Abhinaya-darpana (English)

by Ananda Coomaraswamy | 1917 | 16,981 words | ISBN-13: 9788121500210

The English translation of the Abhinaya-darpana (“the mirror of gesture”) by Nandikeshvara: an encyclopedic manual of the art of gesticulation. It belongs to a wide range of literature known as Natya-shastra: the ancient Indian art of dramatic performance, theatrics, dance and music. The Abhinaya Darpana is an abridgement of the Bharatarnava, a m...

Chapter 7 - Eighth Glances

The Eight Glances (aṣṭa dṛṣti).—In Bharataśāstra the following eight sorts of Eye or Glance (dṛṣṭi) are mentioned:

  1. Sama,
  2. Ālokita,
  3. Sāci,
  4. Pralokita,
  5. Nimīlita,
  6. Ullokita,
  7. Anuvrtta,
  8. Avalokita.

Sama (level): gazing without winking, like a woman of the gods. Usage: beginning a dance, scales, thinking of some other matter, surprise, the image of a god.

Ālokita (inspecting): swiftly turning with keen glances. Usage: potter’s wheel turning, showing “all sorts of things”, desires.

Sāci (sidelong): looking out of the corners of the eyes, without moving the head. Usage: secret purpose (iṅgita), twirling the moustache (self-confidence), aiming an arrow, hinting, and in Kulaṭa nāṭya.

Pralokita: turning from side to side. Usage: looking at things on both sides, making signs, moving, disordered mind.

Nimīlita (closed): the eyes half-closed, half-open. Usage: appearance of a sage (ṛṣi), subjection to another’s will, prayer (japa), meditation (dhyāna), greeting (namaskṛta), madness, keen insight (sukṣma dṛṣṭi).

Ullokita (looking up): directing the glance keenly up and aside. Usage: the point of a flag, tower (gopura), temple (dev a mandapa), previous lives, height, moonlight.

Anuvṛtta (following): glancing quickly up and down. Usage: angry looks, friendly invitation.

Avalokita (looking down): looking down. Usage: looking at a shadow, reflection (vicāra), bed, study, looking at one’s own body.

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