Arts Visual Arts
20 Nov 2023
Created by western India’s nomadic Vaghri community, mata ni pachedi is a tradition of cloth painting dating back 300 years. Originally meant as canopies for shrines and as objects of ritual worship, these textiles depict a pantheon of local goddesses surrounded by regional motifs. Read on to understand how printing, painting and cloth come together in religious consumerism.
06 Nov 2023
Since the 3rd century CE, master puppeteers of southern India have brought the epics of the subcontinent to life through Tholu Bommalata, a form of shadow puppetry performed with elaborate, life-sized leather puppets. Come discover this intricate musical theatre tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation and continues to thrive to this day.
20 Oct 2023
The Cholamandal Artists' Village was established in 1966 to encourage self-sufficiency, community living and the creation of a South Indian visual identity. Since then, it has undergone a transformative journey. Discover its history and achievements.
09 Oct 2023
Between the seventh and ninth centuries, south peninsular India experienced a cultural renaissance, resulting from the extensive patronage of a powerful dynasty, the Pallavas. Discover their unique contributions to the arts and literature of the time, which led to the creation of a new, Dravidian idiom of temple architecture in South Asia.
24 Sep 2023
Amidst the political tumult of nineteenth-century colonial India, Abanindranath Tagore — an artist from Bengal — set out to invent a new ‘Indian’ visual language, rejecting European artistic ideals. He pioneered a style that combined themes from mythology, history, and rural life, with elements from India’s miniature painting traditions. This would evolve into the Bengal School — a movement that reimagined a distinctly Indian approach to art. Tagore influenced an entire generation of artists and left a lasting impact on the quest for Indian identity during the struggle for Independence.
11 Sep 2023
In the mid-sixteenth century, Mughal emperor Humayun brought two Persian master painters to India, who not only established an imperial atelier but also began a major tradition of miniature painting in South Asia — Mughal manuscript paintings. This painting tradition flourished for centuries, enjoying royal patronage and resulted in the illustration of significant literary texts, scriptures, biographies, dynastic histories and scientific literature. Known for their naturalism and intricacy, Mughal paintings also combined a range of influences — Persian, Indian and European — and were often made collaboratively by artists and other specialists in the imperial ateliers, known as kitabkhanas. Discover the legacy and lasting influence of this painting tradition and its eventual decline in the late eighteenth century.
28 Aug 2023
Traditionally woven in Gujarat, India, mashru — meaning ‘lawful’ or ‘permitted’ in Arabic — was invented to allow Muslims to wear silk garments despite injunctions against it in the Hadith, an important Islamic religious text offering teachings and moral guidance. The fabric’s innovative weaving technique, where each silk warp crosses six cotton wefts, keeps silk from touching the body when worn. Whilst the earliest visual references to mashru date back to the seventeenth-century in the Deccan region of southern India, the fabric has lived many lives, gaining popularity amongst Islamic populations in India, West Asia and Africa as it was traded along Indian Ocean maritime routes.
14 Aug 2023
In the early seventeenth century, a new painting tradition — characterised by its use of bold colours, gilding and gem-setting — emerged in the Thanjavur region of southern India. While Thanjavur paintings originally featured gods and saints, the tradition grew to incorporate secular subjects owing to a range of influences over the next several centuries, including Mughal, Maratha, and European art. Thanjavur paintings continue to be popular as memorabilia and worship objects, and are one the most recognisable South Indian painting styles today.
04 Jun 2023
Beginning in the fifteenth century, until the nineteenth century, artists turned to classical music for inspiration, combining painting, allegory and music to create a genre known as Ragamala painting. Ragas — melodic frameworks central to Indian classical music — date back to nearly the fifth century, and each major raga is meant to evoke a particular mood or atmosphere, a season and a time of day. Ragamala paintings are distinctive for their nuanced depiction of emotions through environmental metaphors and imagery that often includes a hero or a heroine or both.
23 Apr 2023
Born out of the changing society of nineteenth-century Calcutta, Kalighat painting was a popular medium among the patuas (painters) who worked in the vicinity of the Kalighat temple. Though these paintings were originally intended to be souvenirs for devotees visiting the temple and featured primarily Hindu imagery, they expanded over time to include other religious traditions as well as socio-political commentary.
26 Feb 2023
Ajanta Murals represent some of India's earliest and most significant examples of cave painting. Spanning from the second and first centuries BCE to the late fifth CE, they narrate stories of the Buddha through his life as various bodhisattvas. Read on to discover the iconography, style and history of Ajanta Murals.
15 Jan 2023
Believed to have been built in 250 BCE to commemorate the occasion of the Buddha's first sermon in Sarnath, the lion capital is the most elaborately carved surviving capital made under the patronage of the Mauryan king Ashoka.
19 Dec 2022
Often used by devotees as a meditation tool, Mandalas are symmetrical circular forms that typically comprise a central deity surrounded by motifs and symbols.
08 Sep 2022
Thangka is a devotional scroll-painting tradition, emerging from seventh-century Nepal, in which images of Buddhist deities are painted on scrolls to gain divine merit and to serve as visual aids for teaching and meditating.
28 Aug 2022
Commissioned between 1815-1820, the Fraser Album is considered a defining work of the Company School of painting depicting the people of India.
14 Aug 2022
A genre of sculpture developed in the northwest region of the ancient Indian subcontinent in the form of reliefs and freestanding work as expressions of the Buddhist faith.
31 Jul 2022
The history of extracting chay root dye — a natural red colourant — from the chay plant (Oldenlandia umbellata) dates back to at least the seventeenth century. Read on to know more about the relevance of the dye in the textile dyeing practices of southern India.
03 Nov 2020
South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has unveiled the second residency project, dedicated to blending art and science, has been conducted at the Science Cabin 215 of UNIST.
03 Nov 2020
South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has unveiled the first residency project, dedicated to blending art and science, has been conducted at the Science Cabin 215 of UNIST.
15 Oct 2020 to 25 Oct 2020
The Science Walden Center of South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), in collaboration with Artist Jieun Gu exhibited an art work, along the Taehwa River in Ulsan, S. Korea.
10 Sep 2019
South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology is delighted to announce the HFE Labs’ Demonstration Day is scheduled to be held on September 10, 2019.
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Giants in history
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