for which I thank her very much. Last but not least my friend Sri Sita Ram Goel has most generously offered to publish this volume at any cost and without restriction, for, which, as well as his unfailing help and kindness, I have no words to express my gratitude.

 

Contents

 

Preface  
Alice Boner: On her Life and Work 1
Bibliography alice Boner 7
Alice Boner and the Indian Arts 9
The Indian Arts-their Ideational Background and Principles of Form 11
Purusa and the Origin of Form 27
The Antelope 35
A Rare visvarupa 41
The Origin of the Buddhist Mandala 49
An Approach towards examining style in the Cave Temples 57
The Gupta style of Sculpture from the city of Banaras 87
Naga Images and the Cult of Manasa in Orissan Art 99
The royal Centre and the Great Platform at Vijayanagara 109
The Pranala in Indian, South asian and South East Asian Sacret Architecture 119
The Representation of the Raga in Pictures, Poems and Numbers 167
Ragamala Iconography in the Pahari Tradition 175
Hair and Shading in Painting from Orissa 183
A Living Tradition of silpa in Orissa 187
European reactions to Indian art 189
Is Acting an Art> 193
Index 209

 














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