192 Chapters
Medium 9780253013064

4 • Gyapagpa Temple’s Painting Style and Its Antecedents

Melissa R. Kerin Indiana University Press ePub

Based on the insights of the last two chapters it is clear that the Gyapagpa Temple’s sixteenth-century painting program was the result of a vital ’Bri gung (Drigung) resurgence that affected much of the western Himalayan region during the late medieval period. Given this temple’s significant role in piecing together the region’s religious history, a lingering question must be raised: How could this valuable historic document have gone underanalyzed for so long? The answer to this question is enmeshed within at least two interconnected issues regarding trends in South Asian, and specifically Tibetan, art historical scholarship. As for the first of these two issues, there has generally been a tendency to document, analyze, and publish Tibetan art from earlier rather than later periods. Much of Tibetan art history has focused on earlier material of the eleventh through fourteenth centuries.1 Indeed, this is the case with the late sixteenth-century paintings at the Gyapagpa Temple, which were overshadowed by neighboring eleventh- and twelfth-century painting programs, both in the compound and in surrounding villages, such as Tabo. Antiquity was not always the deciding factor, however. It would seem that issues of connoisseurship also came into play when scholars neglected Gyapagpa’s paintings. Likely, its now faded paintings with limited modeling and sometimes clumsily executed lines inspired scholars to look at other sites, with similarly dated murals, such as at the religious and political centers of Tabo, Tholing, and Tsaparang.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253013064

3 • Mapping Drigung Activity at Nako and in the Western Himalaya

Melissa R. Kerin Indiana University Press ePub

The task of tracing Nako’s ’Bri gung (Drigung) religious history has been a challenging one in large part because there is no documented religious history for Nako and no known inscriptions that provide substantive political and religious information. Given the paucity of such textual and inscriptional information at Nako, the artistic remains become that much more crucial in piecing together Nako’s devotional history. Although research on Nako’s early painting programs of circa twelfth century have been studied and published, the material of the late medieval period has been neglected. This body of work, and in particular the Gyapagpa sixteenth-century painting program, is of crucial significance in piecing together what has otherwise remained an opaque religious history for Nako and the surrounding region of Kinnaur.

As the last chapter established, the murals at Nako’s Gyapagpa Temple unequivocally align the temple with the Drigung community of the larger Bka’ brgyud (Kagyu) tradition. One of the most revealing pieces of information from this temple’s iconographic program was the six-person lineage painted on three of its four walls. While this has been useful in establishing the temple’s sixteenth-century religious affiliation, many other questions linger. For instance, who are these lineage members and what lineage, exactly, is being referenced? A survey of various texts listing Drigung abbot lineages has not yielded correspondences with the particular combination of names, or partial names, depicted in Gyapagpa Temple.1 Furthermore, I have consulted several scholars of West Tibetan and Drigung history from India and Tibet, but none has been able to identify the lineage depicted.2 The inability to identify this six-member group as part of an established and recognized Drigung lineage raises the possibility that Nako’s grouping represents a lesser known and little documented—Drigung lineage, specific to this area of Kinnaur. That there are no other temples in the region with Drigung iconography makes it impossible to verify that what we see at Nako is, in fact, a local lineage.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253007414

13. Work and Workshop: The Iteration of Style and Genre in Two Workshop Settings, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon

Edited by Sidney Littlefield Kasfir and Indiana University Press ePub

Till Förster

Workshops offer a unique occasion to observe and document how cultural knowledge on art is reproduced. They bring masters and apprentices, teachers and pupils, and also artists of the same status together—and, thus, provide opportunities to learn from each other, to develop a shared style, or to distinguish the members as a group from other artists. Even within one society, workshops as a setting of learning and exchange often differ significantly and lead, through their different organization and the modes of communication that this organization fosters, to more or less homogeneity in the artistic expression of the member artists. By the same means, workshops may become visible as groups or as individual artists, as many examples from Western as well as non-Western art history show. The many varieties of workshops thus call for a comparative analysis of how the particular organization of a workshop affects the modes of cooperation and communication among its members and how this translates into particular modes of art production as they become visible in a recognizable style and genre. The questions that arise from this short reflection on the significance of workshops for the understanding of the production of art are, however, an empirical challenge. One must first broaden the understanding of terms as cooperation and communication because of the specificities of art and handwork. What happens in a workshop may be easy to observe but it is usually not part of propositional knowledge—that is, artists very often will not want to explain or put in words what they are doing and how they actually cooperate and learn from each other. Any analysis of work in a workshop thus needs a thorough methodological toolkit to describe and conceptualize how artists work, how they cooperate, how they learn their skills and how they develop a nonverbal understanding of what they do. Such a focus is best developed through a study of different workshops, as I will try to show in this article by comparing sculptors’ workshops of the rural Senufo in northern Côte d’Ivoire with painters’ workshops in urban Bamenda, Cameroon.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253353801

13 “Fuck It, Let’s Go Bowling”: The Cultural Connotations of Bowling in The Big Lebowski

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Bradley D. Clissold

In The Big Lebowski: The Making of a Coen Brothers Film, William Preston Robertson reads bowling in The Big Lebowski not only as an important social activity and a serious lifestyle commitment, but also as a highly stylized aesthetic and part of an allusive tradition in classic film noirs. The back cover copy for Robertson’s book describes Lebowski as “classic Coen noir,” “a razor-sharp comedy-thriller of mistaken identity, gangsters, bowling, kidnapping, and money gone astray.” This synoptic blurb identifies the film’s stylized participation in the cinematic traditions of film noir and provides a list of generically recognizable noir motifs as proof of this participation: “mistaken identity,” “gangsters,” “kidnapping,” and “money gone astray.” This list, however, also includes “bowling” as one of the film’s governing motifs. Buried, as it is in the middle of this list, “bowling” becomes at once the odd term out in this list of conventional noir thematics and the syntactic centering term around which these other more identifiably noir descriptors ironically pivot. More to the point, this list of filmic motifs directly follows the labeling of Lebowski as a “comedy-thriller” and, in effect, serves rhetorically as evidence of such generic hybridity: the distinctively noir subjects support its generic designation as a “thriller,” and, by (cultural) default, the filmic motif of “bowling” (in 1997) marks its status as “comedy.”

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253340481

Chapter Eleven Mother’s Tutoring

Samuel S. Bak Indiana University Press ePub

See All Chapters