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Temples of Bengal: Material Style and Technological Evolution

Priyanka Mangaonkar

Architect and Researcher


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Art of Bengal, which was mainly religious in nature, was expressed through the medium of temples. Brick temples of Bengal (built between 16th and 19th century) forms one of the most distinctive groups of sacred monuments in India. Due to multiple artistic influences acting upon the region during this period the Brick temples of Bengal show wide range of forms and techniques of construction.  Hence the temples constitute a coherent series in their architecture and sculpture, characteristically expressed in brick and terracotta. The chronological span also significant coinciding with the emergence of the new Bengali culture. “In fact, the Bengali temples may be viewed as one of the most important manifestations of this regions culture, closely associated with contemporary movements in religion, literature and the arts as well as with broader political, social and economic developments.”[i] Due to the political unification and consequent independence of Bengal; a unique Bengali style of monumental architecture was created which was also an expression of the local idioms. “Another important result of this change was the combination of Hindu and Muslim elements as intrinsic part of Bengali culture: thus, Muslim rulers and monumental Islamic architecture, but Hindu revivalism and religious poetry.”[ii]

Kanak Durga Temple: A Landmark in the Folk Tradition of Paschim Medinipur

Dr. Jaydeep  Sarangi

Reader in English, Deptt of English, Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri College


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Introduction

Chilkigarh is unique for its harmonious co-existence of tribal culture and Bramhin conventions. Also it is considered to be an oral tale to be told for everybody. In the course of time this region has gone through various changes. My work tries to look at the changes in mainly two ways– historical and cultural. Chilkigarh is part of my own locality. Over the years several visits to that place have helped me a lot to learn about the place. I have interacted with common people there and most of the sources are oral. So, there are fuzzy zones for reading the text differently.

Call for Papers: Special Issue on the Pictorial Tradition of Bengal

Call for Papers for Volume III, Number 1, 2013
Special Issue on the Pictorial Tradition of Bengal

Astasahasrika_Prajnaparamita_Bodhisattva_Helping

Bengal has a great pictorial tradition. Unfortunately however, any ancient evidence has not survived, perhaps mainly because of the medium used in those times and partly because of humid environment of the region. But one early medieval evidence has survived in copied forms—A??as?hasrik? Prajñ?p?ramit?, illustrations on palm leaves, which proves that Bengal had reached a high level of sophistication in painting during the Buddhist period. Evidence can also be found in Bengal’s rich folk tradition of ground and wall decorations, and they indicate a peculiar mixture of art and ritual. After the British intervention in the country, we find the tradition once again entering wide spectrum of intense creativity. Mainly it started with European influence but slowly it absorbed its local traditions and moved much ahead and flourished in various schools and branches.

In the next issue of Chitrolekha we like to explore this tradition in order to approach it from holistic points of view and see it in relation to the larger history of Bengal. We also invite submission of art-works from artists of Bengal.

Topics may include on anything relating to the pictorial tradition of Bengal, both West Bengal and Bangladesh. For authors’ convenience we are specifying certain areas (which are not exhaustive but rather suggestive):

Topics

  • Exploring ancient and medieval traditions of Bengali paintings, decorations etc.
  • · Pictorial art in A??as?hasrik? Prajñ?p?ramit?
  • · Pictorial art as found in literature and historical documents
  • · Pictorial Folk art of Bengal
  • · Patas and Patuas of Bengal
  • Kalighat paintings
  • Growth and rise of Bengali painting during the British period
  • Discussions on Great Masters of Bengali art
  • Experiments in Bengali art
  • Bengali art after the independence
  • Experimental art, installations etc.

Creative Works: Please submit 5 artworks in Jpeg only. Size: 1500 pixel on the longest side.

Contact: Please contact us at chitrolekhamagazine [AT] gmail.com for any query. Read Submission Guidelines at http://chitrolekha.com/submission.php

Submission Deadline: May 15, 2013.

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