Lippan/Chittar Kaam-Mud and Mirror Work

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Lippan/Chittar  Kaam, also known as Mud and Mirror work, is a traditional mural folk art form from Gujarat, a western border state of India. Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch (The Great Salt Desert) that lies between India and Pakistan is home to several desert communities, many of which do this mud relief work in their own distinct style. One such, the nomadic Rabari people, are especially associated with it. Desert life is tough, but the indomitable spirit of human beings is perspicuously at display in the art these people choose to create, despite harsh, inhospitable environs. Lippan Kaam is usually done inside, and sometimes, outside the mud huts (bhungas) in far-flung villages.

Traditionally, a mixture of camel dung which is rich in fibre is mixed with mud and molded between fingers before being stuck directly on walls. Kutchi motifs such as peacocks, birds, animals, human figures, trees and geometric patterns are sculpted freehand in bas-relief. Muslim communities stick to geometric patterns since depiction of human or animal form is considered un-Islamic. Each pattern in embellished with mirrors (aabhla), of various sizes and shapes – round, diamond & triangular. Authentic Mud and Mirror work is almost always colored in white clay, or at best, in shades of neutrals. The white comes from the sand of the Rann desert, rich as it is in salt content.

With increasing numbers now living in concrete homes, and with the younger generation trading traditional arts and crafts for lucrative city jobs, the preponderance of Lippan Kaam is decreasing in villages (see video below). However the upside to the story is that the art form has gathered some traction over the years, and made an entrance into mainstream art world of India. Onwards from bhungas into fancy city homes and spas… and now, Manhattan!

This is my first attempt at Lippan Kaam and I’ve attempted to stay as authentic as possible, trying to retain the rustic look and white tones these murals sport. Since the designs are traditionally handmade, their lines are seldom precise and the end result is almost never factory-like perfect. I love these little nuances, and incorporating them in my work was important to me. But there are a few adaptations made, mostly with regards to the materials used. A detailed list is given in the end. This artwork has been created on Hardboard so it can be mounted on walls.

img_2689To start, I researched traditional motifs and patterns and came up with a final design; a process that involved multiple iterations. Then, after applying two layers of Gesso to the hardboard, it was painted with thin acrylic paint. The decision of staying with a white palette was one I took rather early on and that helped with planning the work as it proceeded. Once the acrylic dried out, the design was penciled.

With the design traced, I glued-in mirrors. All circular mirrors used are glass mirrors whereas the other shapes are cut out of Tim Holtz Mirror sheets. I loved working with the latter because of the freedom of being able to craft out any shape, and also, because the sheets come with a transparent cover which is very convenient when working alongside materials like clay and color. It keeps the mirrored surface free from fingerprints, colors etc.

Apoxie® Sculpt substituted regular clay for two reasons. One, it  offers the benefits of sculpting clay and two, it has the adhesive power of epoxy so I did not need glue to stick clay to the board. It is  smooth and putty-like in consistency, relatively simple to mix and use, even for first timers like me.

The Apoxie self-hardens (no baking required) and cures hard in 24 hours to appear with a semi-gloss finish. [Tip: I mixed small batches at a time, covering small portions of the larger design, since leaving epoxy out for long durations makes it hard and unwieldy.] The clay work was followed by sticking of cowrie shells. This is entirely my touch, don’t think shells are traditionally Lippan Kaam materials.

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I’ll be honest, coloring was the trickiest part, for multiple reasons. First of all, conjuring multiple shades of white/neutrals was more difficult than I’d anticipated. Trickier still was avoiding coloring over tiny mirrors. Tedious. And last but not the least, ensuring that details of clay designs stay visible (and not get washed out by white acrylic color) took most time. If you look closely, I applied a wash in terracotta color over these just to give the details a pop, and followed that with a super diluted wash of white acrylic, in-line with the white overall look. Very. Tedious.

Once any art work is nearly done, the last bit is all about refining – bringing out the hits and covering the misses. In this case, since I intentionally wanted to leave the work rustic, this last step was more about drawing lines on where to stop..despite instinctively wanting to go on.

The end result is here for you to see.. I love it since it’s a little piece of the Rann hanging on my wall. The interesting thing is, while I lived in India, I knew not much about its rich artistic heritage. However post settling abroad, I feel a need to connect to my roots be it the philosophy, religion, sociology, arts or crafts. Don’t be surprised if they make an appearance here, often!

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List of Materials used:

– Apoxie Sculpt 1 Lb. White

Round Glass Mirrors, Assorted Sizes, 25-Pack

Mosaic Mercantile 8-Ounce Adhesive

100 Pcs Bulk Cut Sea Shell Beads Cowrie Craft

White acrylic paint and Gesso. Any good brand will do, I used Liquitex and Blick

Here are two links. 1: shows a village woman, Valuben, making this work of art the traditional way. 2: is a short read on the Rabari people.

Hope you enjoy!

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 2: http://www.kashgar.com.au/articles/the-rabari-people-of-northwest-india

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Representing Mystical Love of the Gīta-Govinda

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Crying sounds of cuckoos, mating on mango shoots

Shaken as bees seek honey scents of opening buds,

Raise fever in the ears of lonely travelers-

Somehow they survive these days

By tasting the mood of lovers’ union

In climaxing moments of meditation. 

The Gīta-Govinda is a lyrical poem composed by the poet-saint Jayadeva in Sanskrit. Dating back to the twelfth century, this masterpiece originated in eastern India, probably Orissa or Bengal. Called “Love Song of the Dark Lord” by Barbara Stoler Miller1, on the face of it the poem recounts a simple tale: the joy of Radha and Krishna’s initial union, the agony of their subsequent separation and the bliss of their ultimate reunion. However, rooted in medieval Vaishnavism, and as emphasized by the poet himself, the Gīta-Govinda is really a means for meditation and contemplation of Vishnu/Krishna. This meticulously crafted literary work universalizes erotic emotion and calms the distinctions of “I” and “mine” and “you” and “yours”. It seeks to break the imaginary barrier between the human and divine2. With the spread of Vaishnavism, the poem found widespread favor throughout the country and within a century or so, it was adapted to dance, music, painting and temple worship across regions.

Objective

Despite the passage of time, the text of the Gīta-Govinda underwent minimum change. That is why its illustrated manuscripts offer a great opportunity to study the nature of relationship between text and image. Such a study, as will soon become apparent, helps unravel critical developmental aspects of Indian miniature painting.

