shadow

The Art of Traditional Painting in Assam: a Critical Study on the Manuscript Paintings of Bhagavata-Purana, VI-VII

Bikramjit Sarkar1, Dr. Rajesh Bhowmik2

1 Research Scholar, Department of Fine arts, Tripura University. Orcid id: 0000-0002-2752-8601. Email id: bikramjitsarkar1983@gmail.com

2 Associate Professor, Department of Fine arts, Tripura University

Received September 12, 2017; Revised October 15, 2017; Accepted October 22, 2017; Published October 25, 2017.

 Volume 1, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/cjad.12.v1n203

Abstract

The art of manuscript painting Assam mostly developed during the medieval periods in response to the Bhakti-movement headed by the Vaisnava saint Srimanta Sankardeva (1449-1568). The establishments of Vaisnavite institutions so-called Satra in Assam were the major centres of practising manuscript paintings. The subject of the paintings is taken from the Hindu epic and Puranas.  Different stories and events related to Lord Krishna were illustrated using Natural ingredients. The practice of paintings followed traditionally during 16th to 19th century. Especially different parts of Bhagavata-Purana were illustrated with paintings for entertainment and the better understanding of the people. The skill and quality of artists and their aesthetic sense of vision were executed through the paintings. This present paper has been made to highlight the paintings of Bhagavata-Prana VI-VII, which were executed during 1785 A.D. The skill of artists in the arrangement of composition and the simple stylistic representation is the matter of appreciation and understanding. It is very important to study and document the paintings in today’s context of dying traditional knowledge of art practice so that the future generation can attain knowledge of the culture of painting in the development of society & religion and also be aware of the contribution of the antiquities of past art and culture of North-East India.

Keywords: Assam, Bhagavata-Purana-VI-VII, Culture, Manuscript Painting, Tradition, Vaisnavism.

 

Native Tradition and Changing Market Dynamics: The Future Sustainability of Hajo and Sarthebari Metal Crafts

Lakhimi Jogendranath Chutia1 & Mrinmoy K Sarma2

1Research Scholar, Tezpur University, Assam, email: clakhimi@yahoo.co.in

2Professor, Tezpur University, Assam, email: mrinmoy@tezu.ernet.in

 Volume 1, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/cjad.12.v1n201

Abstract

The article deliberates over the issue of sustainability of traditional crafts from the economic as well as tradition point of view. In the age of global competition when the world has become a small trading community, handicraft artisans constantly compete with machine made products and struggle for the sustenance of their age old traditional industries. The traditional brass and bell metal sector of Sarthebari and Hajo in Assam is going through a similar fate. Changing functional requirements and aesthetics orientation of modern customers are pressing artisans to modify certain traditional features of the crafts and innovate according to market demand. In addition to this, unrestricted flow of imported metal items also offers tough competition to the indigenous sector. Artisans complying with existing needs of customers, comparatively, do well in economic terms than those producing age-old products. As noticed, artisans also seem to continue the craft in future and encourage their kith and kin to undertake the occupation, since they find it a reliable income source. Meanwhile, change in archaic design and make of metal items raises the issue of sustainability of tradition. However, it is important to understand if harping on to tradition overlooking economic sustainability of producer of the craft can ensure the sustainable growth of the sector. The paper thus aims to highlight the present scenario of the industry and its future scope for sustainability by taking into consideration the artisans’ and market viewpoint. It extends suggestions based on the information gathered from the market and producer to ensure sustainability of the art and the artisan.

Keywords: Sustainability, traditional, economic, brass and bell metal crafts, artisans, Assam

Durga Idols of Kumartuli: Surviving Oral Traditions through Changes

Dr. Lopamudra Maitra, Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC- UG), Pune

 Download PDF Version

Introduction

As the torrential rain gushes down the plastic and tarpaulin sheets of the narrow alleys in Kumartuli, covering the half-made clay idols, the smell of wet earth emanates, reverberates, encircles and rises up to announce the arrival of the auspicious occasion— Durga Puja. Finally, as the dawn of Mahalaya announces the arrival of the Devipaksha and the last ablutions are offered to seek blessings from one’s forefathers on the banks of the sacred river Ganga, the artisans of Kumartuli pronounce the occasion through invoking the powers of the female goddess by painting the eyes of the idols of Durga, famously known as Chokkhudaan or bestowing of the eyes. A popular and annual sight in the region every year, this relatively small, yet largely famous and well-renowned region of Kumartuli stands tucked within the narrow lanes and by-lanes of Sovabazar area of the northern region of the present city of Kolkata (West Bengal, India) and the relatively recent construction of the underground metro-railway station of the same name.  A busy place for idol-makers, the kumbhars, their small and narrow workshops, aligned against their crowded tenements, hum with the buzz of activities at most times of the year, especially during the time of the Durga puja. Over the years, the region has experienced a surge and witnessed changes in the style of the clay idols, their expression and depictions, especially the ones made for Durga puja. Carrying forth a string of history within itself, as these depictions represent a strain of continuity of the famous worship of female deities of the region, the changes and alterations in visual depictions of the idols made in Kumartuli also help to reflect new ideas and ideologies in the age of new-media, forming an important part of Visual Anthropology. Based on an extensive fieldwork in the region of Kumartuli and various parts of Kolkata throughout the month of Aswina (September-October) between 2011-2012, this paper tries to look into the significant aspects of the representations of the idol-making formats of Kumartuli, their changing presentations and new reflections and how the local history, oral traditions and lores still manifest themselves through these changing representations.

In the Footsteps of Hsüan-tsang, in karnasubarna

Sumit Soren

Independent Researcher


Download PDF version

 In those days when there was no discovery channel or BBC; people learnt about distant lands through the travels of brave travelers who undertook perilous journey across thousands of miles. Travelling was certainly not easy in those days when there were no airplanes, motor vehicles or diesel powered ships. Travelling was also not possible through personal endeavor only; often travelers undertook voyage under the patronage or sponsorship of religious institutions or funding from Kings. For these travelers who mainly travelled on foot, caravans or by ships, India was always a favored destination for number of reasons. Stories of the great wealth of India had reached far and wide, the abundance of Buddhist literature and monasteries also invited the travelers to come to India. So we may say India was an attractive destination because of both material and spiritual reason, and thus we find a number of travelers visiting India at different times. Hsüan-tsang, Ibn Batuta, Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Francois Bernier all visited India in different times and left for us a reliable picture of life in India in those times.

The Mystery of Indian Floor Paintings

Swarup Dutta

Dean Academics, Indian Institute of Crafts and Design


 As a child one of my fondest memories is of Lakshmi Puja. The whole household seemed transformed. There was activity all around the household. I could sense a joyous mood in everyone. But the most remarkable reminder of this day to me was alpona – the beautiful floor decorations which my mother and sisters made on the threshold of our household, on the doorsteps leading to the prayer alter…”, remembers Narayan Sinha, a renowned sculptor, who has spent his childhood in rural Bengal.

Facebook Iconfacebook like button