Silappadikaram, Cilappatikaram, Cilappatikāram, Silappatikaram: 3 definitions


Silappadikaram means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India. 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.

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

[«previous next»] — Silappadikaram in Natyashastra glossary
Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (natya)

Cilappatikāram is the book in Tamil literature that speaks most extensively on dance in ancient times. Kaṭalāṭukkāṭai (chapter on the seashore), Venirkkāṭai (the advent of summer), Vettuvavari (a kind of dance of the hunters of the Kuriñci tract), Ācciyar Kuṟavai (a dance of the cowherdess), Kunṟṟakkuṟavai (a dance of the hill-maidens) are a few of the thirty cantos in Cilappatikāram where information on dance is found. The third canto of Araṅkeṟṟukāṭai in Cilappatikāram vividly describes Madavi’s proficiency in dance, strictly adhering to Nāṭya Nannūl (rules and regulations of dance).

From the references it is clear that around the 2nd century AD, during the time of Cilappatikāram, the eleven dance forms were performed in a vettiyal (a kind of dance performed in the presence of a king). It is also understood that each dance had its own composition of songs; and the songs which synchronized with the dance were limited within its rhythm and systematized according to the musical forms of the dances.

Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing Dramatic plays (nataka), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).

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India history and geography

[«previous next»] — Silappadikaram in India history glossary
Source: South Asian Arts

The Cilappatikāram, by Iḷaṅkō Aṭikaḷ, is in three books, set in the capitals of the three Tamil kingdoms: Pukār (the Cōḻa capital), Maturai (i.e., Madurai, the Pāṇṭiya [Pāṇḍya] capital), and Vañci (the Cēra capital). The story is not about kings but about Kōvalaṉ, a young Pukār merchant, telling of his marriage to the virtuous Kaṇṇaki, his love for the courtesan Mātavi, and his consequent ruin and exile in Maturai, where he dies, unjustly executed when he tries to sell his wife's anklet to a wicked goldsmith who had stolen the Queen's similar anklet and charged Kōvalaṉ with the theft. Kaṇṇaki, the widow, comes running to the city and shows the King her other anklet, breaks it to prove it is not the Queen's—Kaṇṇaki's contains rubies, and the Queen's contains pearls—and thus proves Kōvalaṉ's innocence. Kaṇṇaki tears off one breast and throws it at the kingdom of Maturai, which goes up in flames. Such is the power of a faithful wife. The third book deals with the Cēra king's victorious expedition to the north to bring Himalayan stone for an image of Kaṇṇaki, now become a goddess of chastity (pattii).

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (history)

Cilappatikāram, or “the story of the anklet” is an ancient epic authored by Ilango Adigal and deals with the story of Kovalan, Kannaki and Madavi and represents an important piece of Tamil literature.—Cilappatikāram is one of the earliest Tamil literary works that elaborate on the art of the ancient Tamils. This beautifully rendered book, belonging to the 2nd century AD, is one of the five great epics. Authored by Ilango Adigal, this text is also known as Muttamil-Kāppiyam (a book with iyal, icai and nāṭakam in it). It brings out the essence of icait-tamil, iyal-amil, and nāṭaka-tamil.

By dividing the epic [Cilappatikāram] into three parts, Ilango Adigal attempts to bring the three illustrious dynasties of Tamilnadu into this epic:

  1. Pukārkkāṇṭam (the chapter on the story that took place in the town of Kavirippumpattinam in the Chola country),
  2. Maturaikkāṇṭam (the chapter on the story that took place in the town of Madurai, capital of the Pandyas),
  3. Vañcikkāṇṭam (the chapter on the story that took place in the Chera country),
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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