Impulse to adorn

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 18 18:19:32 UTC 1998

John Napier wrote:
The recent discussion of Siva's earrings prompts me to ask a question.

In "The Wonder that was India" Basham writes of Indian plastic arts
 that they exhibit "horror vacuii" or "fear of blank spaces". Of
course, this is a rather perjorative way of putting it.

I seek a parallel Indian aesthetic term for the impulse to ornament,
or the desirability of alamkar. If any body can point me to a source,
 I would be most grateful.

Tamil has 'aNital' - to adorn;
aNikalan - jewellery.
Also, 'aNi' is the term used in Tamil grammatical treatises on

Pl. see:
1) The impulse to adorn: studies in traditional Indian architecture,
Marg, 34, 4, 1982
2) Nirad C. Chaudhuri,
Culture in the vanity bag, being an essay on clothing and
adornment in passing and abiding India, Jaico, 1976
3) Kamala Dongerkery, Jewelry and personal adornment in
India, ICCR, Delhi, 1970
4) Alamkara: 5000 years of Indian art,
Exhibition at National museum, Singapore, 1994 (Mapin publishers)

N. Ganesan

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