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Performing Artistes in Ancient India

by: Iravati

The book studies the evolution of ancient Indian theatre: it deals with the dramatic troupes, abhinaya, the stage and auditorium and visuals depicting scenes etched on temples and caves. It examines the kinds of performing artistes and their contributions.

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ISBN: 9788124602072
Year Of Publication: 2003
Edition: 1st
Pages : xix, 292
Bibliographic Details : Appendices; Glossary; Bibliography; Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 25 cm.
Weight: 1000

Overview

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.

Contents

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
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
5. Social and Economic Status of Performing Artistes
Reasons
Glimpses of the Everyday Life of Performing Artistes
Close Relationship Among Performing Artistes
Economic Status
Appendix – I : Spectators
Darsaka
Preksaka
Prasnika
Mass and Class
Seating Arrangement
Appendix – II : Story of the Origin of Drama Narrated in Natyasastra
Plates
Bibliography
Glossary
Index

Meet the Author
avatar-author
1947
Iravati, a scholar who has specialised in the field of ancient Indian theatre, has written a number of research articles on the subject for various journals. Several plays penned by her have been staged and admired, the latest one based on the life of poet Kabir and tiltled Moko Kahan Dhundhe Re Bande. She has been honoured by Samskar Bharati for her contributions to histrionic art. Currently she heads the Department of Ancient Indian History Culture and Archaeology in Vasanta College for Women, Krishnamurti Foundation (India), Varanasi.
Books of Iravati