This volume is a collection of papers presented in a seminar that was held under the auspices of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. It endeavours to offer an integral vision of Indian arts in their autonomous and related domains and is designed to meet the requirement of having an authentic and popular sourcebook to enlighten average readers on different manifestations of Indian arts down the ages. It underscores that despite the vicissitudes of history, Indian art in its different forms embodies a remarkably distinctive spirit of creativity that has remained alive through ages and has often been reinvented in various ways in legitimizing the tradition and enriching its nuances and connectedness in practice.
The volume is divided into five sections: 'Plastic Arts in Making', 'Beginnings and Efflorescence of Classical Idiom', 'Regional Inflexions: Bronzes, Sculpture and Architecture', 'Architectural and Painterly Tradition: Medieval, Modern and Folk' and lastly, the 'Performing Arts: Dance and Theatre-Tradition and Practice'. These five sections contain twenty one essays respectively on the heritage of Indian proto-historic phase, Mauryan pillars, Sanchi, the Karle chaitya, classical iconography, Ajanta and Bagh Paintings, Pallava and Chola Bronzes, Ellora, Khajuraho, Konarka, Chola temples, temples and sculptures of ancient Kashmir, temples of Uttarakhand, early medieval paintings, Mughal architecture, Rajasthani paintings, modern Indian paintings, loka chitras, classical dances of India and ancient dramatic tradition. It may easily be conceded that the readers would discover more content in the essays than is spelled out in this laconic brief.
R.N. Mishra, former Fellow of the Has, Shimla and the Editor of this volume, retired as Professo of Ancient Indian History (Jiwaji University, Gwalior, M.P.). Currently, he is Tagor National Fellow.
During the period of my Fellowship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, the Academic Committee of the Institute under the chairmanship of Professor G.C. Pande, the then Chairman of the IIAS, decided to bring out a volume on arts of India, which would, for a change, address the curiosity and aesthetic sensibilities of popular readership on Indian arts and offer relevant information on its different expressions, including its particular manifestations from different parts of India. It was designed to cover a wide spectrum of those expressions, whether traditional or contemporary, that would be authentic in details and free from stereotypes. A three day seminar was accordingly planned under the auspices of the IIAS, Shimla and it was held at Bhopal in November 2004 when scholars presented their learned papers on different manifestations of Indian arts through ages. This volume is a collection of those papers presented in the seminar or contributed for it, except that the one on Pallava-Chola bronzes was borrowed to be reproduced here, with generous consent of Professor D.P. Chattopadhyaya, from a volume that was published under his General Editorship.
In essence, the volume intends to offer an integral vision of Indian arts in their autonomous and related domains, free from strictly historical rigidities, even as it is designed to meet the requirement of having an authentic and popular sourcebook meant to enlighten average readers. It underscores that despite the vicissitudes of history, Indian art in its different manifestations embodies a remarkably distinctive spirit of creativity that has remained alive through ages and has been continually reinvented in various ways in legitimizing the tradition and enriching its nuances and connectedness in practice. It is our fervent hope that the critiques on the selected themes of Indian art in this collection of the seminar papers would facilitate appreciation of Indian genius concerning art expression in their ideals, expanse, modifications, antiquity and survivals.
The volume includes within its ambit some of the selected themes of defining nature in visual and performing arts in India highlighting the uniquely created representations and their theoretical and aesthetic anchorage. It was expected that the authors, in their respective interpretations and critique, will draw on innovations and skills that in time and space continually manifested imaginative visions, cultural symbolism, relatedness with tradition and creativity, among other things, and define the different modes of arts in India in their essence and spirit. Historical inputs about the canon, artists and patronage were also supposed to be highlighted, wherever found necessary, mainly with a view to indicate theoretical specificities of arts. A suggestion was made to the authors to mark out the distinctions in forms and spirit that Indian art envisages in its traditional manifestations. As the Coordinator of the seminar, I am most grateful to the contributors for taking care of suggestions that were outlined while inviting their papers and if the volume receives attention, which I hope it surely will, the credit for it should appropriately go to the authors for their seminal contributions which have helped in presenting in this volume an integrated vision of Indian arts.
