Jyotindra Jain

Indian Popular Imagery: Reconfiguring the Cultural Identity

Lecture given at the conference "Migrating Images"

Jyotindra Jain

Jyotindra Jain


Media Files


This paper focuses on the role of mass-produced popular Hindu imagery of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the construction of religious, social and national identities. Nineteenth-century India witnessed major cultural and technological transformations – the pedagogy of the colonial art schools (advent of ‘perspective as symbolic form’ in Panofskian sense); exposure to European pictures circulating in the Indian market; the advent of the techniques of engraving, lithography and oleography and the emergence of photography and the proscenium stage. All this led to the growth of a new popular imagery, the production of which also coincided with the Indian ‘era of art’ and contained within it seeds of the ‘visual turn’ which was to take its course towards the end of the twentieth century. The colonial art school’s emphasis on perspective and realism endowed the idealised, traditional imagery with a more tangible and sensual presence. The newly introduced proscenium theatre with its powerful iconic and narrative devices, and photography, which heightened corporeality and individuality, engendered a new class of enchanted cultic, mythological and nationalist imagery.

Artists / Authors



The House of World Cultures




The House of World Cultures, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 10557 Berlin, Germany


» http://www.hkw.de/de…ngimages/c_index.html


, Jan 26, 2004



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