Vishnudharmottara Purana (Art and Architecture)

by Bhagyashree Sarma | 2021 | 59,457 words

This page relates ‘The Vishnudharmottara-purana and the Indian Classical Dances’ of the study on the elements of Art and Architecture according to the Vishnudharmottara Purana: an ancient text whose third book deals with various artisan themes such as Architecture, Painting, Dance, Grammar, etc. Many chapters are devoted to Hindu Temple architecture and the iconography of Deities and their installation rites and ceremonies.

2. The Viṣṇudharmottara-purāṇa and the Indian Classical Dances

There are eight kinds of classical dance form of India recognised by Sangeet Natak Academy. These are-Bharatanāṭyam, Kathak, Kucipuḍī, Oḍisī, Kathakalī, Satrīyā, Manipuri and Mohinīyaṭṭam. The classical dance forms of India have numerous elements through which a performer presents a particular dance form properly. In every classical dance form of India the hand gestures, postures, foot works, expressions etc, are very important for projecting a concept through Dance. All these elements are elaborately discussed in the Nāṭyaśāstra, the Abhinayadarpaṇa and the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa as well. It is important to specify that all these treatises are almost similar in their views broadly, though the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa seems to have different opinions sometimes.

The hastamudrās or hastas i.e. hand gestures play an important role in every classical dance form of India. Actually the classical dance forms viz. Bharatanāṭyam, Kathak, Kucipuḍī, Oḍisī are fully based on the Abhinayadarpaṇa which has resemblances with the Nāṭyaśāstra. On the other hand in Satrīyā form of Dance, the Dancers follow the Śrīhastamuktavalī which also follows the Nāṭyaśāstra. So, these Dance forms i.e. Bharatanāṭyam, Kathak, Kucipuḍī, Oḍisī and Satrīyā almost have similarities in projecting the hand gestures. On the other hand the Dance forms like Kathakalī and Mohinīyaṭṭam derives their hand gestures from the text of Hastalakṣaṇadīpikā and Manipuri Dance form has its own dancing gestures and postures. Though in Mohinīyaṭṭam and Kathakalī, the names of some hand gestures viz., patāka, śukatuṇḍa, kartarimukha, śikhara etc. are similar as that of the hand gestures found in the Bharatanāṭyam etc., the executions of these hand gestures are totally different.[1] So, some differences can be noticed among these dance forms. The Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa is greatly influenced by the Nāṭyaśāstra and that is why the influence of this work can be seen on some of the classical Dance forms of India. The gestures and postures of Dance as found in the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa as almost same with the Classical Dance forms viz. Bharatanāṭyam, Kathak, Kucipuḍī, Oḍisī and Satrīyā. The similarities and the differences between the hand postures of Indian classical dances such as Bharatanāṭyam, Kathak, Kucipuḍī, Oḍisī and Satrīyā and those of the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa are shown here.[2]

Figures: Patāka, Tripatāka, Arāla, Śukatuṇḍa, Muṣṭi, Śīkhara, Sūcī, Uragaśīrṣa, Mṛgaśīrṣa, Kolapadma / Alapadma, Catura, Bhramara, Haṃsapakṣa,Mukula

Figure: Single hand gestures of the Classical Dance forms such as Bharatanāṭyam, Kathak, Kucipuḍī, Oḍisī and Satrīyā of India which do not resemble with the views of Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa have been shown here with pictorial depiction[3]

Figures:
Kartarīmukha in Classical Dances;
Kartarīmukha in the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa;
Ardhacandra in Classical Dances;
Ardhacandra in the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa;
Kapittha in Classical Dances;
Kapittha in the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa;
Khaṭakāmukha in Classical Dances;
Khaṭakāmukha in the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa;
Padmakośa in Classical Dances;
Padmakośa in the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa

Figure: Combined Hand Gestures in Classical dances viz. Bharatanāṭyam, Kathak, Kucipuḍī, Oḍisī and Satrīyā of India resemble with the views of Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa in many ways which are shown here through pictures[4]

Figures: Añjali Kapota; Karkaṭa Svastika; Dolā Puṣpapuṭa

Figure: Standing postures in Classical dances of India resemble with the views of Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa have been shown here.

Figures: Vaiṣṇava in Kucipuḍī[5] ;
Samapāda
in Bharatanāṭyam[6] ;
Maṇḍala in Oḍisī[7] ;
Maṇḍala
in Mohinīyaṭṭam[8] ;
Āliḍha in Kathak[9] ;
Āliḍha in Bharatanāṭyam[10] ;
Pratyāliḍha in Kucipuḍī Dance[11] ;
Pratyāliḍha or Śara Variṣaṇa pada sthiti[12] in Satrīyā Dance[13]

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

https://youtu.be/RcFAm05ICR0

[2]:

Pictures are taken by myself. Date: 16.09.2021

[3]:

Pictures are taken by myself. Date: 16.09.2021

[4]:

Pictures are taken by Myself. In Frame: Shrestha Deka, Date: 16.09.2021

[5]:

Source: Google, Dancer: Amrita Lahiri

[6]:

Picture is taken by Myself, Dancer: Srestha Deka, Date: 16.09.2021

[7]:

Source: Google, Dancer: Aloka Panikar, Picture Credit: Mohan Khokar, Courtesy: Aloka Panikar.

[8]:

Source: Google, Photo Credit: Sakari Viika.

[9]:

Source: Google, Article: Masculine energy and feminine charm in the Dancing couple’s Kathak at Saptak Posted by: Dr. S.D. Desai, Photo credit: Esplanade.com

[10]:

Picture is taken by Myself, Dancer: Srestha Deka, Date: 16.09.2021

[11]:

Source: Google, Dancers: Mihira Pathuri, Pooja Reddy. Photo Credit: Jean, Pierre Dalbera, Paris, France.

[12]:

Karuna Bara, Satrīyā Nṛtyar Rūp Darśan, p.66

[13]:

Source: Google, Dancer: Meenakshi Medhi, Picture Credit: Avinash Pasricha, Date: 05.01.2019

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