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Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

Indian Movie Posters

India's hand drawn movie posters are artistic, hilarious, and full of pastel colors.
posted by reenum on Dec 24, 2012 - 10 comments

The Artist who loved India's Soul

Svetoslav Roerich (work down the galleries on the left) was described in a tribute on his 100th birthday as The Artist who loved India's Soul.
Like his father Nicholas (previously); he was a painter and philosopher. The family foundation page has more on this extraordinary family. In 1954 Svetoslav married the widow Devika Rani who with her first husband Himansu Rai had made India's first English language talking movie which became a cause célèbre for India's first (and longest) onscreen kiss.
posted by adamvasco on Apr 29, 2012 - 8 comments

Australians actually love Indians

Faith in Taxis
posted by vidur on Oct 20, 2011 - 5 comments

Sari fashion photography

Sari fashion photography (related) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 9, 2011 - 21 comments

India Block Printing

India Block Printing
posted by OmieWise on Jul 29, 2011 - 10 comments

Preservation of a Dream

The last hand-written newspaper in the world - A brief film about The Musalman, which has been penned in Urdu calligraphy every day since 1927. via CreativeRoots [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on May 22, 2011 - 15 comments

Where were you when The IDEA knocked at the windows of your mind?

The IDEA - The Indian Documentary of Electronic Arts - Seven somewhat dated collections of essays, music, videos, and thought curated and designed by Shankar Barua, backed by totally awesome early Internet-era graphics, and hosted at Laurie Spiegel's also-rad retiary.org.
Please note that many individual pages of The IDEA gazettes are very-very heavily loaded, by [2001's] WWWeb standards, with images/audio/video. In other words, if you can get past ugly old broken HTML and auto-playing music, you may find a lot to like in here.
posted by carsonb on May 4, 2010 - 3 comments

tea in India

Chai Why? The Triumph of Tea in India : "But whereas I initially supposed tea-drinking to be as Indian, and perhaps as old, as the Vedas, I have come to know that it is, in the longue durée of Indian history, a very recent development; one that (in many parts of the country) did not much precede my first visit, or that even followed it."
posted by dhruva on Apr 19, 2010 - 18 comments

1837 illustrations of South Indian castes

"Seventy two specimens of castes in India". This illustrated manuscript made in southern India in 1837 consists of 72 full-colour hand-painted images of men and women of the various castes and religious and ethnic groups found in Madura, India at that time. Search or browse (recommended) all the images, in very good resolution, from Yale's Beinecke Library. [more inside]
posted by Rumple on Apr 12, 2010 - 14 comments

colours of passion

Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), considered “the greatest painter of India,” “the father of modern Indian art,” and a “prince among painters and a painter among princes.” Varma became renowned both for his portraiture and his paintings of Indian mythology. The painter's life and times played a major role in the shaping of the women he painted and controversy over the way he painted them. Varma's images have not just survived, but due to his vision of making them accessible to the common man, they have thrived over a century and influence movies, television, the world's most expensive sari, theatre and everyday calender art.
posted by infini on Apr 10, 2010 - 7 comments

To dye for

Best known as an Indonesian handicraft, batik is a distinctive technique for textiles that has been used for millennia and can be found as far away as Egypt, Ghana, China and India. An integral part of daily life in Java, batik has spread around the world as a wellknown artform as well as clothing. From its hippy heyday to the smart couture outfits of the Singapore Girl, batik is still daily wear for many and the equivalent of black tie in the ASEAN. [more inside]
posted by infini on Dec 19, 2009 - 13 comments

At the Roof of the World...

The beautiful artwork of the Tibetan people.
posted by hadjiboy on Aug 12, 2009 - 7 comments

Ourgothlaundry?

The Art & Life of Annie Truxell [via mefi projects]: Annie Truxell is a well known painter who has lived a long and fascinating life. Her adventures have been legendary, encompassing Greenwich Village in the 50s, London in the 60s and India in the 70s. She was friends with Franz Klein, Bill de Kooning, Truman Capote, Terry Southern, Mati Klarwein & many other wild & woolly people.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 12, 2009 - 11 comments

India and South Asian resources

Dr. Frances W. Pritchett, Professor of Modern Indic Languages at Columbia University, New York, has created a superb online collection of resources, all about India and South Asia, its art, history, literature, architecture and culture. Her Indian Routes section (the Index page) is a particularly rich resource. Her vast, colorful and informative site also has many great images. Check out her "scrapbook pages" on the Princes l the Ghaznavids l British Rule l Women's Spaces l Perspectives on Hinduism. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jun 9, 2009 - 14 comments

Drawings of Kings, and their Palaces.

Welcome to the Garden States of the Mughal Empire.
posted by hadjiboy on Mar 10, 2009 - 7 comments

Raghubir Singh

Raghubir Singh. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Feb 26, 2009 - 6 comments

Garden and Cosmos

A rare glimpse into a forgotten Hindu world.
Garden and Cosmos - The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur. Virtually none of the 60 works on view in "Garden and Cosmos" have ever been published or seen by scholars since their creation centuries ago.
All paintings are from the Mehrangarh museum. ( whose links are also full of interest ). [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Nov 29, 2008 - 5 comments

Middle Eastern Body Art

Staining the nails, skin and hair with henna is the favorite way of enhancing beauty amongst women in the Middle East. It is used as a hair treatment as well as a dye to make decorative designs on the skin. The art is known as mehndi. Henna markings remain on the skin for about twenty or thirty days. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Aug 13, 2008 - 36 comments

Faces of the Divine

India's Ancient Art. "Fifth-century painters created stunning murals in dim man-made caves. A gifted photographer brings them to light." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Dec 25, 2007 - 13 comments

The art of Prashant Miranda

PrashArt
posted by greatgefilte on Jun 10, 2007 - 9 comments

Inside one of the biggest antiquities-smuggling rings in history.

