Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
“The purpose of art is washing off the dust of daily life off our souls” – Pablo Picasso
Welcome to the Art Blog by Wovensouls.
[In case you are looking for The Wovensouls Shop – wovensouls.com click here.]
Join me as I explore
the timeless traditional arts
created by the vanishing cultures of Asia.
This blog is a collection of
experiences presented through notes & photos
of people, their lifestyles & their artworks.
All notes are exploratory in nature as I uncover layer after layer
of different artworks that represent the infinitely diverse antique arts of Asia.
Join me as I experience awe of the aesthetics,
the fascination for the symbolism and
then finally the sense of understanding of the
cultural paradigm that gave birth to the art.
For, the arts of Asia are rarely ever ‘art for art’s sake’
– they always always mean something.
Through this blog, I share my notes
my future self.
ABOUT MY PERSPECTIVE
My notes are presented as a kaleidoscope of glimpses of some of the cultures of Asia.
Each tribe, each ethnicity expresses its identity in various ways – music, dance, textiles, costumes, food, language, life format etc and it is impossible for an individual to capture the complete essence of any tribe – either one’s own or another’s.
But it is possible to experience some glimpses of these. In my notes I have tried to transmit these experiences and the awe I feel for them – maybe these notes can act as doorways for further personal exploration by the reader.
Sometimes the customs and traditions are so different from the ones I have been exposed to until now, that it is hard not to be alarmed and to remain nonjudgemental. But the only way to view any custom is to see it as a part of the complete picture, within the paradigm that has given birth to the custom. It is only then that the view is fair.
Every society has its reasons for doing what they do. The set of rules that have evolved have withstood the test of inter-generational transmission. Therefore they are always internally consistent within the system and provide answers to all of the issues faced by that particular society. When viewed from outside, a traveller usually only gets a limited view and she sees a single custom / tradition without seeing all the evolutionary factors and the paradigm within which this is perfectly valid. Given that this is merely a slice of the whole life model, which is quite likely to be different from her own, this view is likely to cause the viewer some dissonance and sometimes result in an imbalanced judgement.
Of course it is not only the limitedness of the view that causes this bias. Sometimes the close-mindedness of the viewer also contributes to this.
It has taken me many journeys into the lives and minds of others to realise that unless the context is known and empathised with, the judgement is unfair and therefore invalid.
I try to make a deliberate effort to ‘understand’ and ’empathise’ instead of judging.
It is in that spirit that I have written my articles. My respect for their lives is total (and unconditional) even though my information about their paradigm is not.
All the articles on this site have been written ‘Swantah Sukhayah’ – a word in Sanskrit for ‘self-fulfillment’. If they also please the reader then that is a bonus!
“Is it true Prince that you once said that Beauty would save the world?”
— Dostoevsky in ‘The Idiot’
MENSA member, MBA
writing from singapore, goa, bombay or anywhere in Asia
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By Jaina Mishra