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Metaphors of the Indian Arts and Other Essays

by: Kapila Vatsyayan

This anthology is a selection of writings of Dr Kapila Vatsyayan’s nearly four-decade long journey as an art critic and art historian. It reveals the distinct nature of Indian arts from the angle of the world-view in which they emerge. At the same time, it amply shows the theory of art and aesthetics which may enable us to “to see the other traditions of art from our own window”.

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ISBN: 9788124608203
Year Of Publication: 2015
Edition: 1st Edition
Pages : xiv, 338
Bibliographic Details : Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 29
Weight: 1250

Overview

This anthology Metaphors of the Indian Arts and Other Essays is a selection of writings of Dr Kapila Vatsyayan’s nearly four-decade long journey as an art critic and art historian. It reveals the distinct nature of Indian arts from the angle of the world-view in which they emerge. At the same time, it amply shows the theory of art and aesthetics which may enable us to “to see the other traditions of art from our own window”. In a seminal article entitled “Metaphors of the Indian Arts”, the author identifies some fundamentals which permeate the Indian artistic traditions.
In the article entitled “Mountain, Myth, Monuments” Dr Vatsyayan discusses the significance of mountains and the sanctuaries, diversity of attitude and approaches to them in Indian context. She focuses on sacred mountains, especially Kailasa, which have dominated the Indian imagination for many millennia in the world of literature, architecture, sculpture, music and dance.
The attitude to the human body as also the self-consciousness of the relationship of the senses and the mind in diverse civilizations has been of special interest to the author for decades. In the article “Early Evidence of Female Figures, Music and Dance”, she points at essentials of treating the human body in Indian art, specially the female body, over a long span of history. She draws attention to the large measure of consensus on the identification of “meaning” of the particular or single image or relief, ranging from the examples from Mesopotamia to Assyria to Egypt and the figurines and statues of the Indus Valley, Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa and Mehergarh.
Further she returns to explicitly stating the ideational background of Indian aesthetics. Finally, she identifies certain motifs which have travelled across a vast geographical area, specially in South-East Asia.
Altogether, these essays will enable the reader to trace not only her journey but also her place in Indian art history as a carrier of a tradition of A.K. Coomaraswamy and Stella Kramrisch.

Contents

Publisher’s Note
List of Figures
Introduction
— Kamlesh Datta Tripathi
Part I
Art and Aesthetics
1. Indian Aesthetics
2. The Discipline of Art History: Its Multidimensional Nature
3. Metaphors of the Indian Arts
4. Goddesses and Women in Indian Myth and Art
5. Early Evidence of Female Figures, Music and Dance
6. The Indian Arts: Their Ideational Background and Principles of Form
7. The Flying Messenger

Part II
Ecology and Environment
8. Ecology and Indian Myth
9. Mountain, Myth, Monuments
10. Sanctuaries: The Journey of Immanence and Transcendence
11. Entrances and Gateways to the Indian Pilgrimage
Index

Meet the Author
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Internationally recognized as a leading scholar in the diverse fields of Culture and the Arts, Dr Kapila Vatsyayan’s work is inter-disciplinary and spans a vast geographical area, particularly Asia. Her publications include path-breaking works such as Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts and the Square and the Circle of the Indian Arts as also Indian Classical Dance; Traditions of Indian Folk Dance; Traditional Indian Theatre: Multiple Streams; Dance in Indian Painting; and Bharata: The Natyashastra. She has explored the many dimensions of the poem Gita-Govinda — the literature, manuscripts, the relationship of the text, poetry and the painting: she has published six monographs, besides directing a multimedia presentation. Dr Vatsyayan has been acclaimed as Editor of two major volumes for the IGNCA — The Concepts of Space and The Concepts of Time. Besides, she has been General Editor of seven volumes of IGNCA’s Kalatattvakosha series, an inter-disciplinary exploration of Indian key concepts, as also of the Kalamulashastra series on fundamental texts bearing on Arts. She has edited The Cultural Heritage of India, vol. VII (in two parts) for the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, and co-edited Aesthetic Theories and Forms in Indian Tradition, for the Centre for Studies in Civilizations. Dr Vatsyayan has been Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Arts, a member of the Rajya Sabha; member of the UNESCO Executive Board, and President, India International Centre. She is currently chairperson of IIC-Asia Project. She is a recipient of many honours, including Padma Vibhushan from the Government of India and D.Litt. (honoris causa) from several universities in India and abroad; so also the first Asian woman to be awarded the Thalia Prize by the International Association of Theatre Critics.
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