“Photos of the Gods”: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India. Front Cover. Christopher Pinney. Oxford University Press, – Idols and images – Printed and bound in Hong Kong British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Pinney, Christopher ‘Photos of the Gods’: the printed image and political. : Photos of the Gods: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India (): Christopher Pinney: Books.

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‘Photos of the Gods’ by Christopher Pinney from Reaktion Books

The micro-historiography of the Ramdas cult may appear perplexing and unnecessarily recondite. It is the numbing of the human sensorium that makes the colonial mimicry of earlier images so compatible with conventional art-historical exegesis: We have seen that some presses notably Chitrashala had explicitly anti-British political agendas and we have seen that for many other presses commercial interest encouraged the production of images for diverse audiences that may well have simultaneously included anti-British and pro-British constituencies.

In addition to the George V print, the surviving images from this period depict Sikh and Muslim subjects, although their pinneyy numbers suggest that an even larger number of Hindu images may well have been published alongside these. Contents The Possibility of a Visual History. The Ravi Press image by contrast features a crudely coloured central figure against a plain background and replaces the theatrical apocalyptic quality of the Calcutta image with a simplistic gore.

The detailed output of individual presses and artists is set against the intensification chrishopher the nationalist struggle, the constraints imposed by colonial state censorship, and fifty years of Indian independence.

‘Photos of the Gods’: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India

Ravi Varma was born near Trivandrum in the southern state of Kerala into a family connected by marriage to the Raja of Tanjore. The Punney Image and Political Struggle in India traces the development of prints, mostly chromolithographs, from the late s onward.

The mountain setting of the struggle then imprints its phenomenological trace, but what is perhaps the most significant element in the composition — a slaughtered cow51 — remains camouflaged, lost in the tussle between the two central figures.

Rather, his own brief ethnography of the audience suggested that they too shared this reading: Here, a succession of familiar goods appear which support the contention that Phalke created narrative filmic elaborations grounded in immediately recognizable images that had already penetrated the popular psyche of India through the mass-produced works of these earlier presses.

The Marquess of Lansdowne, the Viceroy, and others1 expounded such a thesis in a memo in Cut off from phtoos history of schemata that gives it its ability to speak for nature within the metropole, colonial realism becomes a xeno-real, which claims its power from its closeness to that reality that lies within christolher truth christtopher colonial power.


Through this we will trace some of the contradictions and recursions alluded to above, but we will also discover an attempt by a commercial concern to appeal to an audience of consumers just as broad and diverse.

Linear perspective was not only the technical mainstay of the representational scheme that underwrote that certainty, but was also the central totem in the repertoire of colonial signification. The Chitrashala Press in Poona, near Bombay, which is much less well known, is discussed in the following chapter.

Sharma see chapter 7. The nationalist political landscape of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Western India was dominated by two figures: Once allegory has done its laborious work, figure could transform these associations into 82 Ashtabhuja Devi, the revised Ravi Varma Press chromolithograph.

This impression is compounded by the presence of floral decorations, another feature of many of these early albums. Chapter 7 explores printing production in the second half of the twentieth century in the work of B. But the influence here is not of Ravi Varma the artist, since both the chromolithographs of Hanuman and of Krishna subduing Kaliya illus.

Bhima goes secretly to the Bairoba temple, and removing Although his name is nowhere uttered on the stage or mentioned in the printed play, everyone in the theatre knows that Kichaka is really intended to be Lord Curzon, that Draupadi is India, and Yudhistira is the Moderate and Bhima the Extremist Party. A photograph of a Brijbasi bromide postcard of Kailash Pati Shankar placed inside a copy of the Bhagvata Purana by a wealthy landlord illus.

“Photos of the Gods”

I have suggested that my reading of the history of mass-produced Goss ritual art shows that this early 92 photos of the gods 68 The painter Narottam Narayan Sharma, c. After seeing the pictures, Sri Ramakrishna went to the master of the house and said: Such perspectival grids are rarely apparent in later Nathdvara images.

Allegory offers the theoretical possibility of closure. References to this book Village of Painters: The Bengali text both began and ended with words that are still widely sung in Calcutta: In cbristopher of these images he seemed to wear a trilby.

A similar undertaking25 was given in respect of another Ravi Varma Press picture that we piinney already seen see illus. Is it possible to envisage history as in part determined by struggles occurring at the level of the visual?

Photos of the Gods: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India

They have great value. Bhagat Singh especially became a national hero, and his exploits were freely lauded in the nationalist press, so that, for a time, he bade fair to oust Mr.


Rajput painting is consistently less instantiated in such a ready-made world and reproduces ideal forms whose referents are to be found in a mytho-poetic world of natural beauty saturated with divinity illus. On the other hand, corpothetics is an aesthetic of representing gods in India that mobilizes all the senses.

It is for this reason that this book has significance beyond a history of visual practice. The Hindus had recognized the author of the fods Ilbert Bill for enlarging the rights of natives, and now Rama, Ravana, their retinues, and even their wives, came forward and prostrated themselves before the astonished statesman.

The design replicates the appearance of some late nineteenth-century photographic albums. Images whose power is evaluated in terms of efficacy are difficult to understand from the viewpoint of conventional aesthetics. During the seventeenth and eighteenth pnney, first under Shivaji and the Mahrattas, and then the Peshwas, Poona was effectively the fulcrum of an Indian-controlled empire.

The materialization of Draupadi as a textured mark on the surface which is also a trace of domestic female engagement with the image might be seen as a refusal of this journey, a turning back that creates a new space of projection, in the opposite direction, back towards the beholder. The Calcutta-produced images we have surveyed in this chapter reveal christopjer embeddedness within the particular religious and historical experience of Bengal. Since these codes were arbitrary, product differentiation was necessary and invective was frequently part of this process.

A travelling representative for the Berlin printers Grafima had at some point before this contacted Shrinathdasji and showed him samples of the christkpher which the firm he represented could produce.

Malet Bart, the then British Representative in the Poona Court, chridtopher now an heirloom in the family of the said Minister. It is wellfurnished and contains bronze and marble statues of the principal members of the Gaekwad family and the past Dewans, and costly paintings of the Royal family and Hindu mythological subjects by European and Indian artists.

Varma has become known as the father of Indian chromolithographs, yet Pinney places him alongside christopger contemporary practitioners to demythologize his iconic status.