The Idol Thief "Vaman Ghiya operated one of the most extensive and sophisticated clandestine antiquities rings in history, and he had grown rich in the past three decades by smuggling thousands of Indian antiques to auction houses and private collectors in the West."
posted by dhruva on May 14, 2007 - 15 comments

Hindu case against 'obscene' Muslim artist fails

Proceedings against MF Husain have been stayed in India's Supreme Court. A painting by the celebrated Muslim artist, apparently depicting Mother India as a nude, led Hindus to bring an obscenity case and proceedings to seize his Mumbai property were initiated. However his lawyers moved swiftly to frustrate the action, transferring the property into his son's name and then seeking the High Court ruling. Hindus have taken offense at previous paintings by Husain, depicting Hindu deities in allegedly obscene ways. Others disagree.
posted by Phanx on May 8, 2007 - 41 comments

"We were just trying to write songs about prostitutes and lesbians, that's all."

Introduced to Western culture by the Beatles in their single Norwegian Wood, the sitar has featured prominently in North Indian classical music for centuries. Princeton-based computer scientist Ajay Kapur updates the instrument with his ESitar, an audio and video controller that uses gesture input (PDF) and machine learning algorithms to facilitate joining the computer with Ajay in his sitar performance. Undergraduate engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania work from the other direction, building RAVI-bot, an award-winning, self-playing robotic sitar (YouTube) programmed to generate music from classical Raga scales and melodies all on its own. For those in the Philadelphia area, be sure to check out a live performance of RAVI-bot at the local Klein Art Gallery.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 19, 2007 - 32 comments

And now--a quick word from our sponsors!

Advertising in India (thanks to this post by NickySkye) More ads here and here
posted by hadjiboy on Jan 24, 2007 - 12 comments

Rung--Oh--Lee

The art of Rangoli:
posted by hadjiboy on Jan 20, 2007 - 25 comments

A life at high altitudes

The Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York City, houses paintings by Nicholas Roerich, a Russian artist, who spent most of his life on the Indian-Tibetan border, creating evocative images of night and day in the Himalayan Mountains. (more inside)
posted by nickyskye on Jun 15, 2006 - 15 comments

Wild Photos

Alex Bernasconi's (Mostly Wildlife) Photography [via MeCha]
posted by Gyan on Sep 16, 2005 - 4 comments

MetaRaga

ITC Sangeet Research Academy - a guide and resource of Hindustani classical music
RealPlayer and Flash recommended
posted by Gyan on Sep 11, 2005 - 4 comments

Holy car!

The Omkara Project "..the word Omkara meaning - ' the vehicle to cross the ocean of life ' Crossing this ocean is the journey that the mortal being must undertake in a lifetime and henceforth encounter the three basic elements of mortality - creation, preservation and destruction."
posted by dhruva on Jul 17, 2005 - 8 comments

Nek Chand's Rock Garden

Nek Chand was working as a roads inspector in northern India in the 1950's. Around 1958, he began collecting materials from demolition sites and using them to create a secret place which would soon grow into a beautiful rock and sculpture garden. But it happened to be on a national land conservency, and in 1975 authorities discovered it and the garden was nearly demolished. However, by this time it had already grown into a twelve acre complex of interlinked courtyards, each filled with hundreds of pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals. Chand soon gained much public support and in 1976 the garden was sanctioned as a public space. It then continued to grow and today it is over 40 acres.
posted by p3t3 on Jul 16, 2005 - 21 comments

William Gedney, photographer

What Was True. From the mid 1950s through the early 1980s, William Gedney (1932-1989) photographed throughout the United States, in India, and in Europe, and filling notebook after notebook with his observations. From the commerce of the street outside his Brooklyn apartment to the daily chores of unemployed coal miners, from the lifestyle of hippies in Haight-Ashbury to the sacred rituals of Hindu worshippers, Gedney was able to record the lives of others with clarity and poignancy. Gedney's America is a nation of averted eyes, and broken automobiles, and restlessness, a place Edward Hopper would recognize, but so, also, Walt Whitman.
posted by matteo on Apr 27, 2005 - 11 comments

Artserve

Welcome to ArtServe: Art & Architecture mainly from the Mediterranean Basin and Japan.
posted by hama7 on Nov 29, 2003 - 7 comments

Indian art

Articles on Indian art. There are many great articles here on Buddhist and Hindu art from India and Tibet. Exotic India Arts also sells various Indian arts and crafts.
posted by homunculus on Jul 20, 2003 - 4 comments

Women's Folk Art from India

Madhubani Painting - 'an on-line exhibit of folk paintings by women artists who live in the Madhubani district of northern India.' With a gallery of paintings depicting, among other things, interpretations of popular Hindu stories.
Related :- an exhibition of Maithil paintings at asianart.com; Patterns and Prints of India.
posted by plep on May 20, 2003 - 3 comments

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