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The Art of India

Many of the arts of India reveal the complex nature of the culture, a culture that includes rites of passage, fairs and festivals, performance, art and craft, all drawing from ancient myths, legends, and beliefs. Traditional Indian households celebrate every stage of life, and creativity abounds in many avenues of expression. It is the purpose of this paper to provide a general overview of the art, dance and music of India with special attention to the relationship of the arts to the Indian culture itself.

Vast religious, sociological, and cultural rivers have met and mingled in India--the food-gatherers, who claim to be descendants of Shiva; the nomadic tribes, who probably originated the Krishna legend; and the agricultural societies with their craft technologies, myths, rites, and rituals (Aditi 26). Both the classical, margi, and the vernacular, deshi, coexist within this rich heritage, and the artisan guilds have been integral to these segments of society. The artisan guilds were male-oriented, but in the countrysides, the women, the poets, and the shamans weave the multidimensional Indian culture in dance, song, and icon.

Much of Indian art revolves around the cycles of life. Wedding ceremonies last for several days and include elaborate floor paintings made of ground white rice powder and henna paintings of intricate designs on the hands of the bride and the groom (Aditi 65). The occasion of the wedding includes many exchanges of gifts between the families of the bride and the groom, and sophisticated craftsmen are required to fashion ornate personal and household items of ebony or brass. The bridegroom may follow the northern tradition of triumphantly going to the bride's village with his procession of mare, fireworks, horns, and drums (Smithsonian 68). Intricately embroidered wedding blouses may include mirrors, lotus flower designs, and symbols of fertility and good luck. Among the wedding gifts might be cer...

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The Art of India. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:14, August 08, 2020, from