ART 712: Problems of Indian Art, Seminar, Fall 1993
Weds. 3-5, History of Art Seminar Room, 3440 Market St.
Professor Michael W. Meister, Room 572
Topic: ART IN AND OUT OF RITUAL CONTEXT
Thesis: This reading workshop will allow students to explore issues
surrounding the use of art within ritual and as a tool rather than
artifact. India's religious art will act as focus -- deity images,
temples, ritual implements -- but the function of art will in large part
be our subject. Students will be asked to keep a log of their reading.
Books, available at Penn Book Center:
Eck, Diana. Darshan, Seeing the Divine Image in India, 2nd ed.,
Chambersburg, Pa.: Anima Books, 1985.
Harle, J. C.The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent,
New York: Penguin Books, 1986.
Journal of Ritual Studies 6.1 (1992): special issue. "Art in
Ritual Context", ed. Kathleen Ashley and Irene Winter.
Zimmer, Heinrich. Myths and Symbols of Indian Art and
Civilization, Princeton: Princeton University Press .
Preliminary List of Possible Reading and Discussion Topics:
I. "Art in Ritual Context"
Journal of Ritual Studies, Eck, and Zimmer (above).
II. "Tribal & Folk vs. 'High' Art"
Dalmia, Yashodhara. The Painted World of the Warlis, Art and
Ritual of the Warli Tribes of Maharashtra, New Delhi: Lalit Kala
Jain, Jyotindra. Painted Myths of Creation: Art and Ritual of an
Indian Tribe, New Delhi: Lalit Kala Akademi, 1984.
Kagal, Carmen, ed. Shilpakar, the Craftsman, Bombay, 1982.
Kramrisch, Stella. Unknown India: Ritual Art in Tribe and
Village, Philadelphia: Museum of Art, 1968.
Bolon, Carol Radcliffe. Forms of the Goddess Lajja Gauri in
Indian Art, University Park, Pa.: College Art Association, 1992.
Collins, Charles Dillard. The Iconography & Ritual of Siva at
Elephanta, Albany: SUNY Press, 1988.
Dehejia, Vidya. Art of the Imperial Cholas, New York: Columbia
University Press, 1990.
Desai, Vishakha and Darielle Mason, eds. Gods, Guardians, and
Lovers, Temple Sculpture from North India, New York: The Asia Society,
Goswami, Shrivatsa and Margaret Case, "The Birth of a Shrine" (mss.).
Meister, Michael W. "Symbology and Architectural Practice in
India." In Sacred Architecture in the Traditions of India, China, Judaism
and Islam, ed. Emily Lyle, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1992.
--------, "Sweetmeats or Corpses?" (mss.).
Eschmann, Anncharlott, Hermann Kulke, and Gaya Charan Tripathi.
The Cult of Jagannath and the Regional Tradition of Orissa New Delhi:
Kramrisch, Stella. The Hindu Temple, Calcutta: Calcutta
University Press, 1946. (skim only)
Stein, Burton, ed. South Indian Temples, New Delhi: Vikas, 1978.
Welbon, Guy R. and Glenn E. Yocum, eds. Religious Festivals in
South India and Sri Lanka, New Delhi: Manohar, 1982.
You may also be interested in looking at the catalogue of another recent
Art/Artifact: African Art in Anthropology Collections, with
essays by Arthur Danto, et al.; introduction by Susan
Vogel. New York: Center for African Art, 1988.
An on-line Abstract of the exhibition states: "Art/artifact," 160
brilliantly selected African objects on exhibit at the Center for African
Art in Manhattan ... raises the fascinating question of how primitive art
is to be viewed. In their native context, many of these objects had
great power and were displayed only in ritual. To the modern viewer, the
objects resemble art. Visitors to the exhibit first see a hunting net
and other objects that are artistically beautiful. They then see rooms
full of objects displayed in different ways, as art and as artifacts.