Shilpashastra, aka: Śilpaśāstra, Shilpa-shastra; 8 Definition(s)


Shilpashastra means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Śilpaśāstra can be transliterated into English as Silpasastra or Shilpashastra, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Vastushastra (architecture)

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Shilpa Shastra deals with sculpture – forms, statues, icons, stone murals etc.

Source: The India Center: Architecture (Vastu Shastra)
Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

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Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र) refers to the “science of architecture” and represents one of the nine divisions of the Paurūṣeya classification of Śāstra knowledge; all part of the ancient Indian education system, which aimed at both the inner and the outer dimension of a person.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Education: Systems & Practices
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

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Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र).—The śilpa-śāstra texts of art and architecture deal with the art of mural and miniature painting and also paintings executed on wood and cloth. The most comprehensive text is the Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa, which deals with the interdependence of dance, music and the visual arts. It is one of the eighteen Upapura6as.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Painting: A Survey

Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र).—The śāstras that deal with the śilpa are the śilpaśāstras. Śilpaśāstra is the science of architecture. It also includes vāstu-vidya or architecture applied to the construction of houses, fields, buildings of any kind (setu-bandha). The origin of this science has been attributed to Viśvakarma, the divine architect of gods. The śilpaśāstra deals with the rules of the construction of palaces, images, parks, houses and similar works. This science is fully treated in works like the Mānasara, Brāhmiya, and Manusara.

The important texts that give information on the science of architecture and figures (śilpaśāstra) are Māyamatam, Visvakarmeyam, Mānasaram, Kasyapam, Manusaram, Indiramatam, Saraswateeyam, Brahmeeyam, Śilparatna, Sakaladikaram, Ciṟpa Cennūl, and Viṣṇudharmottara.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

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A category of Sanskrit texts, or manuals, dealing with such arts/crafts (śilpas) as iconography, and the production of paintings and sculptures, particularly of temple mūrtis. More broadly it also covers aesthetics, planning and architecture, although the latter is also dealt with in Vāstuśāstra, resulting in no clear boundary between the two types of text. Śilpaśāstras have been produced from at least as early as the Gupta period (c.320 ce–c.6th century ce), reflecting diverse traditions across the subcontinent. Influential works of this kind include the Aparājitapṛcchā (western India), the Mayaśāstra (southern), the Tantrasamuccaya (southwestern), and the pan-Indian Mayamata. Produced by brahmins rather than craftsmen, they appear more concerned with theory and tradition—the symbolic meaning and ritual significance of the buildings and their contents—than with practical considerations and particular blueprints.

Source: Oxford Reference: A Dictionary of Hinduism

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

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śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र).—n (S) A treatise on mechanics or any handicraft.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र).—n A treatise on mechanics

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Shilpashastra in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र).—

1) a book on any art, fine or mechanical.

2) mechanics.

Derivable forms: śilpaśāstram (शिल्पशास्त्रम्).

Śilpaśāstra is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms śilpa and śāstra (शास्त्र).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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