The volume is divided into five sections: 'Plastic Arts in Making', 'Beginnings and Efflorescence of Classical Idiom', 'Regional Inflexions: Bronzes, Sculpture and Architecture', 'Architectural and Painterly Tradition: Medieval, Modern and Folk' and 'Performing Arts: Dance and Theatre—Tradition and Practice'. These sections contain twenty one essays respectively on the heritage of Indian proto-historic phase, Mauryan pillars, Sanchi, the Karle chaitya, classical iconography, Ajanta and Bagh Paintings, Pallava and Chola Bronzes, Ellora, Khajuraho, Konarka, Chola temples, temples and sculptures of ancient Kashmir, temples of Uttarakhand, early medieval paintings, Mughal architecture, Rajasthani paintings, modern Indian paintings, Loka chitras, classical dances of India, ancient Indian dramatic tradition and classical Indian Drama. A brief note on these different contributions may not perhaps be out of place here and it follows.
Professor V.H. Sonawane sums up the major aspects of Harappan art and architecture and aptly updates our knowledge on the subject, describing the settlements and their lay out, structures, sculptures and seals; thus leaving out nothing that is relevant to the Harappans in antiquity. Professor Vidula Jayaswal, with the help of her field studies and techno-scientific analysis, takes a relook at Mauryan pillars with a different interpretation about the process of their making, transportation, raising them at particular locations and whether they could still be regarded as monoliths. The Sarnath lion pillar receives her special attention. Professor Susmita Pande re-visits Sanchi with comments on its chronology, morphology, motifs and specially the arguments about the Buddha's image and its ideational moorings in which the distinction between the early and developing Buddhist perceptions tend to blur. Professor M.K. Dhavalikar picks up the celebrated Karle chaitya of western India as a marvel of rock cut architecture and offers a comprehensive review of the monument and its different elements commissioned by different individuals. The essay combines epigraphy, art and architecture and their aesthetic bearing in which the role of the community, including its chief donor Bhutapala, the Yavanas and others stands out. Professor R.C. Sharma's essay on the works of the Gupta phase, termed 'classical', brings out in minute details the iconographic attributes of particular images that were imaginatively incorporated to characterize them in conformity with the contemporary textual tradition. Dr. Mandira Sharma, the youngest contributor to the volume, has presented a well-worked and illustrated essay on the painting of Ajanta and also Bagh, its collateral expression. The two together afford a holistic view of the classical paintings. She offers a refreshing insight into the theory and practice of painting and their delightful manifestations.
Dr. R. Nagaswamy gives a brief account of genesis and development of the Pallava-Chola bronzes emphasizing on their patently indigenous character and inspiration and describing their early classical representations as 'royal art'. The details also figure out the ritual and other contexts of the statuary and even the instances where the bronze images from other regions were installed in the Chola temples in celebration of royal victorious campaigns. Professor Deepak H. Kannal's paper is a succinct review of Ellora's artistic cadence in a chronological sequence of stylistic continuities and changes. He also looks into the varied political and religious elements in Ellora's works seeking to underscore, among other things, the nuances of power, stylization and re-use of motifs that capture attention. Dr. Devangana Desai's paper underscores "creative imagery of the sutradharas (master architects) and shilpins of Khajuraho". She interprets "the configuration of images that the sutradhara presents in his sculptural scheme to project profound concepts." Professor Bettina Baumer's paper attempts to discover 'the symbolism of architecture and sculpture of the main temple of Konarka dedicated to Surya in relation to two of its subsidiary shrines namely, Mahagayatri temple and the Natamandira. Historical and archaeological details stand subsumed in the overall interpretations of symbolism that the temple and its adjuncts typify. Dr. R. Nagaswamy presents a synoptic review of some of the most celebrated Chola temples, monumental in their conception and visage, which were built primarily by the royalty with 'great planning and embellishment'. Conceding that one may conveniently illustrate at least one temple built by each Chola monarch, he ultimately, for brevity's sake, confines himself to a select few for their architectural and artistic beauty and their unique nature and philosophy. Dr. R.D. Trivedi writes on the sculptures and architectural wealth of ancient Kashmir offering details of the works that came up under the patronage of successive ruling dynasties of the region. Kalhana's Rajatarangini figures in the description as a dependable source to trace out the building activity in Kashmir and it has been quoted with advantage, explaining the context of the different works. Dr. Rakesh Tewari traces out the development of temple architecture in Uttarakhand with examples from the seventh to tenth century and their multiple stylistic and typological forms including their Latina, Phamsana, Valabhi and Vritta modes. Throwing light on activity during the rule of different dynasties, he notes the contribution of the local architects and also of those others who had moved into the region from the plains.