This paper considers a relatively tight time span of roughly two hundred years – the seventeenth century and the eighteenth century- to examine works of four miniature painting schools and analyze how their artists represented this story of mystical love. Painted Gīta-Govinda sets had obviously become popular around this time given the reasonably large number of dated sets found, and their study affords us a nuanced understanding of the artistic sensibilities and formal values of their folios. The four schools studied are: Mewari and Bundi from western India, Darbhanga from eastern India and Pahari from the hills of north. While examining these works, focus will be placed on understanding how the body is deployed to represent a love at once both human and divine, and how artists accomplish this while adhering to a style and sensibility specific to their regions.

Text and its Artistic Traditions

The Gīta-Govinda draws its structurally intricate form and concepts from various levels of Indian literary tradition3. It is organized into twelve chapters (sargas), with each chapter further sub-divided into twenty-four divisions called prabandhas. Each prabandha contains couplets grouped into eights (ashtapadis). Recognized as a chef d’oeuvre of religious ‘dhvani’ poetry, the poem adopts ‘suggestion’ (dhvani, vyangyartha) as its principal method, communicating emotions arising in a situation indirectly through suggestion, nuance or resonance. The happenings of the tale and the images it brings to mind are felt more intensely when suggested than when described. Passion is made palpable through sensuous descriptions of movements and physical form. Seasonal changes in nature and bodily signs of inner feeling are colored richly to create a dense atmosphere of passion. Through imagery, tone, color and rhythm Jayadeva interweaves levels of physical and metaphysical associations and the cosmic energy of Krishna’s love with Radha is condensed into religious ecstacy.4

Various artistic traditions were inspired to incorporate the Gīta-Govinda with all its resplendent imagery into their folds. After raga and tala were assigned to its lyrics, the poem was adapted to different musical versions and dance performances, especially in temples. Alongside, it also rapidly gained popularity in pictorial traditions. The artist’s familiarity with the totality of the poetic composition, its movement through cantos, sections and structure of verses within cantos provided the basic ground plan for the pictorial composition. The poetic counter-pointing of motifs, similes and metaphors and appellations was transfigured into a pictorial idiom…5 Upon examining inter-relations between these multiple traditions, it becomes clear that each set of folios was meant to be viewed together, like frames of a movie.

The first illustrated manuscripts of the Gīta-Govinda date back to the late fifteenth – early sixteenth centuries and originated probably in North Gujarat. They had close stylistic similarities to Jain miniatures of the period and were abstract in nature, without any human figures. Thereafter from middle to late sixteenth century, paintings were made in the Caurapancasika style where differences from geometrical segments of the Jain paintings and multiple plains of Mughal paintings became clearly visible. Seventeenth century saw the Mewari School gain dominance and this is the first school we will look at in detail.

Mewari School

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Figure 1: Examples of Mature Mewari Idiom (Late 17th century- Early 18th century)

The Mewari paintings we examine date back to the late seventeenth – early eighteenth centuries and are executed in a mature Mewari idiom. They exhibit a deep understanding of the mystical and erotic import of the text, possibly an outcome of the spreading popularity of Vaishnava cults. The artist for the first time strives to elevate the human drama of the two lovers to the divine agony of godhood and the human soul (parmatma and jivatma) by rendering a faithful verse-to-verse translation of the text. He repeats refrains of the musical composition as motifs and thereby provides thematic and pictorial unity to a set. Thin arches of the Caurapancasika style become lush, arched bowers with dangling garlands representing consecrated space. Overcast clouds with a row of white flying cranes carrying messages of love, a motif popular in Indian poetry, make an appearance, thereby incorporating Jayadeva’s mystical metaphor of Radha’s white garland on Krishna’s dark body.

The compositional pattern of most paintings of this set is similar. Following a continuous narrative system, their surface is divided into different sections and the actors are repeated several times over in the same painting. This technique is also used to depict different moods of the characters. Colors are vivid with an ingenious use of white and empty spaces. Fine brushwork is evidenced throughout the set. Rajasthani text with some case endings in Gujarati appears on top of the folios in three of four lines, while Sanskrit text is found at the back. Let us now look at details of two paintings.

“Clouds thicken the sky.

Tamala trees darken the forest.

The night frightens him.

Radha, you take him home!”

 They leave at Nanda’s order,

Passing trees in thickets on the way,

Until secret passions of Radha and Madhava

Triumph on the Jumna bank.

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Figure 2: Detailed look Mewari School (1)

This painting is interesting in the way it uses the body, specifically the size of it, to depict the transition of Krishna from a frightened, diminutive figure to a full grown adult; from a mere mortal to the mystical lover of the Gīta-Govinda. In line with the narrative system, the painting is divided into four sections.

In the first, a tall Nanda addresses Radha, who is second tallest in size and asks her to drop Krishna off since it is getting dark and it might rain. Clouds and lightening occupy the upper horizon. Nanda is wearing a typical turban (pagri) and cloak (choga) of Mewari paintings. Suggestively, Krishna is shorter than Radha. A seamless flow into the second section shows Radha bidding goodbye to Nanda and leading Krishna away.

The third section is separated from this one by a thicket of bushes and trees. It is observed that trees throughout this Mewari set serve three purposes: first, they decorate and beautify the frame, second, they act as section dividers and third, they help indicate passage of time. Thus in this third section, Krishna is painted bigger and taller. A symbolically meaningful concept is thereby rendered in a pictorially effective way. The viewer now views both Radha & Krishna as adults in an equal relationship as they gaze at each other lovingly.

The last section shows Radha & Krishna’s union in the forest. This consecrated area of the arched bower is demarcated by the distinctive use of white hanging garlands, which as previously mentioned are typical of the Mewari idiom. Radha’s embrace here is passionate, not affectionate or delicate as it was in the first two sections, and the depiction of the bodies here leaves nothing to the imagination.

Thus in this painting, the painter cleverly transforms written verses into pictorial imagery by the skillful use of the body and additional flourishes of cattle, shrubs, foliage and architectural frames.

When he quickens all things


To create bliss in the world,

His soft black sinuous lotus limbs


Begin the festival of love


And beautiful cowherd girls wildly


Wind him in their bodies.

Friend, in spring young Hari plays


Like erotic mood incarnate.

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Figure 3: Detailed look Mewari School (2)

The second Mewari painting we examine is based on a verse in which Jayadeva condenses several levels of consciousness and is therefore a good example to study the representation of plurality of meaning in pictorial tradition.

