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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: Narrative and Storytelling in South Asian Art, from Antiquity to Modernity (HIAR10147)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryNarrative and storytelling has been central to South Asian art and expressive culture since antiquity and continues as lived tradition. The course will offer a cross-chronological insight into the form and meaning of narrative using examples from various media (painting, sculpture, architecture, metalwork, textiles) to understand the continuities and changes that have shaped South Asian art as we know it. The subjects range from Buddhist reliefs on relic mounds to Hindu gods carved on temple walls, Sanskrit and Persian epics and tales in illustrated manuscripts to Imperial albums of the Mughal court, nationalist as well as tribal art from the subcontinent. The course will be supported by study sessions in the University of Edinburgh Archives and visits to the collections in the National Museum of Scotland and the Royal Botanical Garden.

Course description This course will look at the methodologies and forms of narrative in the visual arts from ancient, medieval, modern and present-day South Asia. Specific case studies will address how the concept appears within Buddhist art, Hindu temple sculpture, illustrated manuscripts, trade textiles, Mughal albums, popular 'bazaar' art, painted scrolls and tribal works offering an insight into the stories, artistic styles, and iconographic traditions integral to these works. It will consider the use of 'narrativity' as a mode of art historical analysis in South Asia and the problems and opportunities afforded in its use.
This course will introduce key stories connected with religious figures, epics, folk tales and oral histories from the subcontinent. The final component of the course will look at narrative in contemporary South Asian art and museum practice.
Active participation in the seminar will be encouraged through informal presentations and readings of key texts. Early in the process students will be directed to take up independent research on specific artworks which they can feed into their presentations and papers. The course will be supported by visits to the University of Edinburgh archives, National Museum of Scotland and other area collections.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR Architectural History 2a: Order & the City (ARHI08006) AND Architectural History 2b: Culture & the City (ARHI08007)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. On completion of this course, the student will be able to: Demonstrate a good understanding of the styles, concepts and ideas within narrative art from South Asia from antiquity to modernity.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of at least one major South Asian story, its associated narrative art, and its art historical and social significance.
  3. Demonstrate skills for historical, formal and critical analysis of South Asian art, bringing in original research where possible.
  4. Demonstrate an awareness and an understanding of the role of narrative and storytelling in everyday life vs. museum practice.
Reading List
Alpers, Svetlana. 'Describe or Narrate'? A Problem in Realistic Representation in New Literary History vol. 8, no. 1 (1996),pp. 15-41.
Asher, Catherine Ella Blanshard. 'Babur and the Timurid Char Bagh: Use and Meaning.' Environmental Design: Journal of the Islamic Environmental Design Research Centre. (1991), pp. 46-55.
Bailey, Gauvin. 'The End of the 'Catholic Era' in Mughal Painting: Jahangir's Dream Pictures, English Painting, and the Renaissance Frontispiece,' in Marg 53, 2 (December 2001), pp.46-59.
Bartsch, Shadi and Jas Elsner. 'Eight Ways of Looking at an Ekphrasis' Classical Philology
Vol. 102, No. 1 (2007).
Beach, Milo C. 'A volume of homage: A Jain manuscript, 1411' in Asian Art, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 38-56.
Brown, W. Norman. The Vasanta Vilasa, Washington, 1962.
Dehejia, Vidya. 'Aniconism and the Multivalence of Emblems,' in Ars Orientalis 21 (1991), pp. 45-66.
Dehejia, Vidya. 'Narrative Modes in Ajanta Cave 17: A Preliminary Study.' South Asian Studies 7, (1991), pp. 135-147.
Guha-Thakurta, Tapati. 'Orientalism, Nationalism and the Reconstruction of 'Indian' Art in Calcutta,' in Catherine B. Asher and Thomas R. Metcalf, eds. Perceptions of South Asia's Visual Past, American Institute of Indian Studies, Oxford and IBH Publishing, pp.48-66.

