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The Metaphors of Indian Arts and Other Essays

 
Kapila Vatsyayan (Author)
Synopsis

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.

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About the author

Kapila Vatsyayan

Kapila Vatsyayan artist and art historian is internationally acknowledged as the pioneer of evolving alternate models of research for establishing inter and intra-relationship of different domains of knowledge and creativity. Her own work moves from a deep understanding of the primary textual sources of the East and West, principally Sanskrit and English, and a direct experience of the arts as performer. It focuses attention on the inter relationship of the concept and creative interpretation in architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and dance. The kinetic image enables her to delve deeper into the textual and oral sources and the fundamental metaphysics which govern form and structure of the arts. She has convincingly drawn attention to the sacred geometry which pervades all the Indian arts. As visualiser of the conceptual plan of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, she leaps across many disciplines, questions the conventional boundaries and finally establishes several bridges of communication between traditional thought and modern science. This has resulted in many multi-disciplinary studies of space and time, nature and culture, man and society, chaos and order. Her holistic integral vision is explicit in the volumes she has edited on these subjects. Her first work, Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts, is a milestone by experts the world over. This work was followed by many others including the definitive study of Dance in Indian Painting, The Theoretical Basis of Asian Aesthetic Traditions; Traditional Indian Theatre: Multiple Streams; six volumes on Gita Govinda; Bharata and the Natyasastra; and the Square and the Circle of the Indian Arts. She has edited the volumes on Concepts of Space: Ancient and Modern and Concepts of Time: Ancient and Modern published by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Metaphors of Indian Arts and Other Essays
Author Kapila Vatsyayan
Format Hardcover
Date published: 05.05.2015
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher D K Printworld
Language: English
isbn 9788124608203
length xiv+338p., Index; 29cm.