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Volume 3 Number 1, January 1949

Volume 3 Number 1

Renaissance or Revival? (Editorial)

Ceylon’s First University

Indian Miniatures in the Berlin Museum
E. Kuehnel

Figured Fabrics of Old Bengal
Ajit Ghose

Mediaeval Sinhala Wrestling (Sculpture)
R.E.R. Deraniyagala

Photography in India and the Far East
Sam Tata

Proposed Academy of Arts

Book Reviews

Exhibition Notes

Renaissance or Revival [Editorial]
Vol. 3 No. 1, January 1949, pp. 4-11
This is a critique of the book "Magadha Architecture and Culture" by Sris Chandra Chatterjee. Rejecting Chatterjee's concept of revival or resuscitation of past traditions, a proper understanding of Indian renaissance is advocated through an appreciation of the spirituality and creativity of ancient culture, and a reorientation of such ancient ideals to new conditions. Rather than blind imitation of the past, the new Indian "style" should draw its inspiration from conditions of life, tradition, and outside influences. It is this movement for an Indian renaissance in architecture that will lead to originality.
Architecture: Ceylon's First University
Vol. 3 No. 1, January 1949, pp. 12-19

The plan of the university at Peradeniya designed by Professor Sir Atria Aber and associates, is elaborated, with notes on the site, layout, main buildings, building material, facilities for accommodation and recreation, and landscaping. However, the introductory note is critical of the fact that motifs have been borrowed from the past, thus stifling the spirit of today.

Indian Miniatures in the Berlin Museum
Kuehnel, E.
Vol. 3 No. 1, January 1949, pp. 20-37
16 miniatures of the Mughal period are illustrated with critical notes. The art of miniature painting became independent of the Persian style under Akbar, and technical perfection was achieved under Jahangir. The pictures form pictorial documents of the period; the careful study of nature and the reproduction of actual impressions give them their characteristic quality. In representing form rather than the abstract and ornament, these portrayals diverged from the Muslim aesthetic orientation. The influence of Hindu masters, contact with European painting, the concept of albums of paintings, painters' training and technique, and the themes portrayed are also discussed. In the 17th century, with a decline in court patronage, artists returned to popular religious and romantic themes. The last golden ages of Mughal painting produced the Ragmala paintings.
Figured Fabrics of Old Bengal
Ghose, Ajit
Vol. 3 No. 1, January 1949, pp. 38-43, 62
Pointing out the characteristic love of robes ornamented with floral or abstract design through various civilizations, the writer focuses upon the woven figured fabrics of Dhaka and Baluchar, and the difference in subjects, treatment, and technique between these two traditions. The design, composition, origin, and classification of the Baluchar Butidar saris, the motifs and weaving process of figured saris of Dhaka and the possible influence of kantha embroidery find particular mention. The writer concludes that both Baluchar and Dhaka saris are typical indigenous products of old Bengal, not inspired by weavers of any other part of India.
Mediaeval Sinhala Wrestling
Deraniyagala, P.E.P.
Vol. 3 No. 1, January 1949, pp. 44-45
The antiquity of the science of wrestling in Ceylon is demonstrated by the numerous fresco and ancient sculptures on the subject. A few verses reveal the practice of this art with royal sanction, and the rules and rituals associated with it.
Photography in India and the Far East
Tata, Sam
Vol. 3 No. 1, January 1949, pp. 46-55
The article reflects on trends in the development of photography as a creative art in India, China, and Japan. Whereas Western photography influenced all three countries, Chinese and Japanese photographers preserved their inherent culture and tradition in their work; the work of Indian photographers, though effective, was imitative of the West. Examples are discussed. Younger photographers have been influenced by the documentary film to be alive to the reality around them.
Proposed Academy of Arts
Vol. 3 No. 1, January 1949, p. 57
The Academy of Arts is expected to be only a parallel organization to the existing All India Association of Fine Arts with identical objectives and functions. The government is therefore advised to negotiate with the Association prior to formation of the Academy, and to recognize the Association. It could substitute for the proposed Academy; thereby curtailing expenses.
Book Reviews
Vol. 3 No. 1, January 1949, pp. 59-60

From Sickert to 1948 assesses the output of the Contemporary Art Society of England, with a commentary by John Russell; the Hebbar Album is reviewed by Karl Khandalavala; Books received.

Exhibition Notes
Gandhy, Kekoo
Vol. 3 No. 1, January 1949, p. 61
Art shows in Bombay and Calcutta, including the Diamond Jubilee of the Bombay Art Society.