ePub Across the Threshold of India ePub

by Martha A. Strawn

In the Hindu world-view, threshold is a profoundly important concept: it represents a passage between one space and place and another, with emphasis placed on creating a visual bridge between the secular and the sacred. Accordingly, the literal threshold a person crosses when entering and exiting a home or business symbolizes the threshold one crosses between the physical and spiritual realms of existence. Hindus have long believed it is possible to affect a person's well-being by using diagrams to sanctify the "threshold space." The diagrams do so by "trapping" ill will, evil, bad luck, or negative energy within their colorful and elaborate configurations, thereby cleansing those who traverse the space and sending them on their way with renewed spirit, positive energy, and good luck and fortune.The creation of the threshold drawings, or diagrams, is steeped in Indian history and culture, going back thousands of years. Practiced by women, it was long considered a vernacular art. But, as this innovative book reveals, it turns out that the diagrams represent highly sophisticated mathematical and cosmological underpinnings that have been unknowingly handed down from one generation of women to the next. As India has modernized and rapidly become more urban however, more Indian women have acquired more complicated lives, allowing less time to continue the practice of threshold drawings. And so a long-standing and critically important expression of Indian life, religion, and culture is becoming less common to the point that the tradition is threatened."Across the Threshold of India" is a pioneering new book that presents the story of the threshold drawings for the first time. In Volume I, the reader is presented with an insightful history of how the threshold drawings evolved, what they have meant and represented in Indian and Hindu culture, and how the practice became a high form of vernacular art for religious and everyday life. In Volume II, we are able to enjoy and admire Martha Strawn's original duotone and color photographs of the threshold drawings that she made throughout India during decades of work and travel, most of which are in the permanent collection of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, the nation's foremost research center for Indian culture and art. By presenting the most recent scholarship on the history and art of the threshold drawings and combining that engaging tale with her wonderful fine-art and documentary photographs, Martha Strawn has given the world a unique and enduring gift: a work of visual ecology that perceptively portrays one of India's and the world's longest and least-known religious practices: the art of sanctifying space through threshold drawings." Martha Strawn s photographs reveal an ancient tradition unfamiliar to most outside of India. The intricate patterns of the rangoli diagrams, rendered in lyric detail, connect these Hindu women with others throughout millennia who have sought to find the divine within sacred geometries. Strawn effectively demonstrates how this inherited custom has evolved from a religious necessity into a fascinating and enduring form of cultural expression. This two-volume work is a welcome addition to the growing literature about Indian art and culture, with Strawn's timeless photographs at its center. " — From the Introduction by Mark H. Sloan, Director and Senior Curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of CharlestonPublished in association with the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston."

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Book Title
Book Author
PublisherGeorge F. Thompson Publishing
Pages count280
eBook formatHardcover, (torrent)En
File size4.9 Mb
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