To depict the universality of Krishna’s love spoken of in the first two lines, he is depicted towards the left of the painting in his iconographical form, bestowing blessings on everyone – kings, families, people, animals and aquatic life. This can be seen in the niches and the adjoining areas that show animals such as a horse, a cow with her calf and an elephant. Each scene is depicted in a demarcated area even as all such areas are connected. Thus everyone is a receiver of the joy (ananda) of Krishna’s love and there is bliss in the world.

To depict the plurality contained in the remaining verse, the painter utilizes renditions of the body beautifully. The dark, sinuous of body of Hari, is entwined, almost enmeshed with the bodies of the gopis such that it can hardly be distinguished from theirs. Dense foliage flowing into each other all around only serves to enhance this point of enmeshment. A tiny but conspicuous figure of the God of Love, Kama, is seen in the trees and appears to bring home the point that Krishna is in fact, the very embodiment (murtimaan) of the God of Love. This Kama figure is used liberally throughout Mewari sets to depict love, or more aptly, the affliction of love. Thus the painter uses the body to portray the idea of universality of Krishna, of mystical love – that a part of him is in everyone and everyone is in him.

In this Mewari set therefore we observe an integral relationship between the poetic and pictorial image and see it become the foundation of formal composition. Innovative artistic devices like the figure of Kama, or the consecrated space of the arched bowers make an appearance to enliven metaphors visually. While on the surface the paintings are merely pretty and decorative, on a deeper level they stand rich in plural meanings and symbolism. 

Bundi School

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Figure 4: Examples of Early Bundi Drawings (Early 17th century)

The Bundi folio we study belongs to a set of one hundred and thirty five drawings made on hand-made paper with verses written on the back. It is illustrated in the early Bundi style and dates probably to the first half of seventeenth century. The drawings attempt to recreate verses of Jayadeva in all their symbolism through the sole medium of minimal pen line. Had these been finished paintings, they would have made remarkable examples of the Bundi School as the artist while maintaining fidelity to the Bundi style, never fails to assert his own interpretation of the theme. Like the poem, his drawings seek to move on multiple levels and even in their present form they exhibit great prowess in line drawing, spatial organization, and textual interpretation. That is why despite their unfinished, unpolished nature, these are included in this paper.

The Bundi set shows short, squat figures with distinctive sitting and standing stances. Some features of the figure drawings show similarities to the popular Moghul school of the seventeenth century, like illustrations of the profile and costumes of the females (cholis, odhanis and a lower garments with a centrally tied sash). Architectural details appear vague and while areas are demarcated for landscapes and floral motifs, they are vacant, probably left for later brushwork. Unlike the Mewari set, we do not see a verse-to-verse depiction of text and the main actors are not repeated multiples time in the same drawing. The artist here seeks to portray an entire prabandha in a folio.

Let us now consider a folio of this set in detail.

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Figure 5: Detailed Look – Bundi School

 Let pearls quivering on full breasts

Move the depths of your heart!

Let a girdle ringing on round hips

Proclaim the command of Love!

 In the Gīta-Govinda, Jayadeva creates a picture of the universe with its plentiful fullness (purnakumbha). Radha is symbolic of this earth principle with the sensuous and cosmological interwoven in her being. Her breasts are auspicious pitchers (mangal kalash) representing earth’s bounty.

To this nuanced symbolism, the artist draws Radha & Krishna seated close together in a circular area. Krishna’s left arm gently rests over Radha’s shoulder as she has finally relented and their union is now imminent. Radha’s breasts are more clearly drawn and there is a suggestion of the girdle of her hips; in fact, each time the poet speaks of the full circle of Radha’s hips, the artist shows a seated, relaxed Radha with the line of her hips implying a circle.

This drawing is interesting in that almost all of its lines are circular, merging into one another, and this continuity of pictorial form is not broken anywhere. The two trees at the back are also interconnected with a horizontal line. This artistic device of merging, unbroken lines skillfully communicates harmony, union and love. The artist is able to show via this impressive technique that while on one level this is love play, on another it is the ultimate union of the manifest and the unmanifest; one is incomplete without the other.

Thus in the Bundi set we see a preoccupation with a single situation; a situation depicted through clearly defined foreground and background with great care and precision meted to communicating emotions. On comparing this set with the Mewari one it becomes obvious that the Bundi set exhibits a sensibility distinctly its own.

Darbhanga School

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Figure 6: Examples of Darbhanga School (Late 18th century)

Skipping from the seventeenth century to the late eighteenth century brings us to the Darbhanga School in eastern India. For the Darbhanga artist, interpretations of the Gīta-Govinda were governed to a large extent by the more established painting styles. Several visual devices created earlier to breathe pictorial life into poetic metaphors now became rules of composition, sometimes devoid of charm and subtlety. To some scholars like Kapila Vatsyayan, in the Darbhanga Gīta-Govinda “…the comprehension of the text and its creative pictorial transfiguration are at the level of ritual rather than sensuous perception and spiritual experience.6

In the set under consideration, there are twenty-eight illustrated folios with sixty-five textual folios that follow related paintings. While similarities to the influential Mewari School become obvious immediately, some innovations are also observed and these help the paintings from being labeled mere conventional executions. For instance, in a noticeable departure, Krishna and Radha appear full faced and distinctly deified as evidenced from the halos around their heads. By this time, it is probable that Vaishnavism (Chaitanya and Vallabha Sampradaya) had accorded Radha a deified status and the painter portrayed this. Also, arched bowers of the Mewari idiom while present, appear enlarged, without any hanging white garlands. The Kama figure that symbolized the affliction of love is done away with, as are cymbals (manjira) and tambourine (jhanja) that the sakhis used for singing and dancing. They now have sarangi and tablas. Trees and plants appear more like a tapestry of geometrical design7 and don’t seem quite as alive as they did in the Mewari set. Peacocks are used liberally to depict emotions.

Like the Bundi set, a whole prabandha is depicted in the paintings and there is no continuous narrative at play. Colors used throughout the set appear lighter and brighter. Red of Mewari paintings becomes scarlet and crimson. Orange becomes yellow while blue and green become lighter. Occasionally a slight linear perspective is noticeable, but largely the principles of pictorial composition from the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries are followed. All this is observed in the folio we examine next.

Yadava hero, your hand is cooler than sandalbalm on my breast;

Paint a leaf design with deer musk here on Love’s ritual vessel!

She told the joyful hero, playing to delight her heart.

Fix flowers in shining hair loosened by loveplay, Krishna!

Make a flywhisk outshining peacock plumage to be the banner of Love.

She told the joyful hero, playing to delight her heart.