Professor Neelima Vashishtha's review of the declining painting tradition in the post-Gupta phase takes up Ellora works and what, in their indifferently evolved techniques of representation, was inherited from the Chalukyas. Her comments on the changing stylistic modes, specially the perceptive organization of pictorial space and introduction of new idioms in depiction of human figures and other motifs are fascinating. Shri M.C. Joshi's contribution on Mughal architecture synoptically reviews the remarkably distinguished works of the Mughal rulers and others of their court, aptly highlighting their innovative strides without let. The details adduced by him offer an aesthetic vision in which creative fancy and personality of builders appear fused together in their monumental works. The author's views about the lasting legacy of the Mughal features in the post-Mughal architecture compel attention. Dr. Chandramani Singh's paper offers a quick survey of the evolution of Rajasthani paintings and introduces the hitherto un-recorded evidence from central India, specially Gwalior and Orchha, in its making. In his deeply sensed and well argued study, Professor Shivaji K. Panikkar recounts the ideological concerns in the making of the modern painting movements through colonial, industrial, nationalist and capitalistic production-viewership modes, and much more, that led to formation of different pictorial expressions. He works out his argument with a detailed analysis of the arduous processes of experimenting with varied, sometimes even conflicting expressions in representations, elite, subaltern, 'progressive' and others, as modern Indian painting has evolved in its quest for a socially and ideologically legitimate identity. Professor Masatoshi A. Konishi takes up the folk painting celebrating its popular, non-hieratic visage with its varied themes and their defining traits. The Madhuvani, Varkhari, Bhil, Saora besides others from different parts of India receive his studied attention with a view to trace the transformations where tradition yields place to a remarkably innovative surge in them. The dilemma of introducing new categories in what is described as 'folk' is eminently set out in Dr. Konishi's attempt towards interpreting 'transformations' in tradition.
Professor Mandakranta Bose traces out the different developing stages of classical dances, underscoring both their antiquity and longevity. Indian classical dances are appropriately considered as channels of creativity through which "contemporary artists are discovering modes of framing identities of gender, personhood and Indianness", even as these dances in their different modes tend to express modern 'reconstructions of ancient tradition'. Professor Bose takes us through their theory and practice, their categories, aesthetic concepts, patrons, performers and society, which shaped this heritage in its delectable forms with their liberating sense of freedom. Professor Anupa Pande's paper, rich in philosophical and aesthetic appreciation of ancient dramatic tradition, goes deep in imaginatively interpreting the underlying meaning of the related concepts enshrined in Bharata, Abhinavagupta and others. Her arguments may perhaps provide an inexhaustible source in explaining the theoretical core which lies subsumed in the practice of the ancient Indian dramatic tradition. Dr. Indra Nath Choudhuri draws meticulously on ancient textual sources to describe the elements that were enmeshed in the dramatic performance. In his view the classical Indian dramatic tradition was not a monolith; it had variants and these all took care of much that was socially relevant: dissent, protest, sarcasm on one hand and aesthetic delight on the other, without losing sight of man's quest from temporality to eternity. His critique on multiple level of dramatic modes, their techniques, purpose and ultimately the relish bordering on ananda (bliss) offers a fairly pervasive view of what, in his words, was the 'circuit of theatrical experience.'
