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Bundgaard, Helle (1994) An Indian cloth painting and its art worlds: Perceptions of Orissan patta paintings. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This study examines how a particular kind of Indian painting comes to have value. The focus of analysis is on the social life of paintings rather than the purely aesthetic. This is explored through a detailed examination of perceptions of the paintings amongst producers, consumers and art critics. The study is an attempt to apply the sociological institutional theory of art on Orissan patta paintings by developing the sociological approach into what I consider to be an anthropological approach. The Orissan patta paintings, with which the study is concerned, are circulated not only within India but also abroad and thus move through different cultural milieus. Following Arjun Appadurai (1986) pattas can be said to have a social life, whose value and meaning change through time and place (1986). The paintings are located in several value systems. These systems will often meet in the very transaction which moves a painting from one sphere to another. One of the central questions raised in the thesis is how particular kind of paintings come to have value and whether they are endowed with different layers of value. The model I have developed is of an art world consisting of interpenetrating layers with different semantic registers. The differences in evaluation and interpretation of the paintings at different points in their "social life" lead me to argue that the layers have the character of separate yet interacting worlds.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:11

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