Exam 3 - Hindu Art in India: Key Terms Flashcards Preview

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What is the siginificance of a Hindu Temple?

Symbolizes Mount Meru, the center of the universe and the home of the gods



A temple tower



The "soul" or life of a temple



Sanctuary or sacred cell of the temple



Pillared assembly hall or porch



Pyramidal assembly hall preceding the shikhara in Northern temples



Pyramidal tower of Southern temples



Conical tower of Northern temples


What is a Lingam (or Linga)?

Where is a Lingam usually housed?

  1. A Lingam (or Linga) is a Sacred Phallus and an aniconic symbol of Shiva.
  2. Lingam are usually housed in the sanctuary of temples dedicated to Shiva


What is Darshan?


Where does Darshan usually take place or happen?

The devotee's experience of encountering the sacred image or symbol of the deity in the Garbhagriha. The experience of union with god; the worshipper "sees" god and vice versa.


What is a Puja?

Puja is ritual worship in a temple or shrine based on offerings presented to the god, also known as Bhakti


What is Bhakti?

Bhakti is personal devotion and love  that is offered to a god


 What is Avatara?

Avatara is the incarnation or descent of a god to earth as a salvational act


Who/What is Brahman?

Brahman is the supreme being and force of the universe known as the "world soul"


What is Moksha?

How is Moksha achieved?

  1. Moksha is spiritual liberation from Samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth
  2. Moksha is achieved through good moral behavior and Bhakti (love and devotion to god)


What is Multiplicity?


How is Multiplicity expressed in  Hindu art?



  1. Multiplicity is the ability of gods to have many cosmic powers and manifestations; multiple aspects of the same deity.
  2. Multiplicity is expressed in art through multi-headed, multi-armed, hybrid figural images


Major Themes and Characteristics of Hindu Art (6)

  1. Attempt to recreate the cosmos on a small scale
  2. Stories that relate to creating and preserving the universe
  3. Identification of gods using multiple features: cosmic attributes held in their hands, animal vehicles (Vahanas), colors, adornments, mudras
  4. Sensuality co-exists with the spiritual and is an expression of the spiritual, expressed in both subjects and styles of Hindu art
  5. Appreciation for nature; sensitive depiction of plant and animal life as reflective of the benevolent, generative powers of nature
  6. Emphasis on masterful, imaginative narration in art, especially in epic tales and legends of the gods


Typical Features of the Hindu figural style

  1. Use of mudras (symbolic gestures)
  2. Multiple arms which hold attributes of the god (multiplicity)
  3. Multiple heads which portray different manifestations of the god's being (multiplicity)
  4. Emphasis on undulating movement, plasticity, expansiveness, and fulness of form that reflects prana (vital breath)


What is a Yakshi?

Female nature/earth spirits associated with fertility


What is a Mithuna?

An amorous couple, reflects dynamic harmony between male and female principles of the cosmos. Often found on temple murals


What is a Shakti?

The female force or principle which energizes the male principle; a manifestation of the Great Goddess Devi. Often personified as the wife/consort of a male god such as Shiva and Parvati or Vishnu and Lakshimi