AIYANAR THE VILLAGE GODS OF SOUTH INDIA

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AIYANAR THE VILLAGE GODS OF SOUTH INDIA
KARAGAM THE VILLAGE GODS OF SOUTH INDIA Shrine stone symbol of Potu Razu Shrine at foot of tree bare stone as symbol Temple of Irulansami; Manalur

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In a letter of November 6 1966, the late Art historian of South Asian art Ms Stella Kramrisch (1896 Nikolsburg (now Mikulov), Czech Republic - 1993 Philadelphia, PA) , at that time Curator of Indian Art of the Philadelphia Museum of Art asked and then obtained some photographs from the late American Artists Mr Harry Holtzman ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Holtzman (1912 NYC - 1987 Lyme Ct) for her scheduled exhibition on traditionally Indian village Art "Unknown India Ritual Art in Tribe and Village"(Philadelphia Museum of Art 1968). (Source: Harry Holtzman paper, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven CT USA).

Ms Stella Kramrisch used this show, her major exhibitions in the United States (1968) to break and explore new and unknown ground, introducing the art world to the Indian folk and tribal artistic traditions she valued as much as India's courtly cultures, thinking that both aristocratic and common art objects were necessary to appreciate a culture's artistic accomplishment.
Still today the main emphasis of indian students is in the direction of literate culture, centered on court and temple. In my opinion in the living experiences of a great part of South Indian population this higher culture has played a secondary role because the cultivators of the soil, for example, have praticed a really different religion, which has few links with the gods and goddesses worshipped in the temple. From an immemorial time the cults of the soil is linked with unseen spirits which haunt groves, roks and ponds. To be clear, it's not a question of general disbeliving in the deities of the higher religion ... of course, sincretism is maybe the best definitin, the higher gods however are followed, but when trouble comes, it's not to these higher gods that the people turn, they turn to the spirit which share their terrestrial environment. The religion of India looks like to involve preminently , using the words of John Irwin "... the notion of an immediate, haunting presence of the supernatural, which does not admit of any straight opposition of good and evil: the spirits can be either good or evil according to the treatment they receive. Hence, worship is not directed with a view to improve prospects of life hereafter; rather it's directed to gain immediate temporal advantage, or to avert the malignity of the spirits..." (the late Mr John Irwin, keeper of Oriental Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and foremost authority on Indian Art, in the mid 70' wrote this texte for the Harry Holtzman photographs exhibition "Village Gods of South India", organized by the Neuberger Museum on the Purchase campus of the State University of New York. )

"I encountered the village gods of South India during my first trip there in the winter of 1957-1958. I was immediately astonished , delighted, amazed, perplexed. Altough I have never had pretense as an Indologist, at that time I thought had a reasonably complete acquaintance with the rich varieties of India's marvels of religious sculptural form and monumental architecture, gleaned from a lifetime of art books and museums..."

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Aiyanar Albert Museum Bhil Bihar Bihar Brass Brahman Carved century a.d. century Asutosh Museum century Crafts Museum century Philadelphia Museum chitrakaras cloth colours on paper deity Delhi demon Durga Early 20th century Earth colours East Pakistan East Pakistan Embroidered elephant Embroidered cotton quilt Equestrian Figurine figures Ganesha Goddess gouache gouache on paper Gujarat Harry Holtzman head Himachal Pradesh Himachal Pradesh Brass Hindu Indian Art Jagannatha Kalighat Kerala Kond Krishna Kulu London magic Maharashtra Maisur mask Mildred and W. G. millennium B.C. Museum of Art Museum of Indian Naga Nagaland Orissa Pakistan Embroidered cotton peacocks Plate quarter 20th century Rajasthan rites ritual Santal Santal Pat section Saurashtra sculpture serpent shape Shiva Society of Oriental Spirit Rider stitches symbols temple temple car Terra-cotta Tradition trees tribal art Tribe University of Calcutta Vishnu W. G. Archer Collection West Bengal