Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

History

Advisor/Chair:

Ravi Gupta

Abstract

This thesis critically examined gutkas – illuminated, pocket-sized anthologies of texts, hymns, and prayers that a Hindu would recite in a sacred place in the home, usually near an altar – produced in the Kashmir Valley during the mid-nineteenth century. Previously relegated to the periphery of scholarly discourse due to academic discriminations against “folk” culture, the goal here was to consider these objects and their paintings through the combined lenses of art history, cultural history, and religious studies in order to speak about gutkas in a deeper and more meaningful way. Here, gutkas from Utah State University, the Smithsonian Freer|Sackler Galleries, and the British Library were used as a tool to situate their makers within intricate familial webs of artistic practice, identify patterns of consumption and attitudes of ownership among a South Asian middle