The image of a god or goddess in Hindu art is conceived in anthropomorphic terms but at the same time it transcends human appearance. Towards this end, with certain exceptions, the gods of Hinduism are visualized with more than two arms. Their hands, posed in definite gestures, hold the attributes that represent the deity’s power and also establish its identity.
While Hindu art is concrete in its substantiality, it is but a means of conjuring up the divine presence. This is their essential function. The Hindu image serves as a yantra, an “instrument” that allows the beholder to catch a reflection of the deity whose luminescence transcends what our physical eye can see.
The vast literature available on Hindu art includes ancient texts delineating the exact iconographic features of deities and Hindu temples. These are known as silpa sastras. Several books on the art of Hinduism delineate the iconometry of individual Hindu gods and goddesses. Also displayed here are numerous encyclopedias and reference works, providing handy, but comprehensive information on all aspects of Hindu art, including history, aesthetics, and iconography, all at one place.
Q1. What is the purpose of Hindu art?
incorporates both mythological and secular themes, narrating the religion's
four goals of life for which each human being aspires: achieving spiritual
salvation (Moksha), righteous living (Dharma), Kama, or love, and prosperity
art represents a multiplicity of beliefs and has deeply influenced the
painting, sculpture, and architecture of the Indian subcontinent. Architecture
and sculpture are intimately linked to Hindu temples, which are usually devoted
to varieties of deities. Hindus don't worship idols, rather, they view the
statues and images as physical representations of God to help them focus on an
aspect of prayer or meditation.
Q2. How does art influence Hinduism?
forms of Art, be it music, sculptures,
paintings, or any other
art, has cast a major influence on Hinduism. Indian artists inspired by
Mythological tales of Hinduism, specifically from Mahabharata
have carved out such dazzling pieces of paintings that have become a benchmark.
Mysore and Tanjore
paintings that are known to hold the stature of Indian art for centuries
have been inspired by the Hindu epics. The artists have crafted some engrossing
and graceful pieces of art depicting the actions or tales of Krishna, Kalighat paintings,
and famous murals art styles in temples of Southern India.
Q3. Is art important in Hinduism?
dance to sculpture, song to architecture, craftwork to poem, myth, or sacred
history, the arts present a range of cultural artifacts. The arts are the key
to important strands of Hindu religious thought, although recognizing this
requires us to overcome certain secularist discrimination against ‘religious’
arts that exist within the academy. For centuries the arts, particularly the
literary and performing arts, were recognized as one of the great boons of
Indian culture to the world, opening up a palette of rich sensory experiences
in every media, from architecture to music, food to dance.
Q4. Who has written the best books on
GOSWAMY, The Spirit of Indian Painting: Close Encounters With 101 Great Works, 1100
– 1900 articulating the themes, materials, values, and influences of regional
Indian art forms.
MITTER, Indian Art : Discusses legendary tribal, modern, and contemporary
SINHA, Indian Art: An Overview of different schools, movements, and artists
that shaped modern and contemporary Indian art.
JHAVERI, A Guide To 101 Modern And Contemporary Indian Artists describes
artworks by 101 artists including paintings, photographs, sculptures, and new
ACHAR AND SHIVAJI K. PANIKKAR, Articulating Resistance: Art And Activism studies
on gender and sexuality by Geeta Kapur and Shivaji K. Panikkar.
Q5. What were the main features of Hindu
elements of Hindu architecture are symmetry-driven structures, with many
variations, when viewed from all four sides and above, on a square grid of
padas, depicting perfect geometric shapes such as circles and squares, the square
form and grid ground plans, soaring towers, and elaborately decorate sculpture
which includes gods, worshippers, erotic scenes, animals, and floral and
geometric patterns. Hindu architecture has many varieties of style, though the
basic nature of the Hindu temple remains the same, with the essential feature
of an inner sanctum, the garbha griha, where the primary idol of the main deity
is housed in a simple bare cell.
Q6. What are 3 basic components of
the Hindu architecture?
the architecture of Hindu temples varies from region to region, the major
components of a temple remain constant:
Garbhagriha or the sanctum where the idol of
the main deity is housed. It was a small cubicle with a single entrance which
grew into a larger chamber in time.
Mandapa or the portico: The pathway leading to the
garbhagriha is the mandapa where the worshipers accumulate to have darsana
Shikhara is a mountain-like spire that is
tapered above the sanctum. The roof became pyramidal. Vaahan is the mount or
vehicle of the main deity of the temple.
Q7. What are the three styles of
Hindu temple architecture?
Nagara: style temples are found in
style temples are found between the Godavari - Krishna rivers and
is a hybrid style with adaptations from both Nagara and Dravida styles,
found in the region between Vindhyas and the river Krishna.
distinction can be made by comparing the elevation of the temple, the forms of
the spire, and the plan of the temple. The main difference between Nagara and
Dravidian styles is that Nagara style architecture has multiple towers, whereas
Dravidian style architecture has a single central tower. A Nāgara
temple generally rests on a high platform- jagati
Q8. What are the two types of Hindu
Nagara style of temple architecture that became popular in northern India is
known as Nagara. In North India, it is common for an entire temple to be built
on a stone platform with steps leading up to it. Another unique characteristic
is that it does not usually have elaborate boundary walls or gateways.
Dravida temple is enclosed within a compound wall. The front wall has an
entrance gateway in its center, known as a Gopuram. The shape of the main
temple tower known as vimana is like a stepped pyramid that rises geometrically
rather than the curving shikhara of North India.
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