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The Universal Spirit of Islam: Keys for Interfaith Understanding
Quranic perspective on the nature of man: Video clips of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
Every Branch In Me: Who are we as "human" beings?
Paul Goble's World: Native Americans' relationship to all created beings
Treasures of the World's Religions
Insights into the early Christian Desert Fathers and Mothers
What are the "Foundations of Christian Art?"
The Sacred Worlds Series
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A Definition of the Perennial Philosophy
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  What is Sacred Art ? Back to the List of Slideshows

Shiva Natarâjâ ("Lord of the Dance")

Here we see the use of the craft of sculpture, a static art, to capture the essence of ritual dance, the most dynamic of arts and the first of the figurative arts since, as Burckhardt says in Sacred Art in East and West, dance "works with man himself" as the medium.

    

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Our first task is, in fact, to see sacred art in the most ancient, primordial way, one that will seem strange to those of us accustomed to viewing art through the confusing lens of modern "standards" that are rigidly fixed only on serving individualistic expression. This is a universe apart from how we must approach an appreciation of sacred art.

Let's start with the words of the great savant of traditional art, Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy:
“The language of traditional art—scripture, epic, folklore, ritual, and all the related crafts—is symbolic; and being a language of natural symbols, neither of private invention, nor established by conciliar agreement or mere custom, is a universal language.
And:
it must be recognized that although in modern works of art there may be nothing, or nothing more than the artist’s private person, behind the aesthetic surfaces, the theory in accordance with which works of traditional art were produced and enjoyed takes it for granted that the appeal to beauty is not merely to the senses, but through the senses to the intellect.
So, sacred art, which is the height of traditional art, has as its central content symbols that are perceived by and enliven the human intellect.
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