Ramayana (Poetic Expression on Temple Hanging)

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About the Author

Anamika Pathak, Curator (Decorative Arts), (MA 'Buddhist Studies'; MA `Ancient Indian History, Art and Culture'; Ph.D. 'Mughal Costumes')

In her three decades of curatorial career at National Museum she has curatored many permanent and temporary exhibitions. The recent ones are Decorative Arts Gallery (2013) & an exhibition 'The Art of Calligraphy and Beyond: Arabic and Persian Inscription on Decorative Art objects' (2015). She was deputed by the Government of India as an expert to different countries, hence travelled to many cities abroad with several prestigious exhibitions Nizam's Jewels and 'Alamkara' are named few and had contributed artifacts entries for several exhibition catalogues. She has presented research papers in several National and International seminars and more than three dozen articles have been published on different aspects of art, textiles and decorative arts in leading research journals like Marg, Arts of Asia etc. She has also published few books:- 'Pashmina' (2003) and 'Indian Costumes' (2006); booklets:- ' Indian Textiles' (1996) and 'Indian Decorative Arts' (2013) portfolio:-'Indian Decorative Arts' (2013) for children:- Ram-Hanuman (2016) and 'Calligraphy Exhibition Catalogue' (2016). She has been invited to deliver lectures on various aspects of Indian Traditional Textiles, Decorative Arts, Museology and Preventive Conservation etc. She is closely associated with several academic and cultural institutes.

Foreword

Ramayana, she most popular epic of India has always inspired people to read, analyze and interpret it again and again in various art forms through the ages. Several versions of Ramayana in different languages, temples decorated with scenes from Rama's story, popularity of Ram-leela performed in many parts of the country during Naumann, different types of music and dance forms associated wish Ramayana show its strong influence on people and their cultural life. This influence is also visible in festivals celebrated in temples besides the rathotsava (festival of chariot), which is being celebrated with great pleasure throughout the southern region. Since times immemorial many things were being specially made for different festivals like costumes for Gods, decorating the ambience of the temples, dance and music, etc. To decorate the temples different types of curtains and hangings were made by hand painting, etc. One such hand embroidered temple hanging belonging to mid eighteenth century, depicting she scenes from Ramayana, which is nearly 10 mts long and 2 mts wide is the subject matter of this monograph.

Recently this hanging was displayed in the Nauras exhibition and got attention of the visitors. I am happy to present this publication, "Ramayana: Poetic Expression on Temple Hanging" that I believe will cater to the need of visitor to know more about the story of Rama as told by the embroiderer. I hope it will be useful and enjoyable for both students and general public alike.

I compliment its author Dr. Anamika Pathak, Curator, National Museum, for taking the initiative to explain the temple hanging from thematic and artistic point of view. This monograph has been written in a simple and lucid manner, which will be understood and appreciated by the novice as also the experts. Sh. Sanjib Kumar Singh, Archeologist & Museologist and Head Publication Department deserves our appreciation so bring this book in this manner for public view. Ms. Priya also be appreciated for designing this book.

Introduction

Colorful and vibrant embroidery tradition of South India has M2,17 variations, which are not as popular as the traditional weaving, painting, block printing and applique works of the region: Embroidery, an artistic expression, done with needle and thread on the fabric is considered as one of drama kala (sixty-four arts), mentioned in mcient Indian scriptures.' Vitsyayma mentions Mcivinalcarma, which refers to art of needlework and weaving. The art of embroidery is traditionally taught to yotmg girls by the older ladies in a family. And, as girls grow older, and their embroidery skills became neat and refined, they prepare their own wedding trousseau. Occasionally, large embroidered projects were patronized by royalty and wealthy citizens of the community. Opulent and elegant, beautiful and colorful works of embroidery as part of attire, furnishings and decoration were produced in the royal kark/xinaj (workshops) in accordance to their patron's requirements.: Sometimes, such works were gifted to important state guests. Several embroidered carpets, floor mats and wall screens were commissioned by members of the colonial trading companies, and taken back to their homes as gifts and mementos. Today, many of them are homed in museums of USA, Canada, Japan, Portugal etc.

Dr. Yumika Kamada from Waseda University, Tokyo who has been working on a particular style of embroidered works on hangings, carpets and floor spread done with the silk and metal threads in satin stitch, has recently shown new light in doe field of Deccmi embroideries. On the basis of Japanese archival records and analyzing several examples: Dr. Kamada has concluded that works earlier attributed to Gujarat were actually created around eighteenth century in the Deccan region. This finding has given scholars and enthusiasts an insight about popular trend of embroideries, courtly patronage, demand of such work in domestic and export market in the Deccan area of 18th-19th century CE.

Further, cussing embroidery traditions in the region indicates its glorious past. It is known that traditional embroidery was reinvented and modified as per requirements of the clients. Some styles became very popular, while others remain confined to small communities. There is a need to document these traditions and existing samples from this era and region. This monograph is a detailed study of a unique and rare embroidered temple hanging belonged to a temple in South India, that has been preserved in the collection of National Museum of New Delhi (henceforth, NM). (PI-I) An attempt has been made to list contemporary embroidery traditions of the region also.

End Notes

I. Rao, P.P., Tie-dye weaving in Andhra Pradesh, Indian Institute of Handloorn Technology, Souvenir, 1984, pp.41.50; Vandrajan, L., 'Sand Indian Tradition of ICalamkari, Ahmedabad, National Institute of Design, 1982; Gininger, M., Master Dye's torte World, USA, 1982; Damija, J. 'Kashida, sujani and applique embroidery, Mays, vo1.20, no.1,1966,pp.31.39.

2.1attp://spokerisanalvit.de/

3.Verma, T.,Karkbenat andertheMaghals, Delhi, 1994,p-29.

4. Kameda, Y., The Attribution and Circulation of Flowering Tree and Medallion Design Deccan Embroideries, in Sultan of the South Arts of India's Deccan Cram, 1323.1687, ed., Navina N. Haider and Marika Sardar, USA, 2011, pp-112-147.

**Contents and Sample Pages**