The themes covered in the volume are in no way exhaustive and one could still think of much that has still remained left out despite having been planned to be in the volume. What matters is that the volume, awaited since 2005, is now out and the scholars who contributed to make it possible will have the satisfaction of seeing their contributions in print, overlooking the inordinate delay in publication. We are sad that Professor G.C. Pande, former Chairman of the IIAS and the main inspiration behind this volume, and two of our distinguished contributors—Professor R.C. Sharma and Mr. M.C. Joshi—passed away before the volume could get published. I have no appropriate words to express my indebtedness to them for their support and encouragement in this venture; and I would like to dedicate this volume to their memory.
Despite the formalism that occasionally came to dominate, the arts and their aesthetics in India have invariably retained within themselves an inherent plasticity of postulates and practices. They have also exhibited a flexibility that allowed them to be appreciated at apparently different levels. The academic engagement of the researcher, both with the underlying philosophy and the more explicit methods of representation of these arts, is often seen as standing as standing at some distance from the simpler- sometimes passing –inquisitiveness of the lay reader. This divide is not intractable and it is quite possibly more perceived than real. Even so, scholars in instituations of higher research do not frequently express themselves in a manner that sets out the principles, method and traditions of Indian art for the benefit of the common reader while simultaneously exploring their more intricate theoretical assumptions.
That is what the present work endeavours to do. Outlines of Indian Arts has grown out of a seminar on ‘Outlines of Indian Art: Peak of Creativity’ convened some years ago on behalf of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study by Professor R.N. Misra, an eminent historian and former Fellow of the Institute. The intervening period has diluted neither the popular relevance of the essays that it includes nor their scholarly significance. The book traverses an impressive expanse of time and space in which a remarkable range of artistic disciplines were conceived, practiced and unturned to a stricking degree of sophistication. Each of these disciples was part of a larger cultural expression through which different geographical regions, politics and societies India represented themselves. Many of the articles describes the form and nature of these expressions. They are, therefore, rich in detail and information. We must remember, however, that there is a deep and intimate connection between power and culture. Yet this is also an intensely contested relationship. The Perceptive reader will find scattered amongst the pages of this volume not only elaborate descriptions of art forms, but also several interesting illustrations of this ambivalent liaison between the structures of authority and articulations of art.
Indian Institute of Advanced Study is indebted to Professor Misra painstakingly editing this volume with the academic rigour and editorial perfections for which he is so well known.
|List of Illustrations||xv|
|Plastic Arts In Making|
|1||Indian Proto-Historic Phase: Town Planning, Sculpture, Seals||1|
|2||Techno-artistic Re-appraisal of Mauryan Pillars: An Account of Archaeological Findings at Sarnath and Chunar||27|
|Beginnings And Efflorescence of The Classical Idiom|
|4||Karle Chaitya: The Grandest Gift of Bhutapala||59|
|6||The Buddhist Cave Painting sof Ajanta and Bagh||81|
|Regional Inflexions Bronzes, Sculpture And Architecture|
|7||Norms of Excellence: Bronzes of Pallava and Chola Period||103|
|8||The Marvels of Ellora: Some Random Thoughts||117|
|9||Kajuraho Masterworks: Images and Imageries||125|
|10||Konarka: Chariot of the Sun God||139|
|11||Gems of Chola Architecture||151|
|12||Remains of Temples and Sculptures of Kashmir||159|
|13||Masterpieces of Uttrakhand Temple and Sculpture||171|
|Architectural And Painterly Tradition: Medieval, Modern And Folk|
|14||Declining Painterly Tradition (Early Medieval India)||181|
|15||A Brief Survey of the Mughal Architecture||189|
|16||Rajasthan Painting: Origin and Development||211|
|17||The Identity of Painting in Modern India||221|
|18||Tradition and Transformations of Loka-Chitra||233|
|Performing Arts: Dance And Theatre-Tradition And Practice|
|19||Poetry in Motion: The Classical Dances of India||243|
|20||The Ancient Indian Dramatic Tradition||257|
|21||Classical Indian Dramatic Tradition||263|
Item Code: NAO755 Author: R.N. Misra Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2014 Publisher: Aryan Books International ISBN: 9788173055140 Language: English Size: 12.5 inch X 9 inch Pages: 296 (108 Color & 114 B/W Illustrations Other Details: Weight of the Book: 1.4 kg
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