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Santali tribal figure of Kali, for Shiva base - side view

Abstract

Cast bronze with gilding, 20 x 7 inches. Santali refers to tribal groups; sometimes it is used to mean tribes of a certain region, but it is also used generically to reference tribals, that is, indigenous Indian peoples who were never fully assimilated into Hindu India. In this sense, images such as these are relevant to discussions of the caste or varna system of South Asia and the official government policy of reservation for Untouchables, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that formed a part of the Constitution of the Republic of India. This is comparable to what in the US would be called Affirmative Action, but with much more specific initiatives. The notion that there are indigenous peoples of India who are regarded as having inhabited the subcontinent prior to the appearance of the Aryan tribes who brought their Sanskritic traditions can provide provocative possibilities for discussion in a range of disciplines (Religious Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, History, Art History). These are relatively large (Ganesha is over 3 ft. in height; Siva-Kali about 2 feet) and quite handsome pieces which follow more or less standard Hindu iconographic schemes (the Hindu deities Siva, Kali, Ganesha) but in style depart from the styles of sculpture practiced in Hindu states and courts. Thus they lend themselves to discussions of standard Hindu iconography as well as to the nature of tribal traditions in South Asia; they could also generate interesting discussions of 'classical' versus 'tribal' in Asian art: what makes a work 'folk' art (that is, its origin, its makers or patrons, its formal qualities?). And how have these traditions come to intersect and interact in the last century? While these are designated as 19th century they may in fact be more recent in manufacture.

Note

Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only. Acknowledgement to be given to the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian Art in the Undergraduate Curriculum Project and to the college from whose collection the work comes. The individual college retains copyright to the work.

Administrative Notes

Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only. Acknowledgement to be given to the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian Art in the Undergraduate Curriculum Project and to the college from whose collection the work comes. The individual college retains copyright to the work.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Fairfield University
PID
coccc:25105