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Figure 7: Detailed Look – Darbhanga School

With the end of the consummation of their union, Radha asks Krishna to re-adorn her with all the outer trappings of form and name that she left behind before entering his place of love: her garments and her adornments like anklets, earrings, girdle etc. This prabandha has been a favorite of poets, painters, musicians and dancers alike and the Darbhangha painter is inspired by the image of the flywhisk and peacocks. He repeats flowering lotuses, and peacocks with their plumage fanned out – a pictorial motif often used to signify union and completeness. Seated on the bed with Radha is Krishna, braiding her flowing tresses. The lines of Radha’s hair suggest a flywhisk. One sakhi behind Krishna holds the ritual vessel (mangal kalash) and another holds out a mirror to the deified lovers seated under tee consecrated space of the bower. This is one painting of the set in which linear perspective is observed in the way the white platform and the bed are placed – no longer straight and flat, these are shaped like parallelograms.

Overall, the Darbhanga painter attempts to suggest an overall feeling of peace and harmony in portraying this sensitive morning-after moment. It is interesting to contrast this work with that of the Pahari school to see how the Pahari artist interprets a moment from the same prabandha; given that he too was painting in the late 18th century.

Pahari School

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Figure 8: Examples of the Pahari School (18th century)

 In his book on Rajput paintings, Ananda Coomaraswamy said of Pahari paintings “…their ethos is unique: what Chinese art achieved for landscape is here accomplished for human love. This art is only concerned with the realities of life; above all, with passionate love service, conceived as the means and symbol of all union8.

Pahari paintings can be classified into two larger groups: the northern series, the school of Jammu (Dogra) and the southern series, called the school of Kangra but extending to Garhwal. However, it is the Kangra paintings of the late eighteenth century that have come to stand for the term Pahari paintings. This of course is a partial and biased way of considering the school, but the value placed on them (Kangra paintings) is just 9.

Kangra style of the late eighteenth century is picturesque and romantic. A highly developed facility in drawing and coloring is its signature. Animated figures with fluent, easy lines are plentiful. Women are willowy and slender with very long and curved eyes (not round) and beautiful tapering fingers. Besides the idealized Krishna, many men types are created to add character (gopa boys, sage-like Nanda). Colors are glowing and brilliant. Even the backgrounds are no longer flat or monochromatic as a naturalistic air pervades. The architecture is ornate and refined. Some stylistic features of the school can be attributed to the close relations between Kangra and Mughal courts. What is also noticeable is a newly acquired skill in rendering night effects. Whatever action takes place is still shown in an abstract light, the figures are bright as they would be in day, with no shadows10. However the crowing glory of these paintings still remains human emotion, rendering states of mind, and transforming similes into paintings. All these developments come shining through in the set of paintings known as paintings of the first masters after Nainsukh.

The two Pahari paintings we examine are considered to be the finest examples this school. Painted by the first masters after Nainsukh, they belong to a set of 140 extant folios. It will be interesting to compare these paintings with those of the other schools we have already considered to see how the same verbal stimulus is treated differently now. These paintings have dark-blue margins and text is written behind them.

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Figure 9: Detailed Look – Pahari School (1) First Masters after Nainsukh

Let us first look at a painting that depicts the same moment that the Darbhanga artist visualized in Figure: 7: when Radha asks Krishna to re-adorn her. We see here a very different treatment even though both paintings date to roughly the same period. A naturalistic feel and mellow grace abounds, and while there is a sense of space and openness, the figures in the foreground still remain cynosures of all attention. Radha’s body is young and lissome; her breasts are full and her hands ring of slender delicacy. Sitting in an easy stance, she is unabashed and in control as she asks Krishna to ornament her in every possible way. Krishna’s body is sinuous and deep blue. This is probably one of the few folios of this set where his upper body is covered by a yellow scarf. The impact of Radha’s nakedness waist-up is contrasted, and amplified well by Krishna’s covered upper body. The night is now over and the lovers sit in the morning light, shielded and also framed by trees. The village is visible in the background but Radha and Krishna are oblivious to it as Krishna obeys Radha’s command and paints a leaf design with deer musk on her breasts. The tenderness of the moment is beautifully captured; Radha’s triumph and Krishna’s submission is obvious to see. Symbolism of this morning after a long dark night cannot be missed.

The paper ends with a look at this painting deliberately – so that we may complete the circle and return to the point from where we started. Depicting like Figure: 2 the moment when love first blossoms between Radha and Krishna, the painting serves as a good example of the level of sophistication and mastery some Indian miniature painting schools had achieved in depicting love, mystical and human, over a relatively short time of less than two centuries.

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Figure 10: Detailed Look – Pahari School (2) First Masters after Nainsukh

Visualized very differently from the Mewari style, the real strength of this painting lies in the way it captures the tender, delicate intimacy of the moment. The Pahari painter is not just pictorially communicating a tale; he is painting its emotions. From a purely narrative point of view, the decision to devote a whole folio to the quiet moment shared by the two lovers is an intelligent one. While passionate love will soon take over and the following folios of the set will be replete with color, brightness, flora and fauna, right now the artist wants us to see only this – two glowing figures in the stillness of the night sharing mystical love and discreet passion. Standing close to Radha, with one arm around her shoulder, Krishna gently reaches out for her breasts. Radha, overcome by her emotions and torn by demands of duty, points to the path they must take, but with little conviction. Her lissome body is turned elegantly, almost like that of a classical dancer as she gazes lovingly at Krishna. Bodies of these lovers stand out beautifully against a velvety, rich dark night with silhouettes of trees forms looming in the background.

Thus, while these exquisite paintings exhibit the absolute mastery the Pahari painters have over the medium, they also showcase that he goes beyond technical finesse to bring out the emotional content of this mystical love story. By creating a series of references essential to the immediate situation, he not only brings home the import of all that Jayadeva wants to convey in his poem but also lets the viewer read his/her own meanings into it. For instance, detailing of the foliage is perhaps used as a metaphor for the relationship between prakriti and purush, the male and the female aspect given that Jayadeva referred to the relationship between Radha and Krishna similarly. The viewer therefore enjoys this Gīta-Govinda set on multiple levels. There is more in it than elegance of color and form. The paintings touch off resonances11. 

Conclusion

Rendering the mystical love of the Gīta-Govinda and using the body to bring it to fruition has been a fantastic, adventurous journey of the Indian miniature. Because the content of this lyrical poem was thematically thin, true artistic genius lay in how the narrative was delineated. Inner emotional states needed to be dramatized faithfully, breathing life into textual metaphors and similes pictorially.

