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artist or of the race, or does it remain foreign and external? If the borrowed element be not congenial, it will be wasted. But art works from within, with a fusing and perpetually transforming power. Every one sees that the important and essential thing in Shakespeare's plays is Shakespeare, and not the histories, legends or Italian novels which he took for his plots, although whole passages of his actual dialogue are to be found in the sources he drew from. But in pictorial art people are far too prone to represent similarly borrowed material as the dominant and even the essential factor. What is interesting in Indian art is that which is Indian in it. Gandhara took a method of representation, choice of type, forms of drapery, from a Hellenistic school of sculpture; but the Buddhist inspiration soon transformed these from within, so that in the resulting tradition of Buddhist art which passed across Asia to China the Greek element is a dwindling and almost insignificant factor. So too the Persian influence on Indian painting in the 16th and 17th centuries never penetrated deeply; the quite different spirit of the Indian artists made of it something new, not a mere imitation.
Mr Havell quite rightly defends Indian art from this perversity of criticism. But, not content with defending, he carries the war into the enemy's camp, and tends to find Indian influence everywhere, in Persia, in China, even in medieval Europe. And we are obliged to answer Mr Havell in turn, as he answers his opponents, and to say that what interests us in Persian art is the Persian genius, what interests us in Chinese art is the Chinese genius, what interests us in Gothic architecture is the Gothic genius. Whatever influences of whatever kind may have gone to the forming of these great schools, it is undeniable that each is a separate and unique creation of the human spirit; and it is what each in its ripeness has become, the inner life which has controlled its growth, which concerns and attracts us. Mr Havell may rejoin that we ignore an essential distinction. What India has borrowed has been methods, motives, forms, conventions, things belonging to the means of representation. What India has given out has been a kindling of the mind, an ideal, something belonging to the inner spirit. The actual influence of Indian ideals
outside India seems to to be overestimated by Mr Havell; but, even were it as potent and widepervading as he would have us believe, we have still not got to the root of the matter. For in art a race expresses something more profound and secret than any formulated ideal, something deeper than words, something underlying even thought; it is for a race what attitude and gesture are to a man seized by emotion, a silent index of his innermost nature. An artist cannot disguise himself in his art; what he really is appears inevitably in it, however strenuously he may aspire to be something different. And so it is with a race. If we seek for that which is quintessential and incommunicable in a nation's art, we must seek it not so much in ideals which can be translated into language as in its distinctive design. By design we mean that ordering of the relations between the parts, by which a work of art acquires organic unity; it is something belonging to the mystery of life itself, and it is this which justifies our calling art creative. Forms, conventions, decorative motives, can be absorbed by this subtle fluid of vitality; but so also can ideals, thoughts, and emotions. The influence of Christianity on the art of Europe has been immense. It provided fuel for the creative fire in those races which imbibed the faith; it gave impetus and direction to the art thus called into being. But of itself it did not create art. So it was with Buddhism, and Indian thought generally, in the world of Asian art. Let us recognise, with Mr Havell, that Indian art is something sprung from the soil, something personal to the race; what it has absorbed from outside is of little significance. But let us also recognise that the same is true of the arts of the other great races of Asia, and of mankind.
If we emphasise this point, it is because we think Mr Havell's main defect is that he does not seem to realise the fundamental importance of design in art. He opposes Indian idealism to European naturalism, and exalts the spiritual character of Indian art as a supreme quality, But a work which has an ideal subject can be just as bad art as a still-life painting, and, because of the greater difficulty, is usually worse. And if European art has often been swamped by its materials, its best inspiration lies in the faith that nothing in the visible world is too mean or common for the uses of the spirit. It is the miracle of art, of the designing faculty, that it can everywhere transform fact into idea and from the merest hint in nature can create something that appeals to the most profound elements in man. Indian art has never fallen into the slavish pursuits of naturalism, though on the other hand it has often been too contemptuous of nature; but its capital weakness lies in something that comes from neither of these tendencies, it comes from a comparative lack of energy in the designing instinct, by which an art grows and is renewed.
Though it would be a mistake not to recognise the weak side of the Indian genius, it is more important at the moment to rejoice in the many beautiful creations which have lately been disclosed to the European public; and let us be grateful to Mr Havell for a pioneer work which will never be forgotten. With Mr Havell must be associated Dr Ananda Coomaraswamy, who has done so much by publishing fine sets of reproductions to spread the knowledge of Indian art, and who has studied its history with critical thoroughness as well as with sympathetic insight. Of another school is Mr Vincent Smith, long known as a learned archæologist, who has been led to modify considerably his views on the aesthetic merits of Indian art-not uninfluenced by its recent champions -and whose History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon' is the fullest and completest historical account that has yet been published.