Gupta, Narayani. 'Pictorializing the 'Mutiny' of 1857,' in Maria Antonella Pelizzari, ed., Traces of India, (Montréal and New Haven: Canadian Centre for Architecture and Yale Center for British Art, 2004), pp.216-239.

Goldhill, Simon. 'The naive and knowing eye: ecphrasis and the culture of viewing in the Hellenistic world' in Simon Goldhill and Robin Osborne, eds. Art and Text in Ancient Greek Culture,(Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 197-223.

Huntington, Susan. 'Early Buddhist Art and the Theory of Aniconism,' in Art Journal (Winter 1990), pp. 401-408.

Jain, Jyotindra. 'Painted Myths of Creation Art and Ritual of an Indian Tribe', New Delhi, 1984.

Kaimal, Padma. 'Playful Ambiguity and Political Authority in the Large Relief at Mamallapuram,' Ars Orientalis v. 24 (1994) pp. 1-27.

Kapur, Geeta.1989. 'Ravi Varma: Reprsentational Dilemmas of a Nineteenth-Century Indian Painter'. Journal of Arts and Ideas. XVII-XVIII pp. 85-109.

Khandalwala, Karl and Moti Chandra, 'An illustrated Kalpasutra painted at Jaunpur in AD 1465,' Lalit Kala, 12, pp. 9-15.

Leach, Linda York. 'Pages from an Akbarnama,' in The Arts of Mughal India, edited by Rosemary Crill, Susan Stronge, and Andrew Topsfield, pp. 43-55.

Losty, J.P. Ramayana: Love and Valour in India's Great Epic, (British Library, 2008).

Michell, George, The Hindu Temple: an Introduction to Its Meaning and Forms, Harper & Row, 1977.

Nochlin, Linda. 'The Imaginary Orient,' Art in America, May 1983, pp118-131.

Orsini, Francesca and Katherine Butler Schofield, eds. Texts and Tellings: Music, literature and performance in North India. (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2015).

Ramaswamy, Sumathi. "Conceit of the Globe in Mughal Visual Practice." Comparative Studies in Society and History 49, no. 04 (2007): 751-82.

Roxburgh, David. The Persian Album 1400-1600: From Dispersal to Collection (Yale University Press, 2005).

Seyller, John William, W. M. Thackston, Freer Gallery of Art., and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Smithsonian Institution). The Adventures of Hamza: Painting and Storytelling in Mughal India. (Washington, DC London New York: Freer Gallery of Art: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Smithsonian Institution; Azimuth Editions, 2002).

Seyller, John. Workshop and Patron in Mughal India: The Freer Ramayana and Other Illustrated Manuscripts of Abd Al-Rahim. (Zürich, Switzerland; Washington, D.C.: Artibus Asiae Publishers : Museum Rietberg in association with the Freer Gallery of Art Smithsonian Institution, 1999).

Seyller, John. 'Codicological Aspects of the Victoria and Albert Museum Akbarnama and Their Historical Implications.' Art Journal 49 (4), 1990: 379-87.

Stache-Rosen, Valentina. 'Storytelling in Pinguli paintings,' Artibus Asiae, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 253-286.

Tillotson, Giles H.R. "Orientalizing the Raj. Indo-Saracenic Fantasies," in Marg vol.46, pp. 15-34.

Wagner, Peter. 'Ekphrasis, Iconotexts, and Intermediality the State of the Arts(s)' in Wagner, P. ed. Icons, Texts, Iconotexts: Essays on Ekphrasis and Intermediality.(walter de Gruyter, 1996), pp.1-16.

Wright, Elaine Julia, Susan Stronge, and Art Services International. Muraqqa Imperial Mughal Albums from the Chester Beatty Library, (Dublin. Alexandria, Va. Hanover: Art Services International ; Distributed by University Press of New England, 2008).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills To develop sound knowledge and critical appreciation of key objects of South Asian art.
Ability to apply knowledge and develop original approaches for subject specific research.
KeywordsNarrative,Storytelling,Indian art,South Asian art,Buddhist,Hindu,Indo-Islamic
Course organiserDr Yuthika Sharma
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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