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Artist, Patron, and Public in India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 August 2016

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According to traditional Indian belief and practice every creature has a function (vrata) which he fulfills in the universe. What function did the artist or craftsman fulfill in society, and in that other invisible part of the universe, which he was able to convey by his work to those around him and to posterity?

The distinction often made in the West between artist and craftsman did not affect India. The practitioner of one of the sixty-four recognized branches of art (kala), which provided channels for every possible kind of creative endowment to be trained and employed, fulfilled his calling in the best way possible to him, and thus carried out his universal task.

Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 1956

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1 Śukranītisāra; see Tripāthī, Durgādatta, “The 32 Sciences and the 64 Arts,” Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, XI (1943), 4064 Google Scholar.

2. Īsānašvagurudevapaddhati, Part IV (Trivandrum Sanskrit Series, No. 83 [Trivandrum, 1925]), Ch. xxxiv, 3. 335

3 Epigraphia Indica, XXIV (1937–38), 56 Google Scholar.

4 For a full account of the guilds, see A. K. Coomaraswamy, The Indian Craftsman (London, 1909), passim.

5 Indian Antiquary, IX (1880), 74.

6 Epigraphia Indica, I (Archaeological Survey of India, New Sers., XIII [1892]), 159.

7 Kramrisch, Stella, The Art of India (New York, 1954), PI. 137, p. 211 Google Scholar.

8 Bhandarkar, D. R., “The Kīrtistambha of Rānā Kumbha,” Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, I (1933), 5256 Google Scholar.

9-sthūla-sūkṣma-parā.”-Viṣṇusaṃihitā, (ca. 12th century), Trivandrum Sanskrit Series, No. 85 (Trivandrum, 1925), Ch. xiii.

10 Suttavibhaṅga; Vinaya Piṭaka, III, 36. For further sources see Barua, B. M.: “The Antiquity of Image Worship in India,” Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, XI (1943), 6768 Google Scholar.

The Ṣadviṃśa Brāhmaṇa, X, 5, speaks of laughing, weeping,…opening and closing images of gods.