Arts & Entertainment

Spanish book presents new approach to understanding Indian art

New Delhi, Feb 17 (efe-epa).- Spanish investigator Eva Fernandez del Campo on Wednesday unveiled her new book “En La Materia del mundo” (in the realm of the world), at the Instituto Cervantes in New Delhi, presenting a work that proposes new approaches to help understand Indian sculpture of the medieval period, considered its golden age.

The book tries to understand the “most important art of the entire Indian tradition,” through current concepts that go beyond the orthodox perspective of western art, such as feminism and ecology, Fernandez del Campo told EFE before the launch.

“In the Asian forms of thinking, which are not divided into binaries like ours (western), yes and no always go together in constant embrace and tension. This is one of the most interesting characteristics of Indian art, and especially novel for the western spectator,” she stressed.

Different from the way in which European art manifests itself in the society, the Indian art “offers us this capacity of enjoying the contradiction, of reveling. It is a very sensory art and very dedicated to pleasure, to enjoying the senses,” said the author.

She explained that religion “permeates all aspects of Indian life,” including the most profane such as sexuality, and therefore sculptors present “erotic images, of voluptuous ladies and widespread eroticism in religious imagery.”

India is a country which has had a centuries-old history with many dynasties and kingdoms which have produced an art that is very different from the origins, but apart from the Hindu tradition there is also Buddhist, Islamic and Jain art, Fernandez del Campo stressed.

She specifically highlighted the western state of Maharashtra, where the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples of the Ellora complex and the Elephanta caves depicting Indian mythology have both been named as UNESCO world heritage sites.

The fact that so many religions coexist together in India helps the country bring forward its ancient art into the present.

The researcher said that “when we talk of Greek art, we talk of an art which is no longer made and for which the context has to be rebuilt, we see it in museums or places which are already dead.”

However, in India as soon as someone enters a temple, he or she “is looking at the sculptures in the same context that they have always had and one can see everything as alive because it continues to live.”

“The art pervades all aspects of life, from the ceramists who make the small lamps to be lighted during (the Hindu festival of) Diwali, to the world of textile design, jewelry and even the house designs in rural areas,” Fernandez del Campo concluded. EFE-EPA


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