The Persistence of Images: Mūrti, Monotheisms, and Museums
1 online resource (102 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Even anciently one finds debate among Indian sources as to whether image-worship is unacceptable, ignorant, tolerable, laudable or ideal as a means of connecting with divinity. Yet it has been ubiquitous in Indian society for thousands of years, though a contested activity whose exact antiquity remains disputed, and which survived in India’s often-syncretistic religious milieu despite indigenous controversy and centuries of Muslim conquest before British colonial forces brought their own doctrinal and mercantile sensibilities to the debate. Although Western critiques encouraged some Indian intellectuals to adopt European categories and assumptions in rejecting image-worship as part of their indigenous heritage, India’s sacred images have persisted. Once denounced as primitive idols, they have been reclaimed both for their sacralizing and aesthetic value, bringing us full-circle to India’s ancient rasa aesthetic which, millennia ago, had first linked aesthetics and divinity and today reminds us that these images have retained a kind of agency despite colonial appropriation.
Robinson, JoanneKaloyanides, Alexandra
Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2018.
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