Our examination of multiple Gīta-Govinda sets leads to the deduction that how well the folios were executed was as much a function of pictorial mastery, draughtsmanship and command over the medium as of the artist’s ability to understand and respond to multiple nuances of the Sanskrit text. Because the human drama of the Gīta-Govinda is at the level of emotions and moods, not action, an inner sensitivity gave the artist an edge over restricted mannered style. Real skill lay in depicting not just the obvious, but also the unspoken.

Some artists were able to do this better than the others, but the more important thing is that they all tried.

References:

  1. Miller, Barbara Stoler, ed. Love song of the dark lord: Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda. Columbia University Press, 1997.
  2. Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish. Rajput Paintings. 1912.
  3. Vatsyayan, Kapila. Mewari Gita-Govinda. National Museum, 1987.
  4. Vatsyayan, Kapila. The Bundi Gīta-Govinda. Bharat Kala Bhavan, 1981.
  5. Vatsyayan, Kapila. The Darbhanga Gīta-Govinda. Abhinav Publications, 2011.
  6. Goswamy, Brijinder Nath, and Eberhard Fischer. Pahari Masters: Court Painters of Northern India. Oxford University Press, 1997.
  7. Chandra, Moti. Gita Govinda. Vol. 1. Lalit Kalā Akademi, 1965.
  8. Jain, P. C., Veena Baswani, and RK Dutta Gupta. Indian miniature painting: manifestation of a creative mind. Brijbasi Art Press, 2006.

Notes:

  1. Miller, Barbara Stoler, ed. Love song of the dark lord: Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda. Columbia University Press, 1997.
  2. Miller, Barbara Stoler, ed. Love song of the dark lord: Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda. Columbia University Press, 1997. Pp.15
  3. Miller, Barbara Stoler, ed. Love song of the dark lord: Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda. Columbia University Press, 1997. Pp. 7.
  4. Miller, Barbara Stoler, ed. Love song of the dark lord: Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda. Columbia University Press, 1997. Pp.17
  5. Vatsyayan, Kapila. Mewari Gita-Govinda. National Museum, 1987. Pp ix
  6. Vatsyayan, Kapila. The Darbhanga Gīta-Govinda. Abhinav Publications, 2011. Pp.19
  7. Vatsyayan, Kapila. The Darbhanga Gīta-Govinda. Abhinav Publications, 2011. Pp.18
  8. Goswamy, Brijinder Nath, and Eberhard Fischer. Pahari Masters: Court Painters of Northern India. Oxford University Press, 1997. Pp. 7
  9. Goswamy, Brijinder Nath, and Eberhard Fischer. Pahari Masters: Court Painters of Northern India. Oxford University Press, 1997. Pp. 312
  10. Goswamy, Brijinder Nath, and Eberhard Fischer. Pahari Masters: Court Painters of Northern India. Oxford University Press, 1997. Pp. 316
  11. Goswamy, Brijinder Nath, and Eberhard Fischer. Pahari Masters: Court Painters of Northern India. Oxford University Press, 1997. Pp. 316

Discovering a Classic

This post is about art and aesthetics. Magic, music and movies. …or maybe I don’t know what I am really writing about. There is this kernel of an idea that’s been niggling at me for the last few days; so here I am, typing away, trying to stitch together a tapestry of random occurrences over time. Maybe towards the end, we’ll discover together what I was trying pin down all along.

Let me begin where it began for me..

As a good ’90s grunge-child, Smashing Pumpkins was a band I adored. Siamese Dreams was mind-bending, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness took the trip further. One song in particular, “Tonight, Tonight” captured my imagination – mostly because of its fantastical video. I loved everything about it: the idea, the flickering-faded-vintage vibe, surreal settings within a distinctly steampunkish faery tale atmosphere. I often say that while it is nearly impossible for me to respond to what my favourite song is, it is easy to name my favourite music video – Tonight, Tonight.

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The genre of steampunk mixed with fantasy and sci-fi grew on me to a large extent because of Tonight, Tonight. A few steampunk paintings and art projects of mine find root in this adoration. Boxes of gears, watch faces, goggles, stamps and moulds always lie at home, waiting to be made into something to befittingly steampunk-cool. Books are borrowed from the library to dig deep into this genre. It may well be my never ending love story.

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Watching Hugo for the first time about six months back, I saw faded, sepia visuals spookily similar to those of my favorite video. The feel was that of steampunk on speed. Things I had first seen in a 1996 music video now popped-out from a 2011 movie – a movie that was a period drama depicting the 1930s.  And so, even before the film was through, I was researching it and this led me to Georges Méliès and his iconic A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage Dans la Lune).

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Le Voyage Dans la Lune (1902) is a classic black & white and color (hand painted) silent film by the french director Georges Méliès. Méliès, and hundreds of his films long lay erased from public memory ravaged by the brutality that is rapidly changing times (and generations.) Fittingly, this temporary memory lapse was cured by time too. Today Méliès is revered, is considered a genius, and this 16-minute film of his is widely regarded as one of the most important works of film history.

Based loosely on two popular novels of the time: Jules Verne’s ‘From the Earth to the Moon’ and H. G. Wells ‘The First Men In The Moon’, Le Voyage Dans la Lune was the first to use science fiction as its theme even as it incorporated special effects that were state-of-the-art at the turn of the 19th century. Considered groundbreaking by many a student of cinema, this surreal work is absurd, dreamy and magical. It is poetry in the guise of science fiction and it reveals Méliès’ innovative work not just in its special effects but also in hand-tinting, backdrops and costumes.

The color version, considered lost for several decades, was found in 1993 in Spain, albeit in a desperate condition. In 2B4Qyd-YIEAEUUF5.jpg-large010, a complete restoration was launched, so that a new set of audience could experience its charms. And so it remains..the moment when the capsule lands in the Moon’s eye has become one of the most iconic and frequently referenced images in the history of cinema.

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In all of this, what struck me most is how profoundly Méliès and his piece of art has inspired (and continues to inspire) the creative mind. I’m sure there are many, many more instances, but here are the ones I came across even while I wasn’t seeking them out actively..

