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Book Code: 9788121213141

Kapila Vatsyayan

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In her continuing quest, re-affirming the vision of India as an organic whole, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan approaches the arts of Kerala both in their distinctive qualities and holistic dimension, which ideally represent the dynamics of Indian cultural processes. This monograph, based on the inaugural Parikshit Memorial Lecture delivered by Dr. Vatsyayan at the Government Sanskrit College, Tripunithura in August 1988, now reprinted, has been commended by many as remarkably rich in the variety of art forms it covers and the directions for future research it offers in the area. Dr. Vatsyayan has had close association with South India, especially Tamil Nadu and Kerala. She has travelled the length and breadth of Kerala, often on foot, studying its art forms and visiting temples. The present volume is a result of this experience. In this exploration, the author dwells on varied topics like the popular myths and the archetypal images of Bhagavati, Shiva and Bhima and their sociological connotations and various forms of oral, ritual and visual arts ranging from paintings, murals and sculptures to the performing arts belonging to the folk and classical traditions. She revisits these art forms, often termed as “little” and “great” traditions, and shows how performing art forms, like Kathakali and Krishnanattam, serve as a bridge between them.


Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan is a renowned art historian and a leading scholar and authority on classical Indian dance, art and culture. For over half a century, she has worked tirelessly to enhance the understanding and appreciation of India's cultural heritage. She has been Secretary, Government of India, Member, UNESCO Executive Board, Member of Rajya Sabha and President, India International Centre. As adviser, administrator and policy maker in the Government of India for fifty years, she initiated many schemes and has been responsible for spearheading policy framework for programmes of art history, education, cultural awareness and Sanskrit, Buddhist and Pali Studies. Today recognized as one of the most important institution-builders in the country, she has been responsible for the establishment of many educational and cultural institutions such as: The Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath (now deemed University – Central University for Tibetan Studies); Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, New Delhi; School of Buddhist Studies, Leh, and many others. She is the conceiver and founder Academic Director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. She has authored about 20 publications, each of which has broken new ground at the theoretical level, including Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts and The Square and the Circle of the Indian Arts. Dr. Vatsyayan holds a post-graduate degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi. She received her Ph.D. in Indology from the Banaras Hindu University. She has been conferred D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) by a number of Indian and foreign Universities. Recipient of several awards and honors, including the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship, Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award, Talia Prize by International Association of Theatre Critics, Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship and Lalit Ratna from Lalit Kala Akademi. She was elected foreign member of the French Academy of Asiatic Studies and Russian Academy of Science. Awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2011.


List of Figures 7 Foreword 9 Introduction 11 Foreword to the First Edition 17 Introduction to the First Edition 19 Editor’s Note to the First Edition 21 The Arts of Kerala Kshetram 25 Glossary 69 Index 81

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