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Home > Types Of Sculpture > Aesthetic Sculpture > The Rasa-Dhvani Theory
The Rasa-Dhvani Theory
Background
Each rasa is considered as a mode of the more general, greater Rasa which is intuited directly from its modes. Actually, this general Rasa is a kind of comprehensive term that is summing all the possible emotional experience. Since the direct perception of Rasa corresponds to the perception of the activity of mind itself, Rasa may be said as a legitimate vehicle helping in final release of particular passions and immediate responses. It enables consciousness factor to become aware of itself.

However, the particular rasa can only be invoked with the help of touching the feeling-responses that are latent in the regions of the particular Permanent Emotional Modes.This is typically done by means of determinants that amount mainly to the artistic causes. In these artistic causes there are traces of `concomitants`.

Thus Rasas are mainly evoked by using a artistic processes that makes the visible or audible effects of actual feeling in a group to stimulate or generate the latent traces proper to Permanent Emotional Modes. This is calculated by working upon our memories of similar forms.

As it is said that Indian sculpture employs many visual processes such as posture, gesture & figure grouping - that is borrowed from the art of theatre, as did much High Renaissance and Counter-Reformation art. But all the purely formal qualities of sculpture, the lines, volumes and formal sequences are original & therefore must be treated as special kinds of concomitants. And they work as determinants through the vasanas, latent traces back to the Indian`s fund of emotionally flavoured visual experiences.

One of the most important considerations, regarding the subject of the work is that visual art can never seek to become a `cause`, when it is considered in the ordinary-life sense. So instead of a rasa any other Permanent Emotional Modes are evoked, the whole spiritual purpose of art is aborted.

The Rasa-Dhvani Theory
The way to stimulate latent traces is described in the work composed in the ninth-century by a writer Anandavardhana in Dhvanyalok is of much importance. He proposed a theory to distinguish poetical type of speech from extracted prose speech in some ways reminiscent of it suggested first by Robert Graves and Laura Riding. William Empson in his classic Seven Types of Ambiguity later on developed the same concept.

Primarily, this theory explains that how artistic forms and processes touch these feeling-responses in order to build up a rasa. The key term to understand this is Dhvani. SitarThe term Dhvani refers to the `resonance` that is generated in one`s mind about the unstated meanings and only-suggested auras of significance aroused by words or visible presentations. This idea can be well conveyed through a concrete image of the process embodied in some of the musical instruments of strings in India such as the Sarangi, the big Vina and Sitar. At the lower side of the main playing strings of the instruments, a long series of smaller strings is arranged. Each smaller string is tuned to degrees of the scale in which it supposed to be played. In fact, these smaller strings are never struck in playing, but are expected to resonate in sympathy with the notes that struck on the main strings. Thus the melody that is progressed with time is accompanied by a continuous aura of sympathetic sound. The same effect can also be marked in artistic designs. The consciously stated elements of an artistic design can be compared to the melody of the main strings, and the resonance evoked due to this in the unconscious mind among latent traces (vasanas) with the effect of the smaller strings. Dhvani basically identified as a means for evoking Rasa and can be understood to embrace allegory, the amphiboly and ambiguity of poetic diction. Not only this but also the expressiveness of gesture & movement of figures, the evocative qualities of musical phrases or visual shapes are also defined with Dhvani.
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