  • There is Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s homage to Méliès.
  • The video Tonight, Tonight which ends with a poignant “S.S. Méliès” written on a steamboat.
  • My paintings, some of which occupy homes other than mine, all unknowingly inspired by Méliès!
  • Then there is the french band AIR (another one of my favourites) that put a contemporary spin on the classic movie by composing an original, modern soundtrack for it. The soundtrack made its debut at the Cannes festival 2011 no less, playing alongside the newly restored, colored print of the movie on show for the first time.
  • Spurred on by their work on this short movie, AIR decided to develop the project into a full album. AIR’s Nicolas Godin explained of their new album, A Trip to the Moon, released in 2012: “It is undoubtedly more organic than most of our past projects. We wanted it to sound ‘handmade,’ knocked together’, a bit like Méliès’ special effects. Everything is played live … like Méliès’ film, our soundtrack is nourished by living art.”
  • tttmAnd then just last week I saw this ad while leafing through the New York Times. It’s an ad for the auction of “The Copy of the First Animated Film Poster”, a poster of A Trip to the Moon and its auction was expected to earn between $225,000-$275,000.

I guess at the centre of this labyrinth… the thing I’ve been trying to pin down… is that great art is one thing, and one thing only

                                            …Great Art is Great Inspiration.

The Sea, Inside and Out

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It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand Caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.

Often ’tis in such gentle temper found,
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be moved for days from where it sometime fell,
When last the winds of Heaven were unbound.

Oh, ye! who have your eyeballs vexed and tired,
Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody—
Sit ye near some old Cavern’s Mouth and brood,
Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired!

~ John Keats

I grew up by the sea. Weekends were spent on the beach building sea castles, chasing crabs and the odd jelly fish, collecting shells, swimming and sampling delicious street foods and drinks. Many a crashing wave has been privy to conversations between my friends and I on overcast days when we’d bunk college to feel the breeze in our hair and the surf on our feet.

Waves of disquiet inside were often quietened by the waves outside.

I don’t live by the sea anymore, but I run to it whenever I can. I paint it when I can – like  the painting above made on request for a new home. It’s an abstract mixed media done with moulding paste, acrylics and gold leaf. Peace out!

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Shakti, my way

IMG_0481She lost her mother a little too early in life. I was a management trainee then..doing the rounds of a factory in Punjab when I received her call. She was strong and collected – well as much as she could have been under the circumstances – and heartbroken as I was, I couldn’t have been prouder.

So when she moved into her swanky new sea-facing home and asked me to paint something for her bare walls, what else could I paint but Ma….Shakti…..that primordial female cosmic energy blessing her everyday, keeping her strong, vibrant and crazy as ever.

This is my house-warming gift to her. This is my love for aunty, one of the sweetest, kindest souls I’ve had the privilege of knowing .

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Painting details: Mixed Media on Canvas – acrylics, modeling paste, stamps, metal and glass.

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Impressionism and Manet

Impressionist paintings are my favourite and I tend to spend most time at any museum with Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Pissarro et al. So this post on painters labeled Impressionists has been long time coming. Originally, Impressionism was a moniker coined by an unfriendly art critic, Louis Leroy after viewing Monet’s Impression: Sunrise (1872). The term however was taken up quickly by more sympathetic critics, who used it in an alternative sense to mean the impression left on the senses by a visual experience that is rapid and transitory. Most impressionist painters chose to paint outdoors (en plein air), capturing the changing light and atmosphere. High-key palettes and a variety of brushstrokes were used to interpret the character and texture of an object in nature and the impact that light had on it.

In this post, let’s look at a painting of Manet, an artist whose later compositions I find particularly bold and striking.

Édouard Manet (1832-83) can be called the precursor of Impressionism although he himself sought success in a more a conventional way than most Impressionists.  Born to a wealthy Parisian family, he trained in the traditional manner. His paintings The Spanish Singer (1861), and a portrait he had made of his parents were even showcased at the prestigious and very mainstream Paris Salon.

Manet however soon revealed first streaks of his revolutionary nature when he painted Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass), an oil on canvas painting in 1862-63.

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The Luncheon on the Grass

What I particularly love about this painting is its bold composition and the play of light and dark that works this composition to the hilt. The model is Victorine Meurent, Manet’s favourite model and the two gentlemen, Manet’s brother and brother-in-law. It is said that the woman’s torso is modeled on Manet’s more full-bodied wife Suzanne Leenhoff. There is another female figure at the back bathing in a pond. It is important to note that there are nearly no observable shadows, while the woman in the foreground almost seems illuminated. In fact, this painting does not display the later Impressionist preoccupation with depicting “real” light-effects because here, although striking, the light seems unreal.

Inevitably this painting was rejected by the prim folks of the Salon in 1863 and it caused a great scandal and controversy with both the public and critics alike. The juxtaposition of a beautiful nude woman sitting causally at a picnic looking the viewer boldly in the eye, accompanied by two fully dressed men engaged in a conversation of their own was considered indecent. This, despite the fact that similar paintings had been made in the seventeenth century. I suppose what was considered inappropriate (as often happens with art) was a modern interpretation of the classics.

Some of the more progressive critics also dismissed this composition as ‘absurd’. Only in passing were its impeccable qualities of light and color in landscape and the very life-like modelling of the woman’s anatomy mentioned. However, the younger set of artists that came to be known as the Impressionists around 1870s regarded the spirited Manet as a figurehead and leader.  Just goes to show what is considered obscene and worthy of scorn at one time can become a classic…rather quickly 🙂

(Ref: Essential Impressionists by Antonia Cunningham)

Grappling with Nudity in Indian Art

2I started this blog few years ago, on a day that saw M.F. Husain’s paintings being taken off India Art Summit. Outraged and anguished, I ended up writing a few lines..mostly to vent I suppose.

Husain had painted some paintings of Hindu Goddesses in the nude and *that* became his crime. That some intellectual illiterates with no understanding of art and more importantly Hinduism, a religion I was born into, a religion I am attuned to and a religion I hold close to my heart were decrying and debasing works of a prolific Indian artist seemed akin to a personal attack and affront. Interestingly, that gut reaction occurred when I hadn’t studied art, had never taken even half a course  in it, busy as I was managing brands at an MNC. However upon moving to NYC, a city that breathes all things artsy, few things seemed destined…and studying Art History at Columbia University, a university renowned for this discipline felt as organic as listening to Moonlight Sonata whilst staring at the river and twinkling city lights out my apartment window.

An entire circle of sorts was completed when I found myself  reading  Tapati Guha Thakurta’s Art History and the Nude: On Art, Obscenity, and Sexuality in Contemporary India, a chapter from her book Monuments, Objects, Histories: Institutions of Art in Colonial and Postcolonial India. It’s a book I can’t recommend enough for anyone even remotely interested in art history and archeology as disciplines in contemporary  India. No surprises then that I chose to write a review of that chapter as a part of my coursework.

