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Flavours of the Arts
From Mughal India to BollywoodCollectif sous la direction de Laurent Aubert, MEG
With its prodigious range of art forms, India fascinates and often disconcerts people who try to pierce its mysteries. This pertinently illustrated book focuses on the close relationship between music, painting and film in northern India.
Classical India produced many treatises on aesthetics, expounding or commenting on the theory of the nine flavours (nava rasa), the emotions inherent in all forms of artistic expression. It was the court artists and musicians of the Mughal Empire from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries who developed the most refined applications of this theory, as is shown by the miniatures and musical instruments presented in the first part of this catalogue.
Are there equivalents to be found in contemporary Indian art and music, in both rural and urban environments? How do village artists in West Bengal see these «classical» models, when they reinterpret the great myths of the past in their paintings or tell those of the modern world in their own fashion? And what debt do the famous Bollywood film productions owe to the ancient theory of the rasa?
These questions are part of a fundamental anthropological exploration of cultural identity and the way relationships are constructed between art and society, tradition and modernity, in all countries and in all periods. Rich and varied in its scope, this intriguing book invites readers to taste the many flavours of Indian arts.
Exposition du 27 mai 2011 au 18 mars 2012 au Musée d’ethnographie de Genève, MEG (Conches).