Sei sulla pagina 1di 8

That does not mean, the positions of the dancers have to be copied on

murals or scrolls. What it meant was that the rhythm, fluidity and grace
of the natya have to be transported to painting . The Chitrasutra says it
(natya) guides the hand of the artist, who knows how to paint figures, as
if breathing, as if the wind as blowing,as if the fire as blazing, and as if
the streamers as fluttering. The moving force, the vital breath, the life-
movement (chetana) are to be explicit in order to make the painting
come alive with rhythm and force of expression . The imagination,
observation and the expressive force of rhythm are the essential
features of painting.

The Chitrasutra recognized the value and the significance of the spatial

*.He who paints waves, flames, smoke and streamers fluttering in the
air, according to the movement of the wind, should be considered a
great painter

*.He who knows how to show the difference between a sleeping and a
dead man ; or who can portray the visual gradations of a highland and a
low land is a great artist

3.2. The Shilpa (sculpture) and Chitra (painting) are closely related to
Natya (dance) in other ways too. The rules of the iconography (prathima
lakshana appear to have been derived from the Natya-sastra. The Indian
sculptures are often the frozen versions or representations of the
gestures and poses of dance (caaris and karanas) described in Natya-
sastra. The Shilpa and chitra (just as the Natya) are based on a system
of medians (sutras), measures (maanas), postures of symmetry
(bhangas) and asymmetry (abhanga, dvibhanga and tribhanga); and on
the sthanas (positions of standing, sitting, and reclining). The concept of
perfect symmetry is present in Shilpa and chitra as in Nrittya; and that is
indicated by the term Sama.

3.3. The Natya and Shilpa shastras developed a remarkable approach to

the structure of the human body; and delineated the relation between its
central point (navel), the verticals and horizontals. It then coordinated
them, first with the positions and movements of the principal joints of
neck, pelvis, knees and ankles; and then with the emotive states, the
expressions. Based on these principles, Natya-sastra enumerated many
standing and sitting positions. These, demonstrated the principles of
stasis, balance, repose and perfect symmetry; And, they are of
fundamental importance in Indian arts, say, dance, drama, painting or
sculpture.3.4. Another aspect of the issue is that painting as a two-
dimensional form, can communicate and articulate space, distance, time
and the more complex ideas in way that is easier than in sculpture. That
is because , the inconvenient realities of the three dimensional existence
restrict the fluidity and eloquence of the sculpture. The argument here
appears to be that making
a sculpture is infinitely harder than making a painting

4. Painting in ancient society

4.1. According to Chitrasutra, all works of art including paintings played
an important role in the life of its society. The text mentions about the
presence of paintings as permanent or temporary decorations on walls
of private houses, palaces and of public places. Apart from wall
paintings, the floors of the rich homes and palaces were decorated with
attractive patterns and designs inlaid with precious stones.

4.2. Paintings had relevance in the private lives too.The polite education
of a Nagarika the educated urbane man of town included knowledge
and skill of several arts in addition to erudition in literature, rhetoric,
grammar, philosophy and allied subjects. Painting was rated high
among these vinoda-sthanas - seats of pleasure or hobbies. The
gentleman of leisure and culture painted for pleasure or in
earnestness; but, of course, not for earning a living.

Vatsayana describes the tasteful set up and arrangement in the room of

a typical urban gentleman of pleasure who evinces interest in literature,
dance, music and painting. The articles in his room I would include
a vina hanging from a peg on the wall (naaga-danta vasakta vina), a
painting board (chitra palakam) , a box-full of colors and brushes (vatika
tulika samgraha) , a cup for holding liquid colors casually kept on the
window sill ( alekhya varnaka-paatram) and books of verses(kurantaka

The courtesans too were proficient in fine arts such as music, dance,
painting poetry as also in body-care techniques. Even a calculating
courtesan would madly love a talented painter though impoverished.
Somadevas Katha-sarit-sagara narratesnumber of delightful stories of
such young and impetuous courtesans.

Kautilya deems it a responsibility of the state to support art-masters

that spread knowledge among youngsters.

It is said; Nagarakas, connoisseurs of art, accomplished courtesans,

painters, and sculptors among others studied standard texts on
painting. Such widespread studies naturally brought forth principles of
art criticisms as in alankara-sastra.

Education in fine arts like music, dance and painting was considered
essential for unmarried maidens of affluent families. The ancient stories
are replete with instances of young lovers exchanging paintings as
loving gifts.

Painting chitra kala- was recognized as an essential part of the

curriculum in the upbringing of children of good families.
4.3. While on the subject I may mention that Chitrasutra observes: the
pictures which decorate the homes (including the residential quarters of
the king) should display sringara, hasya and shantha rasa. They should
exude joy, peace and happiness; and brighten up the homes and lives of
its residents. Pictures depicting horror, sorrow and cruelty should never
be displayed at homes where children dwell. For instance the text
mentions the pictures which show a bull with its horns immersed in the
sea; men with ugly features or those fighting or inflicted with sorrow due
to death or injury; as also the pictures of war, burning grounds as being
inauspicious and not suitable for display at homes.
But, the text says, the pictures of all types of depictions and rasas could
be displayed at court-halls, public galleries and temples.

4.4. Icons were generally classified into four categories: painted on the
wall, canvass, paper, wall or pot (chitraja) ; molded in clay or any other
material like sandal paste or rice flour (lepeja, mrinmayi, or paishti); cast
in metal (pakaja, lohaja, dhatuja); and carved in stone, wood or precious
stones (sastrotkirana, sailaja, daaravi or rathnaja).Early icons were made
in clay or carved wood; and such images were painted over.Hallow
figures (sushira) of gods, demons, yakshas, horses, elephants, etc, were
placed on the verandas of houses , on stages and in public squares etc.
as pieces of decoration . Such hallow images were usually made of clay,
cloth, wood or leather .