Rare 17th-Century Indian Paintings That Look Like 20th-Century Western Art
Posted: Dec 10, 2011
(From brainpickings.org thanks to Randall Dunn for the tip on this)
Tantra Song: Rare 17th-Century Indian Paintings That Look Like 20th-Century Western Art
by Maria Popova
We’ve previously explored some fragments of the spectrum of art inspired by the Hindu tradition, from beautiful artisanal artwork based on Indian mythology to Meena women’s Mandana public art to a Pixar animator’s playfully stylized, Westernizedtakes on Hindu deities. Now, from the fine folks at Siglio, who brought us the lovelyEverything Sings, comes Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan — a striking collection of rare, abstract Tantric paintings based on 17th-century illustrations from Indian religious texts that bridge Eastern spirituality with Western 20th-century art in their haunting reminiscence of the likes of Paul Klee, Agnes Martin, and Daniel Buren.
The images were discovered by French poet Franck André Jamme in 1970 while rummaging through the catalogs of a Parisian art gallery. He became so transfixed by these esoteric artworks that in the 1980s, he traveled to India to find their origins. In 1985, his quest nearly killed him in a bus accident whilst on the Tantric trail across the deserts of Rajasthan. He suffered a series of comas, spent three weeks in a Parisian hospital and six months at home in a hospital bed, and found his mind as broken as his body, unable to live with the memory of what he considered a painful failure. After a long and painful recovery, his obsession with the artworks led him back to India, where he earned the trust oftantrikas — the authentic practitioners of the Tantric tradition — and set out to better understand their meditative art form.
Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan
Franck Andre Jamme, Lawrence Rinder, Michael TweedSiglio PressISBN-13: 978-0979956270