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Art and Geography: Patterns in the Himalaya

Author(s): Pradyumna P. Karan and Cotton Mather


Source: Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 66, No. 4 (Dec., 1976), pp.
487-515
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Association of American Geographers
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* ANNALS of the
AssociationofAmericanGeographers
Volume 66 December, 1976 Number 4

ART AND GEOGRAPHY: PATTERNS IN THE HIMALAYA*


PRADYUMNA P. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER

ABSTRACT. The Himalaya embracesome ancientcultureswhichhave remained


geographically and culturallydistinct.These culturesare expressedin theirvernacu-
lar art which,in-contrastto internationalart,representsboth place and culturein
theanthropologicalsense.Vernacularartmirrorshistoricaland geographicalforces
and it providesinsightinto social aspirations,and therebyis importantin under-
standingsocial behavior.Most aspects of the art formsof painting,dance, music,
embroidery, and sculptureare regionallydistinct.
architecture,

THE Himalayan realmis one of the world's Art is an estheticexpressionof human ex-
richest areas in vernacular art. Distinct perience.It representsa distillationof both ex-
culturalgroups settledlong ago in the moun- periential and aspirational aspects of man-
tainswhereaccess to the outsideworldhas not kind and a fusion of the environmentaland
been easy. Although the cultureswithinthe metaphysicalrealms. Placed in the time-space
Himalaya have ancientroots and have existed frame,artmaybe viewedas eitherinternational
for ages in juxtaposition,theyremaindistinct or vernacular.
fromeach othereventoday.This realmranksas Internationalor cosmopolitanmodernart is
one of the primeplaces to observethe bearing thepossessionof theglobal elite.Its style,tran-
of culturalgroupingsand environmental condi- scendingregional and national bounds, is di-
tionsuponvernacularart. vorcedfromthe territorial milieuin whichthe
artistslive and work. Withina few years an
Dr. Karan is Professor of Geography at the Univer- artisticinnovationmaysweep to thefarreaches
sity of Kentucky in Lexington, KY 40506. Dr. Mather of theworld.The innovationmayrepresent the
is Professorof Geography at the Universityof Minne-
sota in Minneapolis, MN 55455, and Adjunct Profes-
discovery of new materialsfor artisticexpres-
sor at the Universityof Kentucky. sion or it may involveold materialswhose use
for estheticexpressionhas been made feasible
*We wishto thanklocal officials and artistsin vari- by technologicalchange. This may vary from
ous regionsof the HimalayafromKashrnirto Assam acrylicpaintsto laminatedwoods or specialty
for theirhelp and assistance.In particularwe ac-
knowledgethe help and advice of the late King
Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev of Nepal, King craftsmenwhomtheauthorshad theprivilegeofknow-
JigmeDorji Wangchukof Bhutan, and Sir Tashi ingin theirhomeland,and who in thecourseof their
Namgyaland Palden ThondupNamgyal,formerrul- talksand interviews have contributedto the develop-
ers of Sikkim.Sir Tashi, himselfa renownedHima- mentof ideas set forthin thispaper.All the accom-
layanartist,was of considerableassistancein explain- panyingphotographs weremade bytheauthorsduring
ing and in interpreting the painting,sculpture,music, theirtravelsin theHimalaya;we are indebtedto Gun-
dance,architecture, and handicraftsof theHimalayan vant Rai, B. K. Narain,V. P. Misra,and S. Lal for
realm.Thanks are due to lamas of Buddhistmon- permission to photographartobjectsforreproduction.
asteries,villagepriestsin Hinduand tribalareas of the Our thanksare due to Sir D. P. Varma,a scholarof
Himalaya, Islamic artisans in Kashmir, peasants, Himalayanart and literature,forreviewing thisman-
nomads,merchants,artists,musicians,dancers,and uscriptand offering forimprovement.
suggestions
ANNALS OF THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN GEOGRAPHERS Vol. 66, No. 4, December 1976
) 1976 by the Associationof American Geographers. Printed in U.S.A.
487
488 PRADYUMNAP. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

steels.Incorporatedwiththe physicalcontribu- rors strongculturalhistoricalforcesand geo-


tionof technologicaladvanceis thehighlyintel- graphicalsettings.Withthe sudden and world-
lectualized imagery that is used to portray wide onslaughtof modern technology,there
ontologicalperceptionof experiencesand as- were some indications that vernacular art
pirations. (which was oftenand sometimescarelesslyre-
The geographicalunmindfulness of interna- ferredto as primitiveart) mightbe effaced.
tional art is one of its most strikingfeatures. Now it appears thatnumerousmodernsocieties
The influenceof a HenryMoore, forexample, are yearningformore linkageswiththeircon-
can sweep across continents,and influence temporaryenvironmentand also their past,
artisticstyles in Scandinavia, Japan, or the and are studiouslyattempting to preserveand
United States. Cezanne and Gaugin, for in- indeedto revivenearlylost ties.This is evident
stance, sent waves of reactionthroughoutthe in academic curricula,in the establishment of
internationalart world, and the art mode of folk-artmuseums,in governmentalprograms
Cubismbroughtfortha veritableartisticrevo- to fostervernacularart,and in thecommercial
lutionthatfoundexpressionin painting,sculp- interestbroadly manifestedin the vernacular
ture,architecture, and the industrialarts. In a art of both thiscontinentand abroad. Interior
veryreal sense internationalart is an abstrac- designersfeature,for example,Indian art, Es-
tion. It does not springdirectlyfromregional kimo prints,Andean weavings,Africanwood
traditionand setting,it is not an expressionof carvings,Eskimo soapstonesculpture,and Ori-
culture in the anthropologicalsense, and it entaljade figurines.
transcendsgeographicalbonds with abandon. Vernacularartbears directlyupon geography
This is not to deny that internationalart may since it represents
both cultureand place. It is
expressitselfin functionalways, that it may, of particularsignificance
to studentsof histori-
for example, get inspirationfrom primitive cal and contemporaryculturalgeographybe-
African art. It may have geographical and cause it reveals physicaland nonphysicalen-
sociological linkageswhichhelp to explain its vironmental factorswhichhave meldedthrough
areal dispersionfrompoint of origin,but es- timein thecrucibleofhumanexperience.More-
sentiallyit is neitherculturallyconfinednor over,it providesinsightinto a society'saspira-
geographicallylimited.It springsfrom an in- tions and therebyhelps to explain social be-
dividualgenius'intellectualizedsense of esthet- havior.The Himalayanrealmis one of the few
ics ratherthan froman inheritedculturaltra- places on earthwithmainstreams of culturethat
dition.' have been nextto each otherovervast stretches
Vernacularor folk art focusesnot upon the of time and where the forces of fusion have
individual'sexpression,but upon a group de- failedto obliteratetheindividualculture.
velopment.It is the productof culturein the
THE HIMALAYAN SETTING AND
anthropologicalsense and derives inspiration
MAJOR CULTURAL GROUPS
fromindigenoustraditionand setting.It evolves
slowlyand it has a geographicalbase.2 It mir- The Himalaya mountainsextend along the
northernfringesof the Indian subcontinent in
1 For a discussionof the dichotomybetweenthe a series of toweringrangesbetweenthe great
contemporary modernor internationalartand vernac- bend of theIndus Rivernear Gilgitin Kashmir
ular folkartfromtheperspectiveof theIndianartists, and the sharp turnof the BrahmaputraRiver
see A. K. Dutta, "Contemporary Indian Art: Search
for a New Identity?"Indian and Foreign Review, Vol. in ArunachalPradeshof easternIndia (Fig. 1).
II (December 1, 1973), pp. 18-19. Duringa visitto Originating in thevicinityof Mount Kailas and
India in 1973 Andre Malraux, the famous French the sacred Lake Manasarowar,the greatIndus
humanist,disappointed withthe sweep of abstractin- and BrahmaputraRivers hold the entireHi-
ternationalart in India advised youngartiststo go
back to thevernacularor folkartwhichderivedinspi- malayan regionin theirarms.3The Himalaya
rationfromtherichindigenousthought, culture,sym-
bols and signsof India. See A. S. Raman, "Contem- "JohnConstableand the Art of Geography,"Geo-
porary Indian Artists," Indian and Foreign Review, graphical Review, Vol. 66 (1976), pp. 59-72.
Vol. II (August1, 1974), pp. 13-17. 3 For a discussionof thephysicalgeologyand phys-
2 Landscape paintingalso has a geographicalbase. iographyof the Himalaya, see D. N. Wadia, "The
See Ronald Rees, "Geographyand Landscape Paint- Himalaya Mountains:Their Age, Origin and Sub-
ing: An Introduction to a NeglectedField," Scottish crustal Relations," Himalayan Journal, Vol. 26
Geographical Magazine, Vol. 89 (1973), pp. 147-57; (1965), pp. 20-37; A. Gansser,Geologyof theHima-
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 489

Gilgit

LADAKH HIMALAYA
Q KASHMIR LOCATION MAP
.) \ Srinagar

0
6' >Chamba a, ( ?0 100 200 300 400 Mies

PAKISTAN >PUNJAB HIMALAYA

ge of t-he I KUMAOUN R.
NontonsHIMALAYA
B~ohWp

~~~~~SIKKIM '~~~~i 'I

DeIhiD 7 BHUTAN edge'f th


Kathmandu7 d ''
Al G -

~~~ ~
FIG. 1. Himalaya.LoH mation Mpi
I INDIA
N DI A ~~S
~7~ M
YA DE* DUAR
H IM~Ss'~

BANGLADESH

FIG. 1. Himalaya.LocationMap.

