Indian Craftsman, 2nd Edition
By Ananda K. Coomaraswamy
Reprint of the 1909 Edition
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers
109 pages, 5 ¾" x 8 ¾"
Amazing it appears, yet it is true. In every period of its long history, two types of geniuses have flourished in India: One was concerned with man's existence and the other tried to make his existence comfortable, at times even enviable. This book is a study of the second type of genius, the Indian Craftsman.
The author has treated his subject from three points of view: the village, the town and the palace or temple, i.e. where the craftsman lived, worked and had their patrons. He has also, minutely examined how the caste system, religion and the guild set up standards of quality and enforced their strict adherence. He has devoted an entire chapter to throw light on the system of education and training that ensured and regulated the right number of craftsmen for every craft at a particular period so that at no period there was neither a surplus nor a deficit of craftsmen.
Ten appendices add further information from different angles. This book is indeed a welcome resurrection at this particular time; for the traditional craftsmen are disappearing. The philosophy that sustained them through vicissitudes seems no longer valid. All those who have a love for Indian crafts and who want to either practice or preserve them will find this an excellent book.
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