Indian Art and Architecture and its relation to Indian Music

To understand a kind of people the most important thing to study is their literature, and art. In case of India, the cultures that have developed are not one but many. The subcontinent has been a rich base for the cultivation of an even richer set of cultures, which have been influenced by different settlers of over thousands of years. The multitude of languages spoken and the mix of religions present have further enriched the land and its people. This paper in particular focuses on the visual arts and architecture in relation to their influence on Indian notas musicales.

Indian art is highly symbolic. The much-developed ritual-religious symbolism presupposes the existence of a spiritual reality that, being in constant touch with phenomenal reality, may make its presence and influence felt and can also be approached through the symbols that belong to both spheres. The art and architecture produced on the Indian subcontinent dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. Therefore from that alone it can be determined as to how culturally influenced it must have been. To Western eyes, Indian art can appear strikingly ornate, exaggeratedly sensuous, and voluptuous. A strong sense of design is also characteristic of Indian art and can be observed in its modern as well as in its traditional forms. Indian art is religious inasmuch as it is largely dedicated to the service of one of several great religions. It may be didactic or edificatory as is the relief sculpture of the two centuries before and after Christ; or, by representing the divinity in symbolic form (whether architectural or figural), its purpose may be to induce contemplation and thereby put the worshipper in communication with the divine. Not all Indian art, however, is purely religious, and some of it is only nominally so. There were periods when humanistic currents flowed strongly under the guise of edificatory or contemplative imagery, the art inspired by and delighting in the life of this world. Although Indian art is religious, there is no such thing as a sectarian Hindu or Buddhist art, for style is a function of time and place and not of religion. Thus it is not strictly correct to speak of Hindu or Buddhist art, but, rather, of Indian art that happens to render Hindu or Buddhist themes. For example, an image of Vishnu and an image of Buddha of the same period are stylistically the same, religion having little to do with the mode of artistic expression. Nor should this be surprising in view of the fact that the artists belonged to nondenominational guilds, ready to lend their services to any patron, whether Hindu, Buddhist, or Jaina. The religious nature of Indian art accounts to some extent for its essentially symbolic and abstract nature. It scrupulously avoids illusionistic effects, evoked by imitation of the physical and ephemeral world of the senses; instead, objects are made in imitation of ideal, divine prototypes, whose source is the inner world of the mind. This attitude may account for the relative absence of portraiture and for the fact that, even when it is attempted, the emphasis is on the ideal person behind the human lineaments rather than on the physical likeness. To be properly understood, the art of India must be placed in the ideological, aesthetic, and religious framework of Indian civilization. This framework was formed as early as the 1st century BC and has shown a remarkable continuity through the ages. The Hindu-Buddhist-Jain view of the world is largely concerned with the resolution of the central paradox of all existence, which is that change and perfection, time and eternity, immanence and transcendence, operate dichotomously and integrally as parts of a single process. In such a situation creation cannot be separated from the creator, and time can be comprehended only as eternity. This conceptual view, when expressed in art, divides the universe of aesthetic experience into three distinct, although interrelated, elements—the senses, the emotions, and the spirit. These elements dictate the norms for architecture as an instrument of enclosing and transforming space and for sculpture in its volume, plasticity, modeling, composition, and aesthetic values. Instead of depicting the dichotomy between the flesh and the spirit, Indian art, through a deliberate sensuousness and voluptuousness, uses one with the other through a complex symbolism that, for example, attempts to transform the fleshiness of a feminine form into a perennial mystery of sex and creativity, wherein the momentary spouse stands revealed as the eternal mother.

The Indian artist deftly uses certain primeval motifs, such as the feminine figure, the tree, water, the lion, and the elephant. In a given composition, although the result is sometimes conceptually unsettling, the qualities of sensuous vitality, earthiness, muscular energy, and rhythmic movement remain unmistakable.

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