"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]
India's hand drawn movie posters are artistic
and full of pastel colors.
(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
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]
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
. 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.
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."
"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.
(recommended) all the images, in very good resolution, from Yale's Beinecke Library
. [more inside]
as an Indonesian
is a distinctive
technique for textiles that has been used
for millennia and can be found as far away as Egypt
. 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]
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.
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]
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
All paintings are from the Mehrangarh museum
. ( whose links are also full of interest
). [more inside]
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]
India's Ancient Art.
"Fifth-century painters created
in dim man-made caves. A gifted photographer
brings them to light
." [more inside]
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."
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.
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.
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
in the Himalayan Mountains
. (more inside)
Alex Bernasconi's (Mostly Wildlife) Photography [via MeCha]
ITC Sangeet Research Academy
- a guide and resource of Hindustani classical music
RealPlayer and Flash recommended
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."
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
, 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
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.
Welcome to ArtServe
: Art & Architecture
mainly from the Mediterranean Basin
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.
- '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
Related :- an exhibition of Maithil paintings
at asianart.com; Patterns and Prints of India.