“A Stroke of the Resonance of Dhvani in Visual Arts” by Amrutha MK

Ānandavardhana, the author of Dhvanyāloka became immortalised by explaining a fundamental theory in aesthetics – the rasa dhvani theory. The author argues that Dhvani is the soul of poetry, like a flash of light it illuminates the work of art. Further, he points out that great literature always communicates through suggestions, if properly understood it generates aesthetic pleasure in sahṛdaya. In the beginning of the text itself he makes us aware that this theory is not a new discovery, this has already been used by great artistes even before his time. But he is able to establish the importance of dhvani through his writings.
This presentation is an attempt to apply the canons of dhvani theory to visual arts. It is primarily an exploratory or descriptive account, though I sketch an explanatory gloss in the concluding section. The first section is an introduction to dhvani theory by taking the examples of poetry quoted in Dhvanyāloka. As some free-flowing strokes are also capable of evoking powerful emotions, the next section will focus on some visually stimulating brush strokes and the carved images to explore the resonance of dhvani in visual narratives. The final section will look into the moving images, that is, the performance traditions, to understand the philosophy of aesthetic suggestion.

Abstract Excerpt from “The Reading Glass” fortnightly session of CSP on 29 March 2019, by Amrutha MK