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Performing Artistes in Ancient India

Theatre in ancient India or natya incorporated various aspects of art and different branches of knowledge in its very definition -- not only histrionics but also dance, music and fine arts and branches of learning like history, philosophy and science. This work traces the evolution of the ancient Indian theatre, focusing on the contributions of the performing artistes.

This scholarly treatise deals at length with aspects of dramatic performance like nature, kinds and members of dramatic troupes, abhinaya, the stage and auditorium, incorporating a number of visuals to depict the dramatic scenes etched by artists on pillars, temple walls, caves and objects. It classifies the different kinds and levels of performers: actors like Sailusa, Sailalin, Mankh Kusilava, Nata and Bharata, and actresses like professional actresses, courtesan actresses, divine actresses and so on. It refers to Natyasastra and other noted works on dramaturgy and their authors, and gives examples and illustrations from the famous epics, Buddhist and Jain literature and other works like the Arthasastra to throw light on values associated with drama and its actual performance in ancient times.

The book, presenting well-researched facts and giving an insightful analysis, will prove useful to researchers and teachers of classical Indian art.

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About This Book

Theatre in ancient India or natya incorporated various aspects of art and different branches of knowledge in its very definition -- not only histrionics but also dance, music and fine arts and branches of learning like history, philosophy and science. This work traces the evolution of the ancient Indian theatre, focusing on the contributions of the performing artistes.

This scholarly treatise deals at length with aspects of dramatic performance like nature, kinds and members of dramatic troupes, abhinaya, the stage and auditorium, incorporating a number of visuals to depict the dramatic scenes etched by artists on pillars, temple walls, caves and objects. It classifies the different kinds and levels of performers: actors like Sailusa, Sailalin, Mankh Kusilava, Nata and Bharata, and actresses like professional actresses, courtesan actresses, divine actresses and so on. It refers to Natyasastra and other noted works on dramaturgy and their authors, and gives examples and illustrations from the famous epics, Buddhist and Jain literature and other works like the Arthasastra to throw light on values associated with drama and its actual performance in ancient times.

The book, presenting well-researched facts and giving an insightful analysis, will prove useful to researchers and teachers of classical Indian art.

  • Foreword By : A.K. Narain
  • Binding: : Hardbound
  • 13 Digit ISBN : 9788124602072
  • 10 Digit ISBN : 8124602077
  • Edition : 1st edition
  • Year : 2003
  • Pages : xix, 292 p.
  • Size : 25
  • Weight (approx.) : 1000
  • Bibliographic Details : Appendices; Glossary; Bibliography; Index

Foreword  
Preface         
Abbreviations 
List of Illustrations

1. Genesis of Indian Theatre 
2. Actors and Their Contribution to Theatre in Ancient India

Sailusa  
Sailalin 
Sobhanika and Granthika 
Mankha 
Kusilava 
Nata 
Bharata 
Actors of noble birth Natacarya or Natyacarya 

3. Actresses and their Contribution to Theatre in Ancient India  

Professional Actress 
Professional Actress from Royal Harem (Antahpura) 
Courtesan Actress 
Apsarases: The Celestial Dancers  
Role and Functions of Apsarases and Courtesans 
Art of female Theatre Artistes as Reflected in the Depiction of the Art of Apsarases
Female Performing Artistes in the Form of Devadasis 
Origin of Devadasi System  
History and Contributions of Devadasi to Theatrical Art 
Female Performing Artistes of Noble Birth 
Stri-preksa

4. Dramatic Troupes, Abhinaya, Stage and Auditorium 

Dramatic Troupes 
Member of the Troupe

Sutradhara -- Pariparsvika -- Bharata -- Vidusaka -- Tauripa -- Kusilava -- Nata -- Natakiya -- Play-wright -- Backstage Workers -- Inter-troupe Rivalry -- Travelling Troupes -- History of Troupes 

Abhinaya or Histrionic Expression 
Sattvika Abhinaya 
Angika Abhinaya 
Mukhaja Abhinaya 
Sarira Abhinaya 
Cestakrta 
Vacika Abhinaya 
Sanskrit Pathya or Speech in Sanskrit 
Prakrt Pathya or Speech in Prakrt 
Samanyabhinaya or General Expression Pertaining to Voice and Speech
Citrabhinaya or Particular Expression Pertaining to Voice and Speech
Aharyabhinaya or Expression through Make-up and Costume 
Bharata as a prayokta: A Review of the Acting Style Known from Natyasastra
Stage and Auditorium 

Open air Theatre -- Cave Theatre -- Pavilion or Mandapa type of Theatre 

5. Social and Economic Status of Performing Artistes 

Reasons 
Glimpses of the Everyday Life of Performing Artistes 

Regular Exercise -- Good Diet -- Physical Charm -- Bhrukumsa

Close Relationship Among Performing Artistes 

Habit of Drinking -- Rehearsals of the Plays 

Economic Status 

Appendix - I : Spectators 

Darsaka 
Preksaka 

Daiviki Siddhi -- Manusi Siddhi 

Prasnika 
Mass and Class 
Seating Arrangement 

Appendix - II : Story of the Origin of Drama Narrated in Natyasastra
Plates 
Bibliography      
Glossary 
Index
          

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