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With this module we open up our study of the connections (and disconnections!) between visual imagery and religious belief. Considering only two of the major religious traditions in India, we take a look at what we see and how

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  2. 2. agenda In the first part of the course, we considered the relationship of art to power. Now we are examining the relation of visual culture to a variety of religious beliefs.  India  China  Islamic art  Judaeo-Christian art
  3. 3. INDIA1. now2. Indus Valley civilization3. Vedic religion4. Buddhism5. “Hinduism”
  4. 4. contemporary corporate architecture in Bangalore, India
  5. 5. contemporary corporate architecture in Bangalore, India
  6. 6. contemporary corporate architecture in Bangalore, India
  7. 7. contemporary corporate architecture in Bangalore, India
  8. 8. night in Bangalore
  9. 9. early Indus Valleycivilization
  10. 10. compare cylinder seal from Uruk, Mespotamia, c. 3200 BCE
  11. 11. map of ancient civilizations and trade routes between them
  12. 12. map of ancient cities in the Indus River Valley(contemporary Pakistan)
  13. 13. public baths, Mohenjo-Daro, Indus River Valley
  14. 14. “Dancing Girl,” discovered at Mohenjo-Daro, Indus River Valley
  15. 15. VEDIC RELIGION  based upon written texts called the Vedas  varna (caste)  Brahmans (priests)  Kshatriyas (warriors)  Vaishyas (farmers and herders)  Shudras (manual laborers, servants)  avarnas (without caste, untouchable)  large pantheon of deities  offerings, prayers, rituals
  16. 16. aniconicthe absence of figurative representation. This absence may be the result of a taboo against depicting the gods, a preference for nonfigurative depictions of belief, or a combination of both.
  17. 17.  lingam—representation of male genitals yoni-representation of female genitalsThey are most frequently represented together.Sometimes called the “Shivalingam”Shiva+Shakti
  18. 18. BuddhismHinayana: the narrow path, teachings of the Buddha, the doctrines he preached during his lifetimeMahayana: the wide path, elaborated later as the Buddha became deified and was joined by a number of avatars and bodhisattvas
  19. 19. Great Stupa, Sanchi, Indiac. 221 BCE
  20. 20. symbolic representation of the wheel of dharma
  21. 21. flag of India, including the samesymbol at its center
  22. 22. Ashokan pillar
  23. 23.
  24. 24. Hinduism very large pantheon of deities variety of practices of worship, customs, rituals, daily life
  25. 25. Mithuna, 13th c.Orissa, IndiaIvory, 6 1/4 x 3”
  26. 26. Mithuna: loving couple; a frequent motif in Indian artMithuna, 13th c.Orissa, IndiaStone, 72” high
  27. 27. This interest in sexual union as an element of divine worship reaches its apogee in a complex of temples created in the town of Khajuraho, in the province of Madhya Pradesh, India, during the reign of the Candela Dynasty (10th-13th centuries).
  28. 28. “May the laughter of Shiva, while jesting with his beloved wife Parvati, be for your welfare.”—inscription of Candela King Dhangadeva, at Khajuraho,1002
  29. 29. Fasting Buddha, 2nd c., Gandhara, India
  30. 30. Indian religion has pursued a variety of paths to spiritual awareness. Onepath is asceticism: the renunciation of physical desire. People on this pathtypically practice extreme forms of abstinence from food, drink and sex.
  31. 31. This sculpture depicts the life of the Buddha during his ascetic period, beforehis enlightenment.
  32. 32. Fasting Buddha, 2d c.Matthias Grünewald, Crucifixion from theIsenheim Altarpiece, c. 1512 To eyes familiar with Christian representations such as the Crucifixion, which depicts the body of Jesus mortified and wracked with pain, it is not too difficult to understand this image of the Buddha as religious.
  33. 33. Fasting Buddha, 2d c.Matthias Grünewald, Crucifixion from theIsenheim Altarpiece, c. 1512How would you compare and contrast the depiction of the body of Christ and the body of the Buddha in these two works? What is the religious significance of these two bodies?
  34. 34. For Western viewers, it tends to be harder to understand this as a religiousimage. Our goal today is to understand how this sculpture functions inrelation to Hindu belief.
  35. 35. Certainly, for the earliest Westerners to “rediscover” the temples atKhajuraho, it was difficult indeed. English Captain T.S. Burt wrote a vividdescription of his discomfort at seeing these works of art.
  36. 36. “I found in the ruins of Khajuraho seven large Hindu temples, most beautifully and exquisitely carved as to workmanship, but the sculptor had at times allowed his subject to grow rather warmer than there was any absolute necessity for his doing; indeed, some of the sculptures here were extremely indecent and offensive; which I was at first much surprised to find in temples that are professed to be erected for good purposes, and on account of religion.” —Captain T.S. Burt, report of 1839
  37. 37. “But the religion of the Hindus could not have been very chaste if it induced people, under the cloak of religion, to design the most disgraceful representation to desecrate their ecclesiastic erections. The palky bearers, however, appeared to take great delight at the sight of those to them very agreeable novelties, which they took good care to point out to all present.”
  38. 38. Palky: two long poles of strong wood, with a seat affixed at the center where the client sits.Palky bearers: two men in front, two in back who haul the palky in rhythmic steps.
  39. 39. Map of India showing the location of Khajuraho,an important city during the Candela Dynasty, 10th-13th centuries
  40. 40. Map of the temple complex at Khajuraho,Madhya Pradesh, India
  41. 41. Small temple at the complex
  42. 42. Larger temple at the complex
  43. 43. What is the sculptural program ofthese temples? Images of deities carved in the round Attendants, either in medium or high relief Apsaras--beautiful women in various postures (removing thorn from foot, putting on makeup, squeezing water from hair) Secular figures-- dancers, musicians, soldiers, teachers, peopl e at work or home Sexually explicit scenes. Mythical animals.
  44. 44. Apsaras in a variety of poses(removing thorn from foot, looking in mirror, adjusting garment)
  45. 45. Scenes of sexual passion
  46. 46. More embracing couples
  47. 47. Note that these scenes are more graphic in closeup photographs than theyare at the site, where they are viewed from a distance and from below.
  48. 48. How might we understand the inclusion of this sort of scene on a temple?
  49. 49. Terms for Understanding Hindu Art& Culture Shaivism: worship of the god Shiva Kaula: one of the Shaivite sects, known for esoteric tantric practices (prominent during 10-11th centuries when these temples were being built) Tantra: ritual
  50. 50. Hindu belief has always containedwithin it a wide variety of spiritualpathsBhoga: enjoymentYoga: discipline; literally, “yoke”Asceticism: renunciation of bodily desire
  51. 51. The “Five M’s” of Tantric practice Matsya- fish Mamsa- meat Mudra- grain Mada- wine Maithuna- sex
  52. 52. In Tantric practice, energy from the lower chakras is progressivelychanneled upward to the Seventh Chakra, or the “Thousand-PetaledLotus.” In this way, sexuality is disciplined, controlled, and ultimately used toconnect with the divinity.
  53. 53. Could this be a depiction of Tantric worship? Or a way of representing ofthe fusion of the human and the divine?
  54. 54. Today Khajuraho is a tourist site. People from all over the world visit thesetemples to see the architecture and sculpture.
  55. 55. When he visited in 1839, Captain Burt was allowed to roam freelythroughout the complex, with the exception of this temple, which is still anactive shrine to Shiva today.
  56. 56. Shaivite priest seated next to decorated Shivalingam,Khajuraho, Madya Pradesh, India