Few things happened while writing the review: one, I could now comprehend better the reasons for my anger at the India Art Fair occurrence   and two, I could understand why the people of India remained largely mum at the Husain fiasco. The confusion that exists in the mind of an average Indian (with little or no understanding of his country’s artistic tradition) is obvious to see. We have an overtly sexual artistic heritage straddling the spiritual and erotic with equal ease. This is witnessed in the full breasted, thin waisted, and broad hipped yakshis gracing the Sanchi stupa dating to the second century B.C or the unabashed sexual imagery covering the medieval temples of Khajuraho. What were these images doing on temples and stupas? Why did our rich miniature painting tradition blatantly show loving couples, kissing and copulating?

What is quite clear is that with the arrival of Islam in India and thereafter the British with their Victorian sensibilities, this very artistic heritage quickly became an embarrassment. That is the soft spot that the ‘Hindu’ right stabbed and shamed by targeting a maverick ‘Muslim’ painter. Husain made for an easy and soft target, given the bigoted rhetoric that was at play, a rhetoric with absolutely NO backing of the religion it was ostensibly ‘protecting’. India has just elected a right wing party into power. Yes, my heart did sink for many a reason, not the least of which is this kind of obvious, insufferable gundaism that the right subscribes to.

In any case, understanding the Indian nude, its passage through time and the place it occupies in the social framework of India today makes for an absolutely riveting and fascinating study.

Here is my review of Tapati’s work. It’s the shortest paper I’ve written so hopefully won’t make for a difficult read. Do glance through, if only to get  sense of where we were and where we are; to get a sense of what Hinduism was, and what it’s now claimed to be.

(There may be some formatting errors since I am copying and pasting this, so do excuse those.)

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Having grown up in what is referred to as modern India, I can say with some confidence that ‘uncomfortable’ is a good word to describe an average Indian’s feeling towards the nudity in art. In Art History and the Nude: On Art, Obscenity, and Sexuality in Contemporary India,Tapati Guha Thakurta tries to answer some pertinent albeit tricky questions about when and how nudity or semi-nudity of female figures became a problem in Indian art history. She exposes the tangle of religious and aesthetic meanings as both competing and corresponding frameworks of artistic interpretation, and probes deeper anxieties centering around the female nude, a figure imbued in contemporary India with concerns of tradition, religion, morality, and national identity.To set stage, she cleverly juxtaposes two recent occurrences, a spotlight tinged with national pride that shines on the sexually charged imagery of Khajuraho temples and an unfortunate controversy around the prolific Indian painter Maqbool Fida Husain. Both these occurrences revolve around the Indian nude in art; one celebrates it while the other condemns it, and between them they cover an entire range of emotions and attitudes to the nude.

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A painful episode unfolded for liberal Indians in the 1990s with the alarming and embarrassing witch-hunt of the flamboyant M.F. Husain. Husain’s crime was that he, a Muslim, had painted nudes of Hindu Goddesses. That he had a huge body of work of which these constituted but a small part was completely overlooked by the right wing. Wanting to score brownie points with their vote-banks in the aftermath of the Babari Masjid demolition controversy, the right wing shaped this ‘issue’ astutely into a controversy and attacked Husain. His work, they propounded, was an insult and an offense to Hindu sensibilities. Several paintings of Husain’s were removed from galleries and some were even vandalized and burned. There were violent demonstrations and he was banned from entering the city of Ahmedabad. The saddest part of this tragic tale was that the harassment reached such bizarre heights that the nonagenarian was forced to leave India in the last years of his life. And to bring the absurdity of all that happened into focus, at the center of this was a painting of a bony and taut Saraswati, lacking any tactile simulation of female flesh, where the iconographic attributes of the Goddess, though present, are never foregrounded1.

To defend and contextualize Husain’s work, art historians tried drawing attention to the Indian tradition of full bodied, unclothed female sculpted figures, medieval temple complexes like Khajuraho and Konaraka replete with nude imagery or the ritual and religious validity of nudity in Indian iconographic traditions such as the depictions of a nude Goddess Kali or even more extremely, Lajja Gauri, the female icon of fertility in the Deccan. What these arguments were saying was that a bare female body was an inalienable feature of the iconography of Hindu art, indeed even Goddesses, and that such depictions were fully within the realm of the aesthetic. Despite all arguments, the general mood remained strongly anti–Husain. Husain further went on to make a movie called Gajagamini and a series of overtly sexually charged paintings of his muse Madhuri Dixit, an Indian actress. While he did like to push boundaries, it would be fair to argue, as Guha Thakurta does, that it was a part of his creative prerogative. He ought not to be bracketed by, or answerable to, any age-old Indian tradition.

Another critically astute observation made by Guha Thakurta in this regard is that the Husain controversy could not have gained the traction it did, as quickly as it, in the absence of a fertile ground for the seeds of mistrust and intolerance to grow.It becomes rather obvious that once the genteel veneer of India is scratched, unresolved tensions, prejudices and a basic illiteracy in, and ignorance of art and art history come to the fore.The nude in India has been a continual source of both enigma and unease given the blurred boundaries between art, religion and morality in past tradition. This controversy therefore exposes a wide rift that exists between the nude as an entrenched symbol of high art and the nude as a target of popular, public disapproval, pitting the aesthetic and the moral as two opposing modes of encounter2.

Interestingly, when recovered as an object of art, the nude is accorded full religious sanction of Hinduism. This development too however, took a long time coming in postcolonial India. To start with, the explicitly erotic content of several temple sculptures gave rise to more questions than answers. British officers and scholars of the early nineteenth century caught up in their Victorian sensibilities, found these sculptures embarrassing and shameful. Even early Indian art historians were at a loss to explain the abundance of erotic imagery. What were these figures doing in temples of all places!

Embracing of the erotic came to be over decades and Guha Thakurta gives a good summary of how it came about. Post a classification of monuments in the late nineteenth century, most of Indian painting and sculpture came into its own at the start of the twentieth century after breaking away from Eurocentric biases and misconceptions. Between 1920s-1930s in a new line of scholarship by the likes of Stella Kramrisch, V.S. Agrawala and Coomaraswamy, ‘style’ came to be regarded as a prime pivot for the dating and periodization of sculpture as well as for understanding meanings of forms and motifs. Throughout these scholarly pursuits it was imperative to resist the conflation of various nude, seminude voluptuous female bodies on display with Mithuna and Maithuna (loving) couples so as to be able to consider them (female nudes) within their own references. As was wont to happen, over time and genres the feminine body came to be endowed with several meanings – from primeval associations with nature and fertility toan external guise for the hidden spiritual physiognomy of the sculpted figure3.By the 1940s, equal weightage was accorded to both the simplistic purity of Buddhist sculptures and the overtly ornamented and eroticized medieval ones. In a stunning reversal, the sensual was anointed an innate attribute of the Indian art tradition. And finally, as a natural progression to this, eroticism ‘arrived’ by the 1960s-1970s marking the large body of sensual images guilt-free and available for true appreciation.

