Thomas Kaiser

PAINTED SONGS

Continuity and Change in an Indian Folk Art


BROWSE


192 pages
22 x 30 cm, 196 mostly coloured illustrations. Hardcover.


39,80 incl. VAT



ISBN 978-3-89790-365-4 Category:

Description

For over 2000 years and until just a few decades ago artists travelled throughout India, using painted picture scrolls to spread stories from the great Indian epics Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as a wealth of stories about regional Gods and heroes and moral tales, amongst the mostly illiterate rural population. These artists were the creators and bearers of an art form which spread from India across China to Japan, and westward to the Mediterranean region. In the hands of the painters and singers, the picture scrolls became a portable cinema, projection screens for mythical knowledge and an incentive to listen to the songs whilst looking at the scrolls.

Political changes, technical innovation and social turmoil in the twentieth century ushered in profound changes to oral art forms. As their tradition lost significance, the Indian scroll-painting artists also lost their public and their income. Two Bengali picture-scroll traditions still defy adverse conditions; however, whereas the ‘patua’ rose to the challenge, the ‘jadopatia’ failed – their tradition is in terminal decline.

On the basis of around 160 scroll paintings, mostly from the second half of the twentieth century, this publication illustrates the transition of ‘patua’ art from its original function as a vehicle for oral art to a contemporary, visual form of art. It also commemorates the art of ‘jadopatia’, which is coming to an end.

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