An Englishman who wishes to find some actual work from which to start on a study of Indian art cannot do better than visit the Indian Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum. There, among a mass of miscellaneous objects and poor modern work, he will find a certain torso of dark red sandstone. We often find that a single work (whether of art or literature) belonging to a school which we have regarded with indifference, or even aversion, converts us to a new view of that school. It delights us and surprises us; and then we begin to wonder if there are not other works of the same school which may delight us also. A fresh angle of vision is gained, and with it the eye of sympathy. The torso in question is of singular beauty. Its beauty is different from the beauty of a Greek marble; though merely a
torso, it has a kind of aroma of spiritual rather than bodily charm. It reminds us at once of Greek and of medieval sculpture; but such reminders only serve to emphasise its uniqueness. It is akin to the art of Ajanta in its inspiration ; vigorous but gentle, it seems to express the grace and poise of a spirit neither withdrawn from the delights of the world and disgusted with the mortality of man, nor on the other hand immersed in the life of the senses.
The restricted but rich ornament shows the germ of Indian tendency in decoration, afterwards to become extravagant and heavy.
There is very little of Indian sculpture in the same collection to attract or compel admiration from the lover of art. One cannot but deplore that in this country, the one above all others which ought to have intelligently studied and collected what is best in Indian art, so little has been done. Even with the meagre and ill-assorted material available at South Kensington, a generous treatment by high administrative authority might enable those directly in charge of the collections, who are at present cramped and disabled by want of accommodation, to dispose them to far greater advantage and focus attention on the finest things. The torso which we have described, for instance, deserves a place to itself, with good lighting and space about it. If it were placed in a gallery with nothing else but Lady Herringham's copies from the Ajanta Frescoes on the walls, how immensely different would be the effect on the visitor! He would then have some definite conception of the early art of India, and would have some means of realising what this art stands for in the art of the world. Lady Herringham's beautiful copies, lent by the India Society, are on the walls of one of the upper galleries ; but the view of them is so interrupted by the floor-cases that it is impossible to contemplate them at one's ease. Yet for one who wishes to gain an acquaintance with Indian art these copies are of paramount importance. The frescoes show the Indian genius at its finest; but very few travellers undertake the difficult pilgrimage to that remote glen in the mountains of Haiderabad where in a great curve of cliff above a stream are hollowed out the Caves of Ajanta. •Caves’ is a convenient but misleading word, for the frescoes are painted on what are really great halls
hewn out of the rock in imitation of actual structures, with architectural and sculptured ornament. A remarkable series of photographs has been made by M. Victor Goloubew, and is to be published by him in the admirable • Ars Asiatica.' Meanwhile the forthcoming annotated publication by the India Society of Lady Herringham's copies will be a most valuable acquisition for the student. But the copies themselves bring us nearer to the originals, for scale is important.
Two former sets of copies have been made from the frescoes, the first by Major Gill, the second by Mr Griffiths; but both of these were more or less destroyed in two separate fires, though a damaged remnant of the second set may still be seen in the Indian section. Hitherto the paintings have been best known through the coloured lithographs and the collotypes in Mr Griffiths' two folio volumes published in 1896. It is curious to note the difference of selection in that publication and in Lady Herringham's series. The two sets make a quite different impression; and it must be said that the paintings chosen by Lady Herringham are at once much more attractive and give a far finer notion of the art of Ajanta. And it must be remembered that these frescoes represent not one single school or period, but a succession of schools working from the first or second centuries A.D. to the seventh, the latest being the best.
These paintings are all Buddhist in subject. We are apt to associate Buddhist art with a hieratic character, with the mystical figures of the Bodhisattvas, apparitions from the supernatural world; with an art that has no concern with the actual and the visible. But the most characteristic of the Ajanta frescoes have for subject the stories told of the lives of the Buddha in his previous incarnations on earth. And so we find portrayed before our eyes the actual life of India of that time. Here in a palace-interior, where pillars of deep red are crowned by capitals of pale blue marble, a prince is seated, receiving offerings from young girls. How full of natural grace and courtesy are their attitudes and movements! We have no need to make excuses for a primitive stage of art. All is largely designed, with an easy mastery over the means of representation. Others again are outdoor
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