This was also a time when the Indian nude was valorized as an integral feature of Hindu religion and aesthetics, devoid as it now was of the prudishness and revulsion that had shadowed it in face of India’s colonial past. Much was done to forge a new identity of the nude and to distinguish it from its western counterpart. In this context says Guha Thakurta, the popular sensual/spiritual distinction was deployed by contrasting the idealized and stylized concept of the Indian body with the naturalistic, western one. Furthermore, it was also argued by several scholars that the Indian nude in all its seductive charm was never completely nude. It was invariable the body adorned, as Vidya Dehejia states in her book of the same name. Alankara (ornament) always includes clothing, as indeed does shringara, a word that means “adornment” in addition to being the term for erotic rasa4.

 

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Similar meaning and spiritual symbolism was employed by art historians to explain the stunning temple site of Khajuraho with its enthralling, erotic imagery. Routinely referred to in epithets as clichéd as “Temples of Love” or “Divine Ecstasy”, these temples are well known in both popular and scholarly realms. Information generated by scholarly circles on the symbolism, iconography and dates of these temples is readily lapped up by tourist guides, coffee table books, pamphlets and fed back to the public in increasingly marketing savvy ways. There are only sixteen panels concentrated in three large temples (of total temple complex of twenty-two) that show sexually explicit imagery. Clearly then, these panels form a small part of a larger architectural and sculptural temple plan, a plan that goes unnoticed in light of the disproportionate attention lavished on panels displaying erotic content.

Sometime in the 1960s, with scholars stressing on interpretations beyond the literal, Khajuraho became an emblem for celebrating the sexual, given the more philosophical, spiritual and abstruse levels of meaning assigned to it with the help of textual, mythological, and ritual references. Several scholars, most prolific of who is Devangana Desai, have tried to understand and explain the erotic objects at Khajuraho. According to her, the best way to read these temples was to move beyond literal ‘tantric’ interpretations to more complex symbolism between the meaning these sculptures might carry and the textual imagery of religious vocabulary of the time these were constructed. Shobita Punia is another scholar who reads into these sculptures the legend of the divine marriage of Shiva and Parvati and its consummation. Attempts were therefore being made repeatedly to embrace Indian art for what it was, spiritual and symbolic. Thus, just as the voluptuous yakshis proliferating ancient Indian monuments were decoded as motifs of fertility, sexual depictions on the walls of the Khajuraho temples became emblematic of the consummation of the divine marriage of Shiva and Paravati and, more abstractly, of the removal of duality and merger of the opposing cosmic principles of Shiva and Shakti, Purusha and Prakriti5. One finds spiritual and metaphysical interpretations providing religious and aesthetic sanction to erotic Indian art almost everywhere and it was these interpretations that brought Khajuraho into the folds of Indian art history triumphantly, squashing all stigma, making it proud of its erotic heritage.

In all of this what is evident is that despite all its modernity, artists, their works and movements in India somehow need to be anchored in the lineage of Indian art tradition, in the nation’s past for to be authenticated, accepted and embraced. Maybe this need is an unavoidable outcome of a five thousand year old heritage but it does sometimes seem to be just that, unavoidable. In the case of Husain, whose modernistic artworks were based on a select coding of national themes, motifs and “a complex structure of citations” drawn from Indian mythology6, the modern, traditional and national boundaries conflated and combusted.

In conclusion, to get a sense of where and how the Indian nude is currently placed and the journey it has travelled in contemporary India, this piece by Guha Thakurta is a must-read. By skillfully contrasting the Khajuraho case study (with its pride in the Indian nude) with the Husain example (showcasing an innate discomfort with the nude), she highlights the sharply divided space the Indian nude occupies. While a little long drawn, the piece is thoroughly interesting; especially its ruthlessly incisive conclusions. Guha Thakurta exhibits a splendid strength of conviction by outing the fine line that divides the erotic from the obscene, the aesthetic from the pornographic7. From the continued proliferation of Khajuraho’s sexual imagery into public forums in posters, hotel lobbies and souvenirs to Husain’s self-indulgent voyeurism apparent in his overtly sexualized caricaturing of the ideal Indian woman in Gajagamini, she states that both sexual allure and titillation find authentication in the name of tradition7. In the wider context of a religiously, politically, nationalistically and culturally charged India, art historical resolutions tread an uncertain ground as the line between the sacred, secular, moral, immoral, art or crass become impossible to fix. On the eve of the possibility of an impending right wing government coming into power in India, it becomes imperative to watch these lines and keep an eye out for where and how the Indian nude will move next.

Notes:

  1. Guha-Thakurta, Tapati. Monuments, objects, histories: institutions of art in colonial and postcolonial India. Columbia University Press, 2004. PP. 248
  2. Guha-Thakurta, Tapati. Monuments, objects, histories: institutions of art in colonial and postcolonial India. Columbia University Press, 2004. PP. 247
  3. Guha-Thakurta, Tapati. Monuments, objects, histories: institutions of art in colonial and postcolonial India. Columbia University Press, 2004. PP. 255-256
  4. Dehejia, Vidya. The Body Adorned: Sacred and Profane in Indian Art. Columbia University Press, 2013. PP. 24
  5. Guha-Thakurta, Tapati. Monuments, objects, histories: institutions of art in colonial and postcolonial India. Columbia University Press, 2004. PP. 244
  6. Guha-Thakurta, Tapati. Monuments, objects, histories: institutions of art in colonial and postcolonial India. Columbia University Press, 2004. PP. 253
  7. Guha-Thakurta, Tapati. Monuments, objects, histories: institutions of art in colonial and postcolonial India. Columbia University Press, 2004. PP. 266

References:

  1. Guha-Thakurta, Tapati. Monuments, objects, histories: institutions of art in colonial and postcolonial India. Columbia University Press, 2004
  2. Dehejia, Vidya. The Body Adorned: Sacred and Profane in Indian Art. Columbia University Press, 2013.