Wednesday, September 16, 2009


What is discord? How does it relate to Non-Western Art?

To understand discord and its relation to Non-Western Art, we have to look at its definition, synonyms, and antonyms. Discord is the lack of agreement or harmony between people, ideas, or things. Some of the synonyms of discord are chaos, bedlam, and animosity. The antonyms of discord are order, unity, and peace. In many Non-Western Cultures, discord and unity go hand in hand; thus does chaos and order. A prime example is one of the main concepts of Hinduism religion and culture which is that creation and destruction occur in a never-ending cycle. So if it is a major part of the religion and culture the discord and unity (creation and destruction) theme will occur in the art of that culture.

Discord and Unity in Hinduism Art, Religion, and Culture

In these two images one can see Kali (left) and Shiva (Right). They both appear in similar poses, standing on top of a body, and holding corresponding symbolic objects. Both of these gods, deal with discord, chaos, and destruction. However, Shiva is also a god of creation, unity, and peace. and Kali is a goddess of change. In the picture of Kali, one can see that Kali is standing atop of Shiva. This represents destruction conquering creation. However, Kali can not truly conquer Shiva because of his ties to creation and destruction. So thus the cycle of birth and death, creation and destruction, unity and discord continue.

Here are more images of Shiva and Kali being depicted together or having intercourse as the symbolic representation of the uniting of masculine and feminine into a single harmonious entity. Once again, symbolizing the on going cycle of creation and destruction.

Another form of Shiva is Nataraja, the Lord of Dance. Nataraja is an extremely popular figure in Hindu Art. Nataraja dances within a ring of flames with his right foot on the demon Apasmara (personification of illusion and ignorance) and his left foot raised. This dance is called the Anandatandava or The Dance of Bliss. It symbolizes the cycle of creation and destruction(as well as the daily cycle of life and death) because Nataraja preforms his dance to destroy an old universe while the god Brahma prepares to create a new one. It also symbolizes Shiva's conquering of illusion and ignorance.


Osborn, Gary. "Sunya: The Inner Sun." Paradigmshift. Gary Osborn, 1997. Web. 16 Sept. 2009. .

Das, Subhamoy. "Nataraj: The Dancing Shiva." Web. 16 Sept. 2009. .

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for using and crediting me and my work!

    Gary Osborn