consistsmainlyof: 1) the Great Himalaya, a extensionof the plains of northernIndia, lo-


singlerangewithat leastfiftypeaks over23,000 cally knownas the Terai in thewest and Duars
feet (7,000 meters),includingMount Everest in theeasternHimalaya.5
at 29,002 feet (8,848 meters), Kanchenjunga Four distinctculturalgroupspenetratedthe
at 28,146 feet (8,578 meters), Nanga Parbat relativelyisolated geographicenvironmentof
at 26,620 feet (8,126 meters),and Dhaulagiri the Himalaya.6People of the Hindu (Indian),
at 26,795 feet (8,172 meters); 2) the subordi- Lamaist Buddhism (Tibetan), Islamic (Af-
nate rangeson the Tibetan side, includingthe ghan-Iranian), and animistic (Burman or
important Zanskar,Ladakh and Kailas Ranges, SoutheastAsian) culturesarrivedin wavesfrom
with elevations up to that of Mt. Kamet at the south, north,west, and east, makingthe
25,447 feet (7,756 meters) and Mt. Kailas at Himalaya theirhome and imprinting theirarts
22,028 feet (6,714 meters)-where both the and cultureson the Himalayan environment
Indus and Brahmaputrarise;3) theKarakoram (Fig. 2).7 The cultures were preservedand
chain at the westernend of the Himalaya with
its loftypeak knownas K2 or Mount Godwin and Nepal (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand Co.,
Austin at 28,287 feet (8,611 meters); 4) the 1963); P. P. Karan, Nepal: A Cultural and Physical
Geography (Lexington, Ky.: Universityof Kentucky
Middle Himalaya, which borders the Great Press, 1960); idem, Bhutan: A Physical and Cultural
Himalaya on the southwitha remarkableuni- Geography (Lexington, Ky.: University of Kentucky
formityof heightsbetween6,000 (1,829 me- Press, 1967); Jacques Dupius, L'Himalaya (Paris:
ters) and 10,000 feet (3,048 meters); and 5) Presses Universitairesde France, 1972).
5 For the human occupance of the Terai, see L. R.
the OuterHimalaya, withan averageelevation Singh, The Terai Region of U. P.: A Study in Human
of 5,000 feet(1,024 meters),whichis thelow- Geography (Allahabad: Ram Narain Lal Beni Prasad,
est zone and is contiguousto the plains of 1965).
India.4 Southwardis the piedmontplain, an 6 Gerald D. Berreman, "Peoples and Cultures of the
Himalayas," Asian Survey, Vol. 3 (1963), pp. 289-
304.
layas (New York: Interscience Publishers, 1964), pp. 7 Marie-Therese de Mallmann, "Arts du Tibet et
235-6 1. des regions Himalayennes," Arts Asiatiques, Vol. 21
4 P. P. Karan, "Geographic Regions of the Hima- (1970) pp. 71-89; Madanjeet Singh, "Mystique of
laya," Bulletin of Tibetology,Vol. 3 (July 1966), pp. Himalayan Art," Indian and Foreign Review, Vol. 12
5-25. For geographyof the Himalayan realm, see S. C. (1975), pp. 13-17; idem, "Unknown Treasures of
Bose, Geography of the Himalaya (New Delhi: Na- Himalayan Art," Unesco Courier, Vol. 22 (February,
tional Book Trust, 1972); P. P. Karan and W. M. 1969), pp. 14-25; idem, Himalayan Art (Greenwich,
Jenkins, The Himalayan Kingdoms: Bhutan, Sikkim Conn.: New York Graphic Society Ltd., 1968).
490 PRADYUMNA P. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

HIMALAYA
\ TIBETANCULTUE_
(t ISLAMIC\ (Lamaist) ,_J CULTURALREGIONS

X zfo \0 100 200 300 400 Miles

/SSouthern ex en_ \t g N
of mountain culu e \ t S \

i~~u)'O~ (Lomoisi C UL TURE


IC ~~~~IodC
Co/lures (LomaiSl

M=dified after Berrern

~~~~~~~~IEI

REGIONAL PATTERNSOF PAINTING

AN
A

Modified after C M N. Suhuy

J TIBETANDANCE ,

\COURT\
DANCE

REGIONAL PATTERNSOF DANCE


\ ATHAK ,

FIG. 2. Himalaya.Map of culturalregions,regionalpatternsof painting,and regionalpat-


terns of dance.
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 491

nurturedin theseHimalayanvalleyswhilethey and shiftingagricultureenteredthe Himalaya


were being modifiedmarkedlyby outside in- fromthe east.'2
fluencesat theirplaces of originin the Indian, The Himalaya thus presentsa complex cul-
Afghan-Iranian, and SoutheastAsian areas and turalpatternwithfourmajorculturesencroach-
werebeingeffacedin Tibet by the obtrusionof ing upon the area-fromdifferent directions.In
a newideology.8 general,people of the Hindu cultureare domi-
The principalfeaturesof the Hindu culture nantin thesub-Himalayaand themiddleHima-
such as the Indo-Aryanlanguages, art forms, layan valleys fromJammuto Nepal. To the
and settledagriculture,enteredthe Himalaya north,people of Lamaist Buddhistculturein-
fromthe Indian plains to the southY9Distinc- habittheHighHimalayafromLadakh to north-
tivefeaturesof theLamaist culturesuch as the easternIndia. In centralNepal, in an area from
Tibetan language, art, sculpture,and a com- 6,000 to 8,000 feet (1,829 to 2,439 meters)
binationof pastoralismand settledagriculture and occasionallyup to 10,000 feet(3,048 me-
encroached upon the Himalaya from the Ti- ters), the Indian and Tibetan cultureshave in-
betan plateau to the north.'0Buddhistmonas- termingled, producinga combinationof Hindu
teries,located in secluded places but within and Tibetan traits.This intermediate zone be-
easy reach of the main trans-Himalayantrade tweentheHindu and Tibetanculturesin Nepal
routes, developed as centers of religiouslife formsa distinctculturalregion.'3Elsewherein
where artisticand intellectualexpressionand the Himalaya the Hindu and Lamaist Bud-
cultureflourished.Major Buddhistmonasteries dhistculturesmeeteach otherdirectlywithout
withgreatworksof art are located in the high any transitionalzone. EasternBhutan and As-
valleys of such rivers as the Sutlej, Ganges, sam Himalaya are inhabitedby people whose
Jamuna,Kali, Bagmati,Kosi, Manas, Raidak, cultureis similar to those living in northern
and Brahmaputra,which flow through the Burma and Yunan. People of westernKashmir
mountainsfromnorthto southin gorgesoften have a culturesimilarto theinhabitantsof Iran
9,000 to 15,000 feet (2,743 to 4,572 meters) and Afghanistan.
deep. Pilgrimsand tradersstillwend theirway The artforms,infusedduringperiodsofpolit-
along the steepvalleytrailsto reach monaster- ical expansion or culturaland religiousinter-
ies such as the Thyangbochein the inner re- change, have become permanently established
cesses of the mountains(Fig. 3). The monas- as regionalgroups.Each regionalgroup origi-
teriesemergedas institutional nodes withworks natedfromstylistic modelsdeeplyrootedin the
of artbased on nativeculture. religiouscanons of Islam, Hinduism,and Bud-
From Iran and Afghanistancame major fea- dhism. Inspiration for patterns and designs
turesof Islamic culture,includingthenon-Indic came also fromnatural elementssuch as the
Aryanlanguages,art formsassociatedwiththe ripples on the surfaceof a mountainstream,
Moslems, and irrigated,settled agricultural clouds, rainstorms, wingsof the butterflies,the
formsand pastoralism."-The animistcultural markingson a snake, the interlacingof leaves
featuresassociatedwiththe Burman or South- and branchesagainstthesky,and thecolors of
east Asian area such as the Tibeto-Burman therainbow.These styleshave been reproduced
languages,art formsassociatedwiththe indig- by generationsof Himalayan artists.Various
enous religioussystems(distinctfromthegreat elementswhich infiltrated regional art in the
religionsof Hinduism,Islam, and Buddhism), Himalaya rarely produced a combinationof
forms.Rather,each styleflourishedand a re-
8 For details,see S. C. Bose, Land and People of gionalismof arthas been maintained.The dis-
theHimalayas (Calcutta: Indian Publications,1968). tinctiveregionalpatternsof Himalayanartwere
For the relationship
betweenideologyand landscape
in Tibet, see P. P. Karan, The Changing Face of Tibet:
The Impact of Chinese Communist Ideology on the 12 C. Von Furer-Haimendorf, Himalayan Barbary
Landscape (Lexington,Ky.: University
Press of Ken- (New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1956).
tucky,1976). 13 The ethnography of the Magar people of thisre-
9 H. Bhattacharya, Cultural Heritage of India gionis describedin JohnT. Hitchcock,The Magarsof
(Hollywood,California:Vedanta Press, 1961). BanyanHill (New York: Holt,Rinehartand Winston,
10 P. Carrasco, Land and Polity in Tibet (Seattle: 1966). The distinctivefolkart of the Newar inhabit-
of Washington,
University 1959), pp. 4-5. antsof thisarea is describedby Susan Peterson,"Folk
11 W. C. Smith, Modern Islam in India: A Social Art of Nepal," Craft Horizons, Vol. 27 (March-
Analysis(New York: Russell and Russell,1972). April,1967), pp. 36-39.
492 PRADYUMNA P. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

_I

60-~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~-

, ;I. ?' '- K .fi ; v lv E;A

FIG. 3. Monasteries such as this one at Thyangboche, located at 12,715 feet (3,873 meters)
near Khumjung in Nepal, are the focal points of art and cultural life in Buddhist Himalaya. The
walls and ceilings are decorated with religious paintings. People who must make great effortsto
extract a living from an inhospitable environmentoften spend much time and money on artistic
representation.Many of the frescoes at Thyangboche are of considerable esthetic merit.

recognizedas early as the seventeenthcentury isolation of cloisteredvalleys, the distinctive


by Taranatha,a Tibetan historian,who identi- regionalstylesof paintinghave been preserved,
fiedfourartisticschools in the Himalaya-the each stylecharacterizedby a magnificenceand
Eastern School (in Eastern Himalaya), the beauty of its own. The paintingsobjectifythe
MadhyadeshSchool (in CentralHimalaya), the artisticcognitionof a people of theirphysical
WesternSchool (in Kumaon and Punjab Hi- environment and theirculturalvalues.
malaya), and the Kashmir.14
IslamicPaintingof WesternKashmir
REGIONAL PATTERNS OF PAINTING
Islam, which forbidsrepresentation of ani-
IN THE HIMALAYA
mate nature in art, has generallycondemned
Regional artisticcharacteristicsof painting imagepaintingas sacrilege.The orthodoxMos-
by theBuddhistand Hindu
have been influenced lem in the Himalaya usually displayed artistic
pantheon of deities,the Islamic traditionsof consciousness in calligraphyby transcribing
Iran, and the awesome physicalsettingof the thetextsof theHoly Book. Calligraphybecame
remotevalleys and high peaks. In the relative a religiousduty and assumed a higherplace
than image painting.This theologicalprohibi-
14 Taranatha, Taranatha's Geschichte des Bud- tionwas obeyedby theorthodoxSunniMoslems
dhismusin Indien.Aus demtibetischen uebersetzit
von of theArab nations,butitwas generallyignored
Anton Schiefner (St. Petersburg,Russia: Eggers, by the Sia Moslems of Persia (Iran).
1869). The originalTibetanmanuscriptwas held at The Persian artistictraditionwas introduced
St. Petersburg;
a facsimilecopyof the Tibetantextin
thelibraryof theNamgyalInstitute of Tibetologywas into thewesternHimalaya by the Mogul rulers
consultedin thisresearch. of India. Gifted with keen artistictempera-
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 493

-~~ of-~ ~

Be

. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~4

.1~~~~~ tl_ -

exampleof Mogul paint-


FIG. 4. A representative
ing,a royalportrait.The calligraphyon the margins
representsthe materializationof the Holy text of FIG. 5. A royal hunt. The Mogul artists depicted
Islam. adventures of the nobles and other aristocrats.

ment,the new rulersdefiedthe religiousban. The impact of Moguls on the art of Kash-
Rising above the restriction,theygave protec- mir is not confinedjust to the illustrationof
tionto theartof paintingas a courtaccomplish- manuscriptsof Persianclassics,chronicles,and
ment. The sympatheticattitudeof the Mogul tales. Portraiture,scenes of hunting,animals,
emperorssuchas Akbarencouragedlocal artists and birds were favoritesubjects (Figs. 4 and
to do image paintingunderthe Persianmasters 5). Artistsin the Mogul courthad no associa-
in theVale of Kashmirwithenlightened patron- tionwiththecommonman so theyseldom rep-
age.15 Some of the local Hindu artistswho ac- resentedany facet of ordinarylife (Fig. 6).
quired characteristicsof the Persian school Mogul paintingof Kashmiris veryaristocratic
carriedthemintostylistic featuresof theHindu in outlookand it is entirelydisdainfulof demo-
art. The Persian concept is apparent every- craticfolk appeal. The Moguls loved blossoms
where in Kashmir althoughsome Hindu fea- and plants in bloom, and artistshave contin-
turesminglewiththe Persianstyle.The indige- ued to portraybeautifuland novel thingsin the
nous Hindu traditionasserts itselfin a new regionaltraditionof theVale of Kashmir (Fig.
realism,in greatervigor,in a morenaturalrep- 7).
resentationof distanceand atmosphere,and in
theincreasingemployment of Hindu characters, LamaistPainting
costume,architecture, and foliage. The unique imageryof Lamaist Buddhism
characterizespaintingin the Tibetan culture
15 The Arts of India and Nepal: The Nasli and area of the Himalaya.h Two typesof Lamaist
A lice Heeramaneck Collection (published by October
House Inc. for Museumof Fine Arts,Boston,Mass., 16 Blanche ChristineOlschak in collaborationwith
1966), pp. 100-03. Geshe Thupten Wangyal, Mystic Arts of Ancient Tibet
494 PRADYUMNA P. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

t + +@tofal+ nA-+;s?* * B 0 9 -;--*

FIG. 6. A Mogul courtscene. Ruler,smokingwa-


terpipe,attendedby a princeand a nobleman.Court
scenessuchas theseare prominentin Mogul art.

imagerywhichexpressTibetan cultureare the


imageryof apotheosizedlamas and saints,and FIG. 7. Flowers were popular subjectsin Mogul
theimageryofterrifying deities.17 art.
Each Himalayan Buddhistmonasteryhas its
pantheonof lamas; some lamas are deifiedand
others are glorifiedsimplyas saints. Most of ages, whichhave been interpreted as a release
themare idealized as divinefiguresratherthan from psychic and cultural tensions,illustrate
reasonable likenessesof the personsportrayed thefearsofpeople who residein an inhospitable
(Fig. 8). Buddhism,with its emphasison the physicalenvironment.1
illusorynatureof the phenomenalworld,dis- The consistentorder and harmonyin the
couragesportrayalof the physicallikenessof a design of mandala structureis the most com-
person."' plex and completeexpressionof the Tibetan's
A peculiarfeatureof Lamaist art is the gro- perceptionof cosmic reality.20The mandala's
tesque and bizarre formsof terrifying deities design is geometricallyprecise, and its colors
paintedby the artistson the Thangka,or scroll
paintings,on cottoncloth (Fig. 9). These im- 19R. Bartholomew,"TibetanThangkas,"The Times
of India Annual (1967), p. 30; Valrae Reynolds,
"Thangka Art," Art News, Vol. 73 (March 1974),
(New York: McGraw-HillBook Company, 1973). pp. 109-11. For psychologicalinterpretations of artis-
For an exampleof secularTibetanart,in contrastto tic productions, see A. Bader, "Psychoticsand Their
thereligiousstyle,withitsstricticonographical norms, Paintings:The Human Soul Laid Bare," Ciba Sym-
see B. C. Olschak,"The Art of Healing in Ancient posium, Vol. 6 (1958), pp. 152-55; and G. Clauser,
Tibet,"Ciba Symposium, Vol. 12 (1964), pp. 129-34. "Paintingas a Remedial Factor in Psychotherapy,"
17 F. Sierksma, Tibet's TerrifyingDeities: Sex and Ciba Symposium, Vol. 8 (1960), pp. 13-22.
Aggression in Religious Acculturation (The Hague: 20 The symbolism of the mandalais discussedin G.
Mouton,1966). Tucci, The Theory and Practice of the Mandala, with
18D. Barrett,"The BuddhistArt of Tibet and Special Reference to the Modern Psychology of the
Nepal," Oriental Art, Vol. 3 (1957), pp. 90-95; S. Subconscious(London: Rider, 1961); D. Snellgrove,
Kramrisch,"Art of Nepal and Tibet," Philadelphia BuddhistHimalaya (Oxford:Bruno Cassirer,1957),
Museum of Art Bulletin (Spring,1960), pp. 23-38. p. 154.
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 495

FIG. 8. The wall paintingsin monasteries such as


thisone in Thimphu,Bhutan,depictlegendsof Bud-
dha's lifeas well as otherdeities.The mainlargefig- FIG. 9. A thangka, an example of scroll painting
ure is alwaysthefocalpointtowardwhichthesmaller
on cotton cloth. The lion-headed goddess Simhavak-
divinitiesflock.The centralfigureis paintedin a static
ritualpose. As thescenesspreadout on thewall there tra, on the lotus throne,is surrounded by four of her
retinuearranged in the formof mandala.
is more and more movementfeltto compensatefor
therigidity of theprincipaldivinity.The paintingsand
the muralsecho boththe faithand a fancifulpercep-
God and individualsoul, in union and separa-
tualizationof theirenvironment.
o oeinPhr7pitn
ar.Tepotaa
tion (Fig. 11). The Hindu artistalso desired
the religioustruthsto appeal to societyand he
are alwaysstrongand luminous.To theTibetan drewhisimageryfromeverydaylife,thuscover-
Buddhistthephenomenalworldis one of chaos ing a largerfieldthanthe Buddhistand witha
and tensionand the mandala is an attemptto differentapproach than the Moguls. Hindu
project order and harmonyinto that world artistsbroughtKrishnaand Radha down to the
and graphicvisual-
(Fig. 10). It is an effective level of ordinarypersonsby humanizingthem
izationof a worldthatexistsin themindof the in paintings.Thus, theHindu Himalayanpaint-
Tibetan. ing is really a visualizationof the life of the
HinduPaintingsof theSouthernHimalaya commonpeople,theirworkand play,theirjoys
and sorrows,theirbeliefs and customs, and
Designs derived from the Hindu religion theirhome and fieldlife,in the backgroundof
dominatethe paintingsof southernHimachal theirreligiousfaith;it is an "immediateexpres-
Pradesh, Garhwal, and Nepal Himalaya. The sion of the Hindu view of life . ..the product
worshipand adorationof a personaldeity,com- ofa wholecivilization.
"22
mon among Hindus, formthe inspirationfor Paintingsof the Himalayan hill states such
paintingswhich symbolizethe mutual longing as Kulu, Guler,Chamba, Mandi, Bilaspur,and
of God and the human soul.2' One principal Kangra (now in the Indian state of Himachal
theme of the Hindu artistshas been the love Pradesh) are giventhe genericname, 'Pahari'
storyof Krishna and Radha, as representing .23T

21 R. K. Kaushal, Himachal Pradesh: A Survey of


the History of the Land and its People (Bombay: 22 A. Coomaraswamy, Raiput Painting (New York:
MinervaBook Shop, 1965), pp. 77-80; M. S. Rand- OxfordUniversity Press,1916), p. 14.
hawa, "VaishnavismInspirationof Rajput Painting," 23 C. M. N. Sahay, "Indian MiniaturePainting,"
Marg,Vol. 17 (June,1964), pp. 4-7. Arts of Asia, Vol. 4 (1974), pp. 25-41. The word
496 PRADYUMNAP. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

PA_

7. ,. _4_
a

HAS~~A

FIG. 10. Beautifulfrescoesof cosmic mandalas (spheres) adorn the walls in the dzongs
(monastery-castles)of Thimphuand Paro. Theydepicttheoriginand development of the uni-
verseaccordingto theBuddhisttexts.Mandalas are paintedon theouterwalls of templegates
suchas thisone at Thimphuto makethedevoteesentering thetempleawareof thenatureof the
phenomenalworld.This is the messageof thesepsychograms, once consideredmythological
fantasybut now regardedby philosophersas essentialin understanding the way in which
Tibetan cultureanticipatedrealityand relativity in its own unique way. Harmony,a well-
orderedsymmetry in space, is ascribedto the networkof energiescalled the cosmic"wind."

is sublimated,and passion is enobled and sug- backgroundof an impendingstormrepresents


gestedwithgreattenderness.Sex is not allowed the passionatemood of woman piningfor her
to lose the qualityof subtletyand refinement.24lover.25
The recurring subjectmatteris woman restless Other themesin Hindu Himalayan painting
with longingfor her lover. Incidental objects also come fromthe vast range of Hindu reli-
(clouds, rain, lightning,storm,trees,flowers, giousthoughtand mythology. Amongtheartists
pictures,birds,and animals) are used to suggest of Garhwal Himalaya (Uttar Pradesh) and
a crisis (Fig. 12). A girl standingagainst a Nepal Himalaya,theRamayana of Tulsidas,the
Bhagvata Purana, dealing with the life of
'miniature'in this contextrefersto size whichmay Krishna,and Gita Govinda,thesymbolicallove
rangeup to a fullpage folio.
24 W. G. Archer, Indian Painting in the Punjab
Hills,Victoriaand AlbertMuseumMonograph,No. 3 25 V. S. Agrawala, "The Romance of Himachal
(London: His Majesty's StationeryOffice,1952); Painting," Roop Lekha,Vol. 20 (1948-49), pp. 89-90.
idem,"Pahari Miniatures:A Concise History,"Marg, M. S. Randhawa, Kangra Valley Painting (New Delhi:
Vol. 28 (March, 1975), pp. 3-44. Ministryof Informationand Broadcasting, 1954), p. 4.
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 497

-q

VI A

FIG. 12. A portrayalof love in Paharipainting.A


FIG. 11. The love story of Krishna and Radha is
one of the main themes of painting in the Punjab
lady withfourattendantson the terracewaitingfor
her lover.The gatheringstormreflectsthe lady's un-
Hills. In this scene Radha is reluctantto surrenderto
Krishna. Beyond the garden railing is a flowering
ease as along the banks of the rivereach bird has
cypress tree and birds in flightsilhouetted against the
founda mate.
night sky.

songforKrishna,are popular themesforpaint-


ings.
In Mithila, the ancient cultural region lo-
cated in the Terai of easternNepal and cen-
teredupon Janakpur,thereis a distinctartistic
traditionrepresented by paintingsdone on mud
walls by the village women. Favorite subjects
are gods and decorativefloraland ornamental
patternson the walls of a corridoror of the
Gosain-Ghar (room) where the familydeity
is worshipped(Fig. 13). Hindu festivalssuch
as the Chhath (worship of Sun God), the
Chauth Chand (the fourthday of the Hindu
month of Bhadra about August-September),
Dassehra (worship of goddess Durga in late
September), and Diwali (worship of goddess
Lakshmi in October) provide the main occa- on mud-wallsof "Gosain-Ghar"
FIG. 13. Paintings
sions for the painting.None of these surpass or God's room in a home in the Mithilaculturalre-
gionof southernNepal. Home-madecolorsfromveg-
the intricacyand exuberance of the designs etable matterare mixedwithoil and waterand ap-
done inside a kowar-the bridal chamber at pliedwitha brushmade of grass.
498 PRADYUMNAP. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

FIG. 15. Dragon painted on wood, an example of


Monpa art of eastern Himalaya.
FIG. 14. Decorativepaintingsinside a Kowar of
thenewlyweds.
lamic,Hindu,and Tibetanareas thepaintingof
the tribalregionof the easternHimalaya dis-
the bride's home where the newly married plays less sophisticatedestheticsense and a
couple residefor at least a few days afterthe less complexmediumof expression.The most
wedding(Fig. 14). Some of the designsinter- commonformof art in Arunachal Pradesh is
pret physiologicalfactswithconsiderablecan- the drawingon wood (Fig. 15). At the house
dor.26
entranceare some crude and simple drawings
In Mithila,the birthplaceof Sita-the epit- on a woodenframe,withsome dots and length-
ome of Hindu womanhood as portrayedin wise lines displayedin an unsystematicway.
Ramayana-local women artistshave devel- Figures and lines are drawn usually with the
oped a distinctregionalstyleof paintingknown liquid of lingchong(pine-resin),theessence of
as Madhubani art.27The hallmarkof the style whichgivesblack dye.
is the distinctiveportrayalof the human face These drawingsare associated with socio-
as being roughlyoval, with a sharplypointed religiousrites.Theyservein a way to declarein
nose tiltedupward,smooth roundedjaw line, explicitbut symbolicformthe desireof the in-
and full, wide eyes. The paintings,depicting dividualwho performsthe ceremonyto attain
scenes fromthe lives of Ram and Sita, have certainheights.Amongthe Akas, forexample,
free-handline drawingswithoutthe restrictions whena man aspiresforsome materialgoals in
of geometryand proportions.Each paintingis life,he performsa religiousriteto appease the
embellished with stylized local flowers and deitywho can bless him withthe desiredend.
birdmotifswhichforman intricateborder.To- On the last day of the ceremony,the person
day Madhubani art representsa culturaltradi- performing it, or someone on his behalf,who
tionof paintingjust as ancientas theland called may have acquired some special skill in the
Mithila. work,draws symbolicdesignsat the entrance
Paintingin theSoutheastAsian CultureArea of the house. The performer of the ritual ex-
presseshis yearningsthroughthesefiguresand
Much of thebeautyof tribalart and culture praysto the presidingdeityfor success or for-
stillsurvivesin the mountainouscountryof the tunein thedesiredsphere.
eastern Himalaya.28As compared to the Is-
REGIONAL PATTERNS OF DANCE
26 InterviewwithSri SitaramMisra, B.
L. Yadav,
and Ram Lochan Misra at Janakpur,Nepal. In mostof theHimalaya thedance has come
27 C. Y. Gopinath,"MadhubaniPaintings-AnAn- to be generallyregardedas an art formmeant
cient Art Form," Indian and Foreign Review, Vol. 12 to enkindle emotions expressiveof religious
(June 1, 1975) pp. 13-16. sentiments.Religion,however,does not always
28 Verrier Elwin, The Art of the Northeast Frontier
of India (Shillong: North-eastFrontierAgencyAd- provide the inspirationfor dances. In the Hi-
ministration, 1959). malaya,theBuddhists,theHindus,and theani-
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 499

mistshave used dancingin the propitiationof the templesof gods to the courts of Moslem
the spiritsof Nature. For example, a number rulersit swungtowardsensualism.
of epidemicdiseases have theirown presiding The cosmic-danceof Siva, which visualizes
deities. Wheneverthere is impendingdanger theunityof Being,radiatesall movementwithin
of an area being affected,people gather to the cosmos, and liftshumanityfromtemporal
offerprayers and performritual dances to to eternalrealities.The dance of Krishna and
please thegods. The rain dances emphasizethe Radha, the Eternal Lovers, symbolizescom-
ritualisticcharacterof dancing; other dances plete oneness of soul and body, expressingthe
depictthe harvestingof crops, symbolizinglife embodimentof spirituallove leading the soul,
forexistence.
in itsstruggle in theprocessof dancing,on thepath of libera-
tion.The dance in the Indic cultureof the Hi-
Dance in theIndic CultureArea malaya is the vehicle for communicatingthe
The dances of the Indic culturearea of the dominantHindu conceptsof man's faith.
Himalaya representthe major momentsin the Folk dancingin the Terai originatedin the
lifeof theculturalgroupand in theexistenceof hunt and harvestfestivalsof the ancientAryan
the individual.29 This may rangefromthe col- ancestors of the local population. Demons,
lectiveexuberanceassociatedwiththehuntand spirits, and gods were invoked or appeased
harvestfestivalsto the poignantpersonal feel- through dances. Present-day folkdancersof the
ingsat momentsof birth,marriage,or deathof Terai exhibit much of this ancient heritage;
a lovedone. they dance for sheer fun, for of
the fertility
The earliest known codified work on the crops, for luck, for protection, and for sum-
dance is the Natya Shastra,by Bharata Muni, moningand dispellingtheforcesof nature.The
whichwas writtensomewherebetweenthe sec- dances are characterizedby joys and sorrows
ond and fourthcenturiesA. D. Bharata Muni of life,a sense of lightheartedness, and under-
refersto four regionalvariationsof the art of currents of gratitude or fear for supernatural
powers.
dancing in India: Avanti, Dakshinatya,Pan-
Various Hindu castes such as the Ahirs,
chali, and Odha-Magadhi.In the Himalaya re- Kahars, Chamars, and the Dhobis have their
gionalismin dance is expressedin thedistinctive own repertoire of dances to celebratea wedding
Kathak dance of Himachal Pradesh and Garh- or the birthof a child. These are purelyfolk
wal Himalaya, the cosmic-dance of Siva in dances, characterizedby elementaldirectness,
Nepal Himalaya, and folk dancingthroughout spontaneity, and sincerity.
theHinduHimalaya.30
The Kathak (meaning a narratorof Kathas Dance in theSoutheastAsian CultureArea
or epic Hindu stories) dance representsa rich Tribes of the easternHimalaya region,such
and varied record of traditionsand ideas. A as the Monpa, Dafla, Apa Tani, Akas, and
community of musiciansand dancers,knownas Mishmis,are so imbuedwiththeconceptof the
Kathakas,fromwhomthisstyleof dancinggets unityof life and the unfettered naturearound
its name, danced on festivalsand participated themthattheyregardnatureas the mantleof
in daily templerituals.As unsophisticated ver- divinityitself.3'Their dances, therefore,are
nacular art it has religiousand spiritualroots. dedicated to nature worship.Festivals related
Moslem invasionsbroughtin new influenceson to seasonal variations provide occasions for
the Kathak dance of the southernHimalaya. dancing. The dances are of simple gestural
The Moslem royalty and nobility extended form;thefootwork, thoughswiftand rhythmic,
patronageto Kathak dancingas a formof so- is characterized by abrupt leaps and bounds.
cial entertainment. As the dance shiftedfrom The body itselfglides withremarkableease in
circles,and the arms move sidewaysto weave
delightful patternsof the gentlebreeze playing
29 Ragini Devi, Dance Dialects of India (Delhi:
with the soft ripples of the quietly flowing
Vikas Publications,1972); R. S. Gupta,"Languageof
Dance in India," Indian and Foreign Review, Vol. 9 mountainstreams.
(January1, 1972), pp. 18-20.
30 For a briefdiscussionof regionalismin Indian 31 S. G. Burman, "NEFA (North East Frontier
dance, see Kapila Vatsyayan,"Indian Dance," Arts Agency)-The Land and Its Peoples," India Quar-
of Asia, Vol. 4 (1974), pp. 48-55. terly,Vol. 19 (1963), pp. 344-69.
500 PRADYUMNAP. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

>
~~~~~~~~~, _2

_.~ .4 ,i_

FIG. 16. Lama dancesat Gangtok,Sikkim.Wearinglargeblackhatsand acoat adorned with


thunderbolts,and dried skulls, they call forth the deities. An orchestra accompanies the dance
and marks the dancer's steps.

Theseaboriginal peoplebelievein thesacred Bhutan presentmotifswith unsophisticated


powerof humanblood. Head- formsof folkexpression.
and fertilizing These danceshave
hunting practiceshave ceased to existbut the culturaland artisticsignificanceas well as
withan animal social and recreational
stillsurvives
ritualof sacrifice values. A varietyof
profferedin place ofhumanbeings.Sacrifice is dancingmasks represents divineand super-
theoccasionfora greatdeal ofdancingamong naturalbeingssuchas demonsand evilspirits,
thetribalinhabitants.Wardances,a survival of animals,andmen.82Someofthedancingmasks
the martialpast, symbolizeeventswhichthe aremadeup ofpaperpulpandothersofwood.
aboriginaltribesdesireto be successfully ac- The beatof thedrumstartsslowly,and as the
complished. The tribeshave a richvarietyof danceproceeds, thetemporisesandtherhythm
danceswhichare mostlywarlikein character becomesmorefrenzied. Theentire performance
and presentabstractconceptions of thehunt. is a deliberatesymbolicrepresentationof the
A fantasticand extravagantimagination comes struggleagainstthehazardsoflife(Fig. 16).
intofullplayin thedramatization ofthethrills
andsurprises oftheduelin thedanceform.
32G. Tucci, Tibet: Land of Snows (New York:
Dance in theTibetanCultureArea Steinand Day, 1967), pp. 133-34; SiegbertHummel,
"Boy Dances at theNew Year's Festivalin the Region
The mask dances of the Tibetancultural NorthNepal," East and West,Vol. 24.
of Dri-cu-ron,
groupin the highHimalayafromLadakh to New SeriesNos. 3-4 (1974), pp. 363-64.
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 501

Tibetansin the Darjeelingarea have a form is somethingwhichcolors the mindwitha cer-


of duet dance in whichtwo personsformone taindefinitefeeling-a wave of passion or emo-
characterin orderto portraythe characterof tion.In a special sense,raga is a tonal composi-
the Himalayan yak. The dancerin frontholds tion of musical notes with a formof peculiar
the mask while his partnermovingin unison significance.The peculiar conceptionof raga,
immediatelybehindmanagesto wag thetail. one of the basic principlesof the system,has
Dance in theIslamicCulturalArea no exact parallel with othersystemsof music
in the world.Hindu music expressesa certain
In the Kashmir Himalaya dancing in the feelingor mood and reflectsthe inspirationof
palaces of feudalchiefsbecame a formof sala- thesouthernHimalayanpeople.
cious entertainment markedby thevisual physi- Specificseasons and hours of the day and
cal charmsof the dancer as she lustilywhirled nightare fixedforthe performance of different
to sensuousmusic.DuringtheperiodofMoslem festivals,religious rites and ceremonies.Ini-
rule the emphasisin dancingshiftedfromthe tiallythereweresix ragas and theywereassoci-
spiritualto the physical and courtesanstook ated withthesix seasons of theyear.Theywere
to dancingas an easy means to gain favor of Bhairava (summer), Megha (rainy), Pan-
theMogul lords. In theMoslem Vale of Kash- chama (autumn), Nat-Narain (early winter),
mirdancingbecame a tabooed art forrespect- Shri (winter), and Vasanta (spring) ragas
able persons;it maintainedclassical purityonly whichweremeantto be sungin theirrespective
in those parts of the westernHimalaya which seasons. Raga Bhairava, associated with the
enjoyedgreaterprotectionfromMoslem inva- festivalfor the worship of Siva, became the
sions because of geographicalseclusionand in melodyof summertime (April and May) re-
some valleys due to sustainedpatronagefrom mindingmen of the anger of Siva, the God of
the successivegenerationsof the Hindu ruling Destruction.Megha, meaningcloud, is themel-
families. ody of therainyseason representing theexuber-
Rural peasants perform traditional folk ance of joy amongthe agriculturalpeople with
dances such as the ihoomar and khattak;the
thecomingoftherains.Shri,whichis a nameof
movementsreflecttraitsconsidered"good" in
Lakshmi,the goddess of wealth,is sung in the
the regionalculture.33In contrastto the West
where uprightbody posture denotes honesty winterseason soon afterthe harvest.Vasanta
and dances such as Spanishflamencoand classi- raga,arousingemotionsofjoy and hilaritywith
cal ballet emphasizea sense of verticality, lift- the appearance of blossoms,is the song of the
ingupwards,and a desireto overcomethepull springor vasanta season. Similarly,raga Pan-
of gravity, thefolkdancingof Kashmirempha- chama is allocated to the autumnmonthsand
sizes a down body posture.The movementsre- raga Nat-Narainto the early winterseason.
flectmodesty,whichis a most desirablesocial Apart from the traditionalassociation of
traitin thisculture.In thefolkdancingof Kash- ragaswithseasons,additionalragas are derived
mir "lifted"postureoftendepictsoverweening from geographicalplace names and regions,
pride or comic pomposity.An upward look fromthe names of specificgroups of people,
amongthedancersin seriouscontextsmayindi- fromcult and cult worship,and fromnames
cate lookingto heaven. of gods and goddesseswhichhave been added
to providea rich and colorfulmusicalformin
REGIONAL PATTERNS OF MUSIC theHindu Himalaya. The ragas emergeas the
suggestive sound picturesof the various envi-
The Hindu CulturalArea
ronments;each raga reflects thementalpercep-
In the Hindu Himalaya everysong or piece tion and awarenessof thephysicaland cultural
of music is set in some raga.34Literally,raga milieu.
All formsof Hindu musicsuch as the Dhru-
33 For examplesof folk dances fromthe Islamic
area, see ReginaldMassey,"Dancers fromPakistan," pad, Thumri,and Dadra-each characterized
Dancing Times, Vol. 65 (1975), p. 535. by a set of distinctiveragas-are prevalentin
34 EmmieTe Nijenhuis, Indian Music: History and the Himalaya (Fig. 17). Each form has its
Structure(Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1974); Walter Kauf-
man, The Ragas of North India (Bloomington: Indi- own regionof popularitydependingupon
the
ana University Press,1968). historicaland social traditions.
502 PRADYUMNAP. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

HIMALAYA
\ TIBETANMUSIC
HKHEYAL\ F REGIONAL PATTERNSOF MUSIC
AND \X

0 100 200 300 400 Miles

If B,,,,,,,
I~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~s

( AMD\
\GABHA \
1PASHMINA A A

REGIONAL PATTERNSOF EMBROIDERY

\ TIBETANLAMAIST
/ \ ~~(CHORTEN)
I SLAMIC

REGIONAL PATTERNSOF ARCHITECTURE


AND SCULPTURE

FIG. 17. Himalaya. Map of regionalpatternsof music,regionalpatternsof embroidery,


and sculpture.(Based on fieldreconnaissance
regionalpatternsof architecture and literature
review.)
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 503

The literarycontentof Dhrupad, the most


favored melody in the Hindu courts of the
formerPunjab Hill states,is based on the tra-
ditions,symbols,and imageryof Hindu myth-
ology. It is characterizedby a spiritof regal
majestyand grandeurwhichreflected themood
of the princelycourts.Dhrupad was originally
a melodyinto whichwere woven the prevalent
folk musical patterns.Most hill states songs
generallyrecount"tales of romanticlove or of
heroism."35
Thumri is characterizedby erotic subject
matter,and soft notes and is associated with
southernpartsof the Himalaya adjacent to the
Ganges valley.36Thumri moved into the Hi-
malaya afterit was developedin the area near
Lucknow and Banaras and was influenced
stronglyby local folkmusic such as the Kajari
and Chaita whichcatch the seasonal moods of
summerand the rains,respectively. The domi- I' U~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
nantthemeof thesongsin Thumriis love in all
itsaspects.
Bhajan and Kirtans,a kind of dramaticso-
nata based on the various episodes fromthe
life of Ram, Sita, Krishna,and Radha are the
two most popular formsof religiousmusic in
FIG. 18. Todi Raginirepresents of
a transposition
the Nepal foothills.37 In Himachal Pradeshthe one of the modesor raga of Indianmusicintopaint-
raga systemof the Indian musichas inspireda ings.This one illustrates style.
thesophisticated
special styleof paintingscalled Ragamala (or
modesin music) painting.38 These paintingsare
illustrationsof poems whichdescribeor evoke scape, entrancesthe deer in the neighboring
the mood of the raga. Thus, the three arts- pastures by the music. The imageryderived
music, poetry,and painting-are involved in from folk stories is expressive of a woman
the productionof Ragamala paintings.These whoseyouthhas inspiredlove amongtheyoung
paintingsare extremelycomplex to interpret lovers who clusteraround her. Both of these
due to a lack ofunanimity amongmusicologists, Ragamala paintingsare characterizedby a sen-
poets, and paintersabout the exact melodyor sitive appreciationof the regional landscape,
musical structure, precise verbal imagery,and flowersand trees,the lyricalgrace of animals,
artisticiconographyrepresented. The twopaint- and the portrayalof abandon in women.
ings of Todi Ragini, one in sophisticatedstyle
Musicin theIslamic CultureArea
and the otherin folk tradition,are attemptsto
portraythe spiritand characterof the melody Kheyal,a modifiedIndic musicalformdom-
or raga (Figs. 18 and 19). Todi Ragini,repre- inantin theKashmirvalley,is less rigorous,less
sentedby a charmingwoman in an open land- bound by rules and enjoysgreaterflexibility in
its expositionthanthe Hindu Dhrupad. It con-
35 Gerald D. Berremen, Hindus of the Himalaya:
Ethnography and Change (Berkeley: University of
veys the idea of imagination.39 With greater
CaliforniaPress,1972), p. 262. freedomin the matterof improvisationand
36PremLata Sharma,"The Originof Thumri,"in tonal structure,Kheyal easily developed and
Aspects of Indian Music, 2nd rev. ed. (New Delhi: prosperedin the romanticand sensuous atmo-
1970), pp. 73-85. sphereof Mogul courtsand became a popular
37 A. A. Blake, "Kirtanin Bengal,"Indian Artand
Letters,New Series,Vol. 21 (1947), pp. 34-40.
38 Pratapaditya Pal, Ragamala Paintings in the 3'" Jaideva Singh, "The Evolution of Khayal," in
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston: Museum of Aspects of Indian Music, 2nd rev. ed. (New Delhi:
Fine Arts,1967). 1970), pp. 86-96.
504 PRADYUMNA P. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

~~f /

FIG. 20. In the Uchi, the religiouscenterof the


Tashi Cho dzong in ThimphuValley of Bhutan,a
monkbeatsa drumheldin his lefthand.The drumis
adornedwithreligioussymbols.

FIG. 19. Folk stylepaintingreflecting


the pastoral district,a most popular song is brjhva. It is
environment of the Himalayan valleys. sungon festiveoccasions and on journeysfrom
one village to another.During marriagecere-
new style in music in the Vale of Kashmir. monies songs and music are played by the
Ghazal9 originating in the Lucknow area, rep- people of the bride's village to express their
resents Moslem influence. The intense emo- humilityand respectfor the wedding guests.
tional appeal of the Ghazal depends on its suc- Amongthe tribalyouthslove-lyricsare a most
cessful renderingwith correct accent and a good popular form of music. Boys and girls play
voice. musicand singlove-lyrics expressingtheiremo-
Kawwali and Mercia are the counterparts of tionsindividuallyand secretlybehindthebushes
Kirtan and Bhajan for the Moslems. Mercia is in thesolitarycornersoftheneighboring woods.
the song describing the battle in which the Musicin theTibetanCulturalArea
grandsons of the Prophet were killed. It is
chanted in a recitative manner in the mornings The popular songs and musicof the Tibetan
during the Moharram festival. Kawwali is dis- culturalarea blend the concepts of Lamaism
tinguishedby its quick and lengthypassages up and the legendsof the Buddhistepic.4"For ex-
and down the scale and well-punctuated cho- ample, theytreatthe threelevels of the world,
ruses emphasizing the main theme of the song. each inhabitedby its own deities,the different
realms of nature each with its representative
Music in the Southeast Asian Culture Area animal (such as thewhitelion of the glaciers),
The folk songs and music of the eastern thefourlokpalas (guardiangods of fourdirec-
Himalaya lack the restraintof established clas- tions), and thefourlegendarykingsrulingover
sical varieties of Hindu musical forms. The
words of the songs are simple and precise, 40 Giuseppe Tucci, Tibetan Folk Songs from
adorned with homely similes and metaphors. Gyantse and Western Tibet, 2nd rev. ed. (Ascona,
Among the Akas, a tribal group in Kameng Switzerland: Artibus Asiae Publishers, 1966).
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 505

FIG. 21. A horn,made of a human thighbone,


used in Buddhistmonasteries.

thefourpointsof the compass. The songs are


supposed to protectthe area throughtheirre-
ligious powers. They express the wisdom of
the elders and lend sanctionto the social and
world order,the structureof the environment
and that of the groups inhabitingit. To the
accompanimentof whistles and shouts the
full-throatedcarefree songs of the Tibetan
herders are similar to those of the Spanish
shepherds.
In the monasteriesthe monks blow horns,
conch shells,and beat drumsand cymbalsdur-
ing the chantingof sacred prayers(Fig. 20).
The hornis generallyblown on one note only
and is easy to play. The majorityof the monks
run their fingersalong the script while they
chant and play music. A small horn, carved
froma humanfemur,hollowedout and shaped
to a mouthpieceat one end,is commontopmost FIG. 22. An embroidery motif from Kashmir.
Flowers and tendrils of the cypress tree have been
monasteriesin the Tibetan culturalarea (Fig. used to produce the pattern.
21). From each of the whole range of instru-
ments the monks usually play only one fre-
quentlyrepeatedand tonelessnote. touch with the physical,cultural,and experi-
entialenvironment.
REGIONAL PATTERNS OF The principaldesignsor decorativemotifson
EMBROIDERY HANDICRAFTS Himalayanhandicrafts have been derivedfrom
threesources: theIslamic ornamentsor designs
Handicraftsare a major elementin the cul- in whichall naturalformsare reducedto con-
tural heritageof the Himalayan people. Like ventional arabesques or ingenious geometric
othermanifestations of Himalayan art, handi- patterns;the more exuberantand imaginative
craftsare productsof thematerialand spiritual Hindu form,which uses animals and human
environment. In theirvaried formsthe handi- figureswithgreaterfreedom;and the Lamaist
craftsreflecta religious-philosophical
idealism, Buddhisttraditionsfilledwithritualsand sym-
and an imaginationthatdrawsupon the physi- bolismsof TibetanBuddhism.These traditions
cal and culturalmilieuof themountains.Crafts- can be seen in textileembroidery designs,metal
men, while strivingfor beauty, do not lose work,jewelry,pottery,wood, horn,ivory,and
506 PRADYUMNA P. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

s-, _^ o . s

* v~~. .-i
!^'?S;, '_ ,t
*' 4X~#,#,
- -,
Z X~~~~~~~~~~~~~,~

:4*
~l{
. .
t-,. t. ...t...........

S
.......
.............,ssv,-
;- f i-*++0*B@*
*^

ZvWON L

~~~~~ -4
FIG. 23. The craftsmenin Kathmandu, Nepal
have excelledin finemetalwork.Fine specimensrep-
resentingvarious deitiesin the Hindu and Buddhist
pantheonare made for decorationof the altars.The
lLW ;' SE;-ii'''ia
B^|l
faces are always mouldedin perfectproportionand
displaya beautifullysereneexpression.The iconogra-
> 09 v # { 648e ->** 6 ** #ff

ww~~~~~~~~~~~~.
2 . t'.. *. *. . s. . ,'?
. . .................................,,W

A."ww .0 r . .r
phy of these art formsreflectsmany aspectsof the
A_

Hindu and Buddhistsymbolism.

other crafts (Figs. 22-24).41 The hereditary


Hindu craftsman, protectedby caste traditions,
and Moslem craftsmenaccustomedto occupa-
tionaltraditions, continueto transmitthe tradi- deodar in Kashmir. =

tional arts and craftsin original form from


fatherto son.
Embroidered textiles and carpets are the
mostcommonhandicraftand theyillustratere-
gionalismderivedfromthe physical and cul-
tural characteristicsof the area. The distinct
formsof art-fabrics have been preservedas a
resultof several factors.Prescriptionsof rigid
social codes, particularlyamong the Hindus of and life.Red is the color of joy and happiness,
the Himalaya, have ordainedstylesof decora- or passion, virility,and strength.Yellow sym-
tion, color, and designsfor various occasions bolizescheerfulness, and thelife-
intellectualism,
and different communities.Marriages, festive givingrays of the sun. Blue symbolizespeace,
seasons, and sacred ceremoniesrequirethe use the atmosphere,the sky, as well as heaven.
of particularclothesin various colors by vari- Purple stands for wealth and materialposses-
ous religiousand caste groups.Color has great sions.The designsrangefromthegeometricar-
symbolicvalue suchas amongtheHindusof the rangementsof dots, squares, zigzags or circles
Himalaya,forwhomcolors symbolizeconcrete to floralanimaln, and religiousmotifs.42
and abstracteldments.Green standsfor youth IslamicEmbroidery Handicrafts
41 PratapadityaPal, "Bronzes of Nepal," Arts of The shawl embroidery of Kashmirvividlyil-
Asia, Vol. 4 (1974), pp. 31-37; Pushpa Sundar, lustratestheimpactof nature(Fig. 25). Floral
"Wood Carving,"Indian Horizon, Vol. 23 (1974),
pp. 33-39. For a discussionof regionalvarietiesin
toys,a highlydevelopedfolk art, whichreflectgeo- 42 JohnErwin and MargaretHall, Indian Embroi-
graphicaland culturalinfluences,see Anne Winter, deries (Ahmedabad: Calico Museum of Textiles,
"India's Toys: In Variety and Style, They Reflect 1975); Mulk Raj Anand, "Embroidery," Marg, Vol.
EveryFacet of This Complex Culture,"CraftHori- 28 (December,1974), pp. 30-33; Kamala Dongerkery,
zons,Vol. 16 (December,1956), pp. 32-36. "Place of Embroideryin Indian Crafts,"Marg, Vol.
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 507

aidx'

- Al~-

4~~~~~~~~~~

FIG. Kash-
embroidere
on
the
Floral
25.
pattern
shawl.
mqir ~~~' ~ 4

motifs,majestic mountains,shimmering lakes, FIG.26. Islamicprayerrug withfloraldesign


birds, and luscious fruits,all find a place in (Courtesy H. Khan,Srinagar).
Kashmir embroidery.43 Local and Persian in-
fluenceshave blendedin thedistinctive leaf and
direc-
flowerpatternson the Kashmir carpets. Car- kindsof carpets.The prayerrugis always
tional in patternand symmetrical along a sin-
pets intendedforuse by theMoslems as prayer
gle longitudinal axis. Its embroidered design
matsareoftheMihrab(arch) type(Fig. 26).4
The "Tree of Life" is coveredwithflowers;the echoes the architecture of the mosque in linear
terms.
earthis represented by thetriangularmoundof
builders,beneathwhicha straightline is some-
timesdrawnto depicta river. Embroidery Handicraftsin theHindu
CultureArea
Islamic prayeris directional,and orientation
in the directionof Mecca or the qibla is essen- Embroidery in Himachal Pradesh and
tial. The liturgicalfocus of the mosque is a Kumaoun Himalaya is usually called Chamba
prayer-niche(Mihrab) in the wall facing styleand it has been influenced by Pahari paint-
Mecca. The portrayalof this niche in embroi- ing. The characteristics are easily distinguished
derydesigndistinguishes prayer-rugs fromother by the pictorialand geometricaldesignswhich
depictthemesborrowedfromPahari paintings.
17 (March, 1964), pp. 69-70; KamaladeviChattopad- Scenes of Krishna's life, dances, and ancient
hyaya,"Originand Developmentof Embroideryin
Our Land," Marg,Vol. 17 (March, 1964), pp. 5-10. legends are reproducedin warm, vivid colors
43 Nelly H. Sethna, Shal: Weaves and Embroideries in the traditionof Kangra paintings.Embroi-
of Kashmir(New Delhi: WileyEasternPrivateLim- deryis used to adorn various articlessuch as
ited,1973).
44 JamesDickie, "The Iconographyof the Prayer scarves, caps, fans, linen, and blouses (Fig.
Rug," OrientalArt,Vol. 18 (1972), pp. 41-49. 27). The patternsare simple and go withthe
508 PRADYUMNAP. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

FIG. 27. Krishna,shownin the centerof thisChamba Rumal, is a popularfigureon the


embroidery of theHinduculturearea. Four scallopedarches,each witha woman,are separated
by cedartrees.Bold leavesand flowersdecoratetheborder.

prevalentfolkstyleof paintingin whichflowers and Kumaoun Himalaya embroideryis often


and trees are drawn withoutsophistication.45 mentionedin the literatureand folk songs of
Phulkari,whichmeans "floweringwork,"is thearea.46
a spectacular style of embroideryassociated Religious motifssuch as the sankha (conch
with the Outer Himalaya in Punjab and Ku- shell), surja (sun), chandrama (moon), and
maoun. The motifsare largelyfloraland geo- 46 "Bagh and Phulkari: Punjab," Marg, Vol. 17
metrical(Fig. 28). Phulkarihas a large num- (March, 1964), p. 19. For a discussionof the role of
ber of patternsand each patternhas a special symbolical,psychological, and physicalfactorswhich
name based on the motif.This formof Punjab influence in var-
theuse of colorsin textilehandicrafts
ious partsof India and Himalaya,see Nancy Kenealy,
45"Chamba Rumal,"Marg,Vol. 17 (March, 1964), "India's CraftsToday: Color," CraftHorizons,Vol.
pp. 19-21. 19 (July-August, 1959), pp. 29-30.
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 509

.~~~~~~~~1

ar4
FIG. designused on scarfs
28. A floralembroidery
in the Punjab Himalaya.

trishul(trident), enter the embroideryof the


Terai and Middle Himalaya in Nepal. This
area remainedisolated fromthe courtlypomp
and show of Mogul rulers and it retained a
traditionalfolk styleusing available materials. FIG. 29. On festiveoccasionsthe women in Sik-
Kashida embroideryof the Nepal Terai has a kim wear a long-sleevedsilk jacket,hat, and richly-
large varietyof designs universallyused for stripedapron.Note the matchingfloraldesignon the
personalgarments.Sujani styleof Terai is used umbrellahandle.
in quilts and covers and illustratesnaturalsur-
roundingsthroughfree-flowing representations
Embroidery in theTibetanCultureArea
of trees,flowers,and animals. Kantha, an em-
broideryin the Duar (piedmont) of eastern Buddhist Himalaya people weave as their
Himalaya, has designs of human and animal ancestors did in Tibet. In Ladakh, northern
figures,flowers,and foliage. Nepal, Sikkim,and Bhutanweavingis a house-
hold art. On such occasions as the New Year
SoutheastAsian Hill CultureEmbroidery celebrationor the anniversaryof the founding
The embroideryof easternHimalaya reflects of a monastery,when the entirepopulationof
the dual influencesof Indian and Burmancul- a valleyis dressedin new clothesand has come
tures, as well as the tribal traditionsof the to participatein the event, the local weaving
aboriginalpopulation. The embroideryis ex- artmaybe noticedin thefestivalcostumes(Fig.
tremelydelicate and it is commonlyprepared 29). Each high Himalayan valley has its own
on the phaneyk, a type of sarong worn by distinct weaving patterns. For example, in
women.The patterncommonlyused is the cir- Bumthangin centralBhutan,unscouredsheep's
cular design,one circle joiningthe other.It is wool is used in different colors to weave the
a designinspiredby circularswirlsof thewater famous "Bumthang blankets" with yellow
and naturalobjects such as theflowerbuds. stripes and floral pattern. Black Bumthang
Anotherstrikingexample of embroideryis blanketsof wool with yellow, red, and white
the black chaddar (bed spread) with embroi- floralcrosses, which affordprotectionagainst
deredanimalmotifin thickcottonthreadwhich the extremewintercold, are widelyused as a
is popularly called the Naga chaddar. This garmentor skirtin centraland easternBhutan.
motifwas derived fromhuntingexploits and The patternconsistsof a broad stripeddesign
was originallywornbytheAngamiNagas. withstylizedfloralmotifs.48

47 B. K. Barua, "Weavingin Assam," The Assam 48 B. C. Olschak, "BhutaneseWeaving," Palette


Vol. 2 (April,1962), pp. 45-49.
Quarterly, (Sandoz, Basel), No. 24 (1966), pp. 3-8.
510 PRADYUMNA P. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

(7

-- pm

FIG. 30. Woolen cloth with stripedpatternand FIG. 31. A floralpatterndecoratesthe bedstead
flowermotifis used forwomen'sclothingin Bhutan. cover in this picture taken at the palace of the
Two silvershoulderclaspshold thisgarmenttogether. Chogyalof Sikkimin Gangtok.Raw silkproducedin
The top of the silverclasp is decoratedwithsymbols, thesouthernregionsof Sikkimhas been used to make
oftengilded,showingthe wheelof the law, the lotus the garmentfor the Chogyal'ssister.It is decorated
flower,and dragon. with floralpatternsand ornamentalfilletswith the
swastikawhich symbolizesgood fortune.A Tibetan
carpetwithflowermedalliondesigncoversthe floor.
In Bhutan the blanket with stripedpattern
formsthe typicalwoman's garment(Fig. 30).
decorativemotifson carpets in Bhutan is the
The longitudinalstripedpatternin which the
single large swastika on a border of separate
golden flowerdesign is prominentis used in or
interlacedswastikas.50
men'sgarments.Flower designsand symbolsof
Bhutaneseculturealso gleam fromthebrightly PATTERNS OF ARCHITECTURE
painted pillars of the unnailed,timber-framed AND SCULPTURE
buildings and bridges. In north Sikkim the The distinctiveHimalayanculturesare splen-
floralpatternis used on the special bedstead, didly
realizedin folkarchitectureand sculpture
which is similar to the sofa for sitting.The (Fig. 32). As the
principalvisible record of
groundshade of beige or blue is employedto the
religious,aestheticand material environ-
set off the brightflowersand foliage motifs ments,
folk architectureand sculpturevividly
(Fig. 31). expressthe various cultures-even colonialism
Carpet weavingin northernHimalaya is es- (Figs. 33 and 34).
sentiallya folkart.49The mostpopular kindis
thesmall saddle carpeton whicheveryelement The Hindu CulturalArea
of ornamentationhas a symbolic meaning,
In the southernparts of the Punjab, Kuma-
bringinggood fortuneor providingprotection.
oun, and Nepal Himalaya theHindu templeis a
Carpet designsoftenshow several or all eight
commonlandscape featurebut it does not con-
of the luckyBuddhistsymbolsof good fortune
tain a large shelterto accommodatea congre-
eithersinglyor in groups. One of the oldest
gationof devotees(Fig. 35). The Terai in east-
49 Philip Denwood, The Tibetan Carpet (Warmin- 50 B. C. Olschak,"TibetanCarpets,"Palette (San-
ster,England:Aris and PhilipsLtd., 1974). doz, Basel), No. 27 (1967), p. 7.
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 511

V.
- x- *

ID -

3,~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~r.
FIG. 32. The drawings on these round storage FIG. 34. Rest housesin Paro, Bhutan,a laterde-
buildings adjacent to homes in westernTerai in Nepal velopmentby the Bhutanesegovernment. The living
are associated with socioreligious rites. In symbolic quartersare less elevated than in the colonial rest
form they signifythat they wish to be blessed to re- house and thereare structural such as tie
differences
main free from evil influences. absenceof nailsand moreuse of masonryin thislater
of architectural
type,but the overall similarity style
and functionalpurposeis strikingin thetwo types.
ern Nepal withits traditionof wooden houses
and thatchedhutsofferssome new and interest-
ing architectural modes in the Chandimandapa deposits suitable for brick manufacture.The
(literally,porch of goddess Chandi) and tem- Terai mason uses molded bricks to beautify
ples.i' This alluvial regionhas widespreadclay templesand multipliesthe numberof pavilions
and spiresto make themimposing.Residential
51 Mary ShepherdSlusserand GantamavajraVijra- structures,however,graduallyevolved which
carya, "Two Medieval Nepalese An
Buildings: Archi- used wood and bamboo. This distinctiveTerai
tecturaland CulturalStudy,"ArtibusAsiae, Vol. 36
(1974), pp. 169-218. For details of Indian temple The Personality of Hindu A rchitecture(Delhi: Mun-
styles,see K. V. SundraRajan, Indian TempleStyles: shilal Manoharlal,1972).

4L~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~-j

*.'4~~~~'a lk

FIG. 33. The rest house (Dak Bungalow) was a FIG. 35. Durbar Square at Bhatgaon,Nepal. The
productof colonialismintroducedby the British.Lo- palace is on theright;thestatueof Bhupatindra Malla
cated in easternTerai, at the edge of the foothills, ( 1696-1722),thebuilder,is in leftcenter.The artsof
theirpurposewas to accommodatehighcivil servants terracottaand woodworkare amongthemostnotable
on officialbusiness.Livingaccommodationis on the artisticachievementsin the KathmanduValley,which
elevatedsecondfloor.The styleis reminiscent of the meanstheValleyof WoodenTemples,wherebuildings
old colonial edificesbuiltfor similarpurposesin the are lavishlydecoratedwithtunalsor carvedbrackets.
tropicsof boththeOld and New WorldsbytheBritish, The palace of Bhatgaonis a masterpieceof Hindu-
Dutch, and otherwesternEuropeancolonial powers. Buddhistart and architecture.
512 PRADYUMNA P. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

of thepassingaway of theBuddha intoNirvana


(Figs. 39 and 40). The shrineitselfremindsthe
devoteesof theGreat Teacher as an omniscient
- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A
reality.54
The stupa is a massivehemispherical
relicmound,crownedby a stone umbrellaand
surroundedby a balustrade.It was originally
a simple burial mound of earth and bricks
erectedover fragments of bones and ashes of a
holy personage. Following this custom, the
-~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
- -~ ashes of Buddha, afterhis Great Departure,
were enshrinedwithinsuch tumuli.The relief
compositionsadorningthe stupas and chortens
narratestoriesmainlyfromthe life of Buddha
or fromthe legendsof his incarnations.Under
the patronageof lamas, sculpturein Tibet en-
tereda phase of intensecreativity withreligion
as theprincipalsourceof inspiration(Fig. 41).
FIG. 36. This largeworkof artat BuddhaNilkan- Architecture and Sculpturein theIslamic
tha, near Kathmandu,showingVishnusleepingon a CultureArea
bed of snakesin the symboliccosmicocean,connotes
profoundserenityand peace. Over fivemeterslong, 'The Islamic architectureand sculptureof
thisseventhcenturysculptureof Vishnulies in a tank Kt.tirmirHimalaya is characterized by the
fed by a naturalspring.Grandioseart devotedto the neatlydefinedoutline and the geometricpro-
Hindu gods producedsome massivesculpturesin the
KathmanduValley. Brahminpriestsare shownper- portion of interiorspace. The Islamic Law,
forming the ritualworship. based on the Koran, forbade any sculptural
decoration;the only plastic embellishmentsin
shownin thesloping whichthe Moslems indulgedwere the carving
architectureis particularly
roof,curvedeave, and a pointedarch style.+2 and paintingsof textsfromtheHoly Book and
the use of Persian and Arabic geometricaland
In the Hindu sculptureof southernHima-
floralmotifs(arabesques) for surfacedecora-
laya, a wide range of Vishnu and Siva images
tion. The artistsrepresentedgeometricaland
appear fromthePunjab to theNepal Himalaya
floralmotifsin endless combinationsand with
(Figs. 36 and 37).5 Bhairawa is anothercom-
mon deityin Hindu architecture; the club and remarkableaestheticsense. The Moslem build-
skullsin thehandsofBhairawasymbolizedeath ers in South Kashmirshowed a greatstructural
ingenuity in coordinatingthe main elementsto
(Fig. 38). A sculpturedependinggreatlyfor
its expressionon the religiousideals requires forma unifiedand pleasingarchitectural com-
littlejewelry,but the littlethat is toleratedis position.
Religious architecturein Islamic Kashmir
only to furtherreveal the philosophicalbeing
in theouterform. consistsof mosques which fulfillthe practical
needs of a religionwhichadvocatescommunity
and Sculptureof theTibetan
Architecture worshipand mausoleums,thefinestexpressions
CultureArea of Islamic architecturein theVale of Kashmir.
In BuddhistHimalaya chortensand stupas The mausoleumsare almost always situatedin
dominatethe landscape and serve as symbols the centerof a beautifulgarden,givingan im-
pressionof serenity and peace.55
52 For detailson regionalism
in architecture,
see H.
Sanyal,"RegionalReligiousArchitecture in Bengal:A 54 P. Pal, The Art of Tibet (New York: The Asia
Studyin theSourcesof Originand Character,"Marg, Society,1969), p. 44; Philip Denwood, "Bhutanese
Vol. 27 (March, 1974), pp. 31-43. Architecture,"Asian Affairs,Vol. 58 (February,
53 Oftenthe imagesof Vishnuare set in a tank-a 1971), pp. 24-33; GelongmaKarma KechiogPalmo,
uniquearchitecture of waterwhichin areas of Hindu "Mantras on the Prayer Flag," Kailash: A Journal of
culturalinfluenceunderwentelaborate development Himalayan Studies, Vol. 1 (1973), pp. 168-69.
into formscombiningbeautyand utility.JohnNico- *5 For the role of environmentin the Mogul land-
lais, "WaterArchitecture of the KathmanduValley," scape architecture,see Mulk Raj Anand,"The Treat-
Arts of Asia, Vol. 4 (September-October, 1974), pp. mentof Environment by the Mughals,"Marg, Vol.
62-67. 26 (December,1972), pp. 3-8.
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 513

_ _ _~~~~~~~~ a_a

-. . m

0 M~~~~~~~~~.

FIG. 37. Entranceto the Hindu Temple of Pasupatinath(Lord of the Animal World)
viewed from the bank of Bagmati. Siva, the god of this Nepalese national shrine, is symbolized
by the productive and creative Linga, or Phallus. It is in this symbolic form that Siva is wor-
shipped in the Temple of Pasupatinath. On the banks of Bagmati flankingthe temple, the Hindus
carry out their ritual ablutions on stone steps. Washing for the purificationand expiation of
sins is a ritual to the Hindus in Nepal and elsewhere.

The SoutheastAsian Hill CultureArea forhouse building.Cane, whichis commonin


Tibeto-Burmanvillagesare made up of sev- the forests,furnishesmaterialof great utility
eral long-housescontaininga numberof patri- forhomebuilding.The Aka house,forexample,
lineallyrelatedfamilies.The houses are raised is a long bamboo and cane structureraised on
on piles and are made of bamboo in contrast a platform, about six feetabove thegroundand
to the stone houses of the BuddhistHimalaya, divided into two compartments by a partition
and themudbrickhouses of mostof theHindu wall (Fig. 42). The space between the plat-
Himalaya and SouthKashmir. formand the groundservesas a shed for pigs
Architectureis influencedby the abundance and goats. The roof is usually thatched,sup-
of bamboo groves which providethe material portedbybamboo sheets.
514 PRADYUMNA P. KARAN AND COTTON MATHER December

A
___ 4

FIG. 40. This huge, hemispherical stupa in Kath-


manduValley is a striking exampleof religiousarchi-
tecture.At the top of the spireis a canopy.Four gi-
FIG. 38. Bhairawa in Kathmandu'smarketplace. ganticpairs of eyes are paintedon the base of the
Originally,a "fearful"formof Hindu god, Bhairawa spire.These represent the wisdomof Buddha,mani-
is wrathful,but protectivein spirit,the emanationof festedon all sides by his all-seeingeyes. Originally,
divineomnipotence, and slayerof demons. thisdecorationwas probablyintendedto protectthe
buildingfromthe "evil eye" or the machinationsof
evil spirits.
CONCLUSION
Vernacularart formsare largelyproducts
ofa group'sbehaviorwithinthecontext ofspe-
and environmental
cifictraditions The
settings.
regionalpatternsofHimalayanartwererecog-
nizedthreecenturies ago by Taranatha,a Ti-
betanhistorian. Contactbetweenthe ancient
culturesin thisrealmwas minimized forlong
periodsinthepastbyphysical In more
isolation.

FIG. 41. This impressivesculptureof Padamsamb-


hava in Gangtok,who broughtBuddhismto Tibet,
Nepal, Sikkim,and Bhutan in the eighthcentury,
evokes the presenceof the greatsaint of Lamaism.
Consideredas thecentraltranscendent of Buddha,he
is representedin paintingsand sculpturethroughout
theTibetanculturearea. He is dressedin his religious
gownand wearsthe characteristic headdresswithear-
lappetsturnedup. His tiara-likecap is crownedby a
thunderbolt,toppedby a peacock featherthat sym-
FIG. 39. A chorten in Gangtok, Sikkim, sur- bolizespurityfromsin. On thefrontof thecap is the
roundedbyprayerflagswithsacredmantrapaintedon twin-symbol of sun and moon,emphasizing his perfect
them.Chortenssuch as this one mark the routeof comprehension. Sittingin the postureof meditation,
pilgrimsboundfortheholyplaces of Buddhismin the he holdsthethunderbolt scepterand theskullcapwith
Himalaya. Amongthe relicsof variouskindsdepos- the base whichis filledwiththeWaterof Life. A tri-
itedin thehollowsof theedificeare clay figurines
rep- dentwithskullsis a specialfeatureof thisrepresenta-
resentingimagesof deities,and sacredinscriptions. tion.
1976 HIMALAYAN ART 515

embraced significantelements of both the


Lamaist and Indic traditions,but that fusion
has constitutedsimply an enrichmentof the
regionalculturalpatternof the Himalaya in a
varietyof artforms.
Himalayan art is stronglyvernacular,not
internationalin character.One may wonder
why vernacularart has persistedhere, why it
FIG. 42. Aka house This long bamboo and cane
persistsin many other regions and on other
structureis representative
of the residentialarchitec- continentsand in areas like the American
tureof theeasternHimalaya. Southwestwhichare not isolated and in which
art.
thereis theconstantimpactof international
recenttimes,however,interculturalcontacthas Those questionsof necessitymust remainun-
prevailedin manyplaces and yetthe regional- answereduntilgeographersand otherstudents
ism of Himalayan art has persisted.It is true of cultureaddressthemselvesfurtherto the de-
thatPahari culturein thecentralHimalaya has velopmentalaspectsofregionalart.

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