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As much as we want to solicit views from Indians, regarding the nature of their culture – it’s tough to form a picture based on the opinions of a small fraction of the people.
To counter this downside, we read a book that contains historical data and allows us to depict the remarkable trajectory of Indian cultural progress.
Who Should Read “Indian Art and Culture”? And Why?
When you think of spirituality, wisdom, and prudence – the first thing that enters your mind is the Eastern philosophy. Whereas India can be portrayed as a tough nut to crack.
“Indian Art and Culture” nails down all the things one might be looking when planning to delve into India’s cultural heritage. It’s a book that presumably fits both foreigners and domestic knowledge seekers.
“Indian Art and Culture PDF Summary”
India’s Architecture and Paintings
The central premise of this comprehensive book targets and throws light upon this India’s memorable and historical curve. It has all the earmarks of an evergreen collection of facts that will illuminate the upcoming generations.
The rise and fall of great empires, Indian defiance and the foreign understanding of the cultural dogma is just one tiny fraction of what you can find in here. It signifies the assemblage of different cultural fractions, lifestyles, viewpoints, and their integration with one nation.
The architectural elements pull roots from a long and painful history, intertwined with the artistic craftiness and excellence. You can bear witness to numerous evidence that discloses India’s contribution to art and painting, since ancient times.
Archaeologists have dug up indisputable evidence regarding India’s role in artistry and finesse of different kinds. The clues can also be found on wall paintings traced through the ancient and medieval times.
It seems like the early form of life in India was engaged in various leisure activities and a symbolic expression of one’s mind.
When the Europeans put their foot on Indian soil, the art was subtly transformed and absorbed a more Westerner style. Experimentation with different styles, colors, and outlook enriched the upcoming Indian artists whose accolades speak for themselves.
First and foremost, one mustn’t overlook the wall masterpieces which are also known by the name of Murals. India’s most valuable cultural jewels origin from ancient times – ranging between 10th century BC to 10th century AD.
You can locate these paintings and works of art at several sacred locations in India.
If you are keen to explore the wonders of these аrt pieces then you ought to visit some of the following places in India:
Ajanta, Armamalai Cave, Ravan Chhaya Rock shelter, Bagh caves, Sittanavasal caves, Kailasanatha temple in Ellora, and others.
Indian Handicrafts, Music, and Theatre
Handcrafting literally stands for goods that are forged and crafted for everyday use by using one’s bare hands. Different regions in India exercise this craftsmanship based on their folkloric and traditional values nurtured throughout the course of history.
This amalgamation of unique elements which manifests the artistic mastery adds that final touch. The most potent tool at their disposal was and always will be their “creativity.” The decorative facets are indeed icing on the cake due to its transformative stimulus.
Indians don’t perceive this artistry as a profession or a way to make a living but as the very embodiment of their culture. In an effort to preserve their heritage, they refrain from using modern technology for the creation of these handicrafts.
This not only accentuates the India-ness of the “product” sort of speak but also speak of one’s identity.
Those of you that are not appraised of the types of handicrafts in India, here you have it:
- On Cloth
- Ivory Crafting
- Terracotta Crafts
- Clay & Pottery Work
- Bronze Crafts
- Leather Products
- Wooden Work
One can agree that music is the remedy for a broken heart and the soul of a culture. It’s something every society shares and nurtures. India as one of the oldest forms of civilization and societal structure, has undoubtedly been the driving factor to this cultural epidemic.
Narada Muni, for example, is thought to be the primary source of musical expression in the world. His motives puncture through cultural indoctrinations and permeate the real essence of life – something later introduced as Naada Brahma.
When it comes to instruments, we find it hard to classify the creation based on regions or states. However, it’s noted that the seven-holed flute and Ravanahatha, origin from the remnants of Indus Valley Civilization.
The first signs of music are apparently in correlation with the Vedic times.
The musical progress throughout ages is due to the various enacted plays which stimulated people to thrive in this kind of amusement. One type of music called Sangama particularly stands out, which was expressed through chanting and other forms of excitement.
Even the poems were driven by a strong narrative known as the Jatigan.
Before one decides to explore the depths of Indian music, it’s of immense importance to look into the anatomy of Indian classical acoustic sounds. The backbone of this music is symbolically linked to three types: Raga, Tala, and Swara.
When one scatters the shores of Indian culture, it must take a sneak peek into the theatrical architecture. On the negative side, it’s not as straightforward as one might think to enumerate sociological patterns that have shaped the society.
However, the Theater is one of those assets that encompasses various forms of cultural fluency with regards to the regional culture. One cannot go without music, recitation, and acting as the main pillars of running a theatrical show.
The Sanskrit term ‘nataka’ emanates from ‘nata’ which stands for a dancer. Rupaka, Drishyakvya, and Preksakavya were also put into motion to mark out the boundaries of drama. In ancient India, you might have come across two unique types:
- Lokadharmi: The everyday activities which depicted the life of ordinary people.
- Natyadharmi: Narrative and stylish connotation expressed through symbolism.
India shows off with a rich cultural heritage linked to the folk theatre covering all parts of the nation. The traditional components expressed through artistry showcase the plight, beliefs, hopes, and social elements of the people – including their lifestyle.
Indian folk theatre can be categorized in an array of different ways, but the most common is as follows:
- Ritual Theatre
- Theatres of Entertainment
- Theatres of South India
India’s Puppetry, Circus and Cultural Heritage
Generally speaking, puppetry is embedded in India’s entertaining culture. It was and still is a way of amusement that is brought to us in different forms with regards to the regional culture.
As you probably know, a master controls the movement of the puppet in order to create a breathtaking moment of sarcasm, cynicism, or to share some good old-fashioned joke.
The low cost for enacting the play gave serious impetus for the new artists to continue their work. Correspondingly, this allowed them to express their thoughts in the most indigenous way possible.
If you ask local Indians, they will only confirm that puppetry is part of their tradition. But bear in mind, that India is a large country, and the performance in one area, may be entirely different from the display in a different one.
This disparity occurs due to the different tendencies and proclivity. Given that the excavation sites at Harappa and Mohenjodaro exposed puppets with sockets attached, we finally have our proof that puppetry in India was a form of art.
If you plan on going deep, you’ll stumble upon different categorization of puppetry, but one is generally more prevalent:
- String Puppets
- Shadow Puppets
- Glove Puppets
- Road Puppets
While we are running through the subject of entertainment, it would be ignorant not to mention the Great Indian circus. Vishnupant Chatre merits all the praises as the founder and skilled equestrian. Under the guiding hand of Raja of Kurduwadi, he thrived and lived high on the hog.
With all due respect to Indian Circus companies, they failed to surpass the Europeans ones in prowess and performance. Nonetheless, they remained a considerable factor in India’s entertaining sphere up until the 1990s. Let’s pay tribute to them:
- Three Ring Circus
- Great Royal Circus
- Great Royal Circus
- Gemini Circus
- Jumbo Circus
Indian Languages, Literature & Philosophy
Language as a term has seen some twists and turns regarding its most accurate meaning. As far as India is concerned, it’s in everyone’s best interest to leave a bit of openness due to the complexity of India’s ethnicity.
A verbal and non-verbal expression that accounts various forms of speech and facilitates the communication among people can be labeled as “language.”
We can’t say for certain when was the first language created, but by observing the animals and their way of communication, one can assume that we used mimics to illustrate a point.
- A language family has its roots buried in history before anything was recorded and is officially an ancestor to modern ones.
- Dialect stands for a slight deviation from the official language spoken in a local region.
According to Indian linguistic, the languages in India fall under several notable sub-groups:
- Indo-Aryan Group of Languages
- Dravidian Language
- Sino-Tibetan Group
Due to this diversity, knowledge text translation is indeed a problem in today’s Indian education. Most of the top resources remain untranslated, which makes them inaccessible for the commoners. Nowadays, efforts are made to scale up the dissemination of expertise through NTM.
The National Translation Mission is full-time engaged in “decoding” the academic and intellectual texts in 20+ Indian languages. The content is only available in English, which makes it hard for a vast majority of Indians to be able to explore the depths of it.
In the 18th century, the revolution started with the launch of print technology, but it escalated in a positive way in the digital age.
When it comes to philosophy, India has a long history of theorists, spiritual gurus, deep thinkers, to name a few.
In this endeavor, some differences emerge between various philosophical outlooks of life and nature of existence. It would be ignorant to single out one major school that has deserves to be placed on the pedestal.
A point often overlooked is that all schools assent with one another in terms of complying with the four-step process that will help a person reach its spiritual peak:
Yogis also have a place in our classification here. The Yoga school is comprised of two separate entities. One of which is meditation and the other physical application; to help the practitioner to attain a state of peace.
If you are interested in hearing a thing or two regarding the physical aspect, then you also need to know about one’s ability to perform the exercises in different postures – labeled as asanas. While the breathing techniques bear the name of pranayama.
According to Buddhist philosophy, which differs from the one presented by the Vedas – one cannot find shelter and harmony until it discards the mind notions. Triggered by this thought, the Buddha roamed around India in pursuit of blissfulness and nirvana.
Upon attaining enlightenment, the Buddha shared four noble truths for tackling the endless strives of the reckless mind.
- Desire – the ultimate trigger of suffering.
- The destruction of primitive urges will relieve you of all the pain and sorrow.
- Skid towards liberation and freedom.
Religions in India
Spirituality as a sacred element in every culture has seen many deviations in terms of lifting the spirits and maintain social order over the years. It’s main purpose hinges on one’s group ability to get together and ask for blissfulness. Here are India’s most prominent ones:
- Hinduism – At the most fundamental level, Hinduism embraces and simplifies the veiled principles from Vedic religious tenets.
- Buddhism – Buddhism emphasizes the life-encounters of Siddhartha Gautama also known as the Buddha (the awakened one).
- Jainism – The word ‘Jain’ is stems from Jina or Jaina which in layman’s terms connotes “Conqueror or Conquering”.
- Islam – The word Islam stands for one’s full submission to the almighty God.
- Christianity – The basic motive for the stretch of Christianity is the belief in one God, as the source and substance to everything that exists.
- Sikhism – The history of Sikhism is weaved around the life of Guru Nanak and his endeavors.
- Zoroastrianism – It is a monotheistic religion whose teachings revolve around the existence of one God, known as Ahura Mazda.
- Judaism – The Jews have faith in Yahweh who was firstly introduced by Abraham.
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“Indian Art and Culture Quotes”India is a geographically diverse nation and that diversity is also reflected in the Indian culture. Each state of this country has its own form of music that is the basis of their cultural affirmation. Click To Tweet Thus, we see that from the pre-historic times, art and architecture has found a unique expression in the life and leisure of the people of India. Click To Tweet Music is the soul of any culture and India has had a long tradition of musical ingenuity. Click To Tweet Buddhahood via the bodhisattva path, a state wherein one remains in the cycle of rebirth to help other beings to reach awakening. Click To Tweet Each community has their own festivals and holy days but that does not stop other religious groups from enjoying these festive days. India is a secular country and holidays are declared for a number of festivals belonging to different… Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
In all honesty, we tried to bring India’s art and culture closer to you, but it would take a significantly more effort to understand the big picture.
Don’t confine yourself to this summary, and fear not to inquire into the mysteriousness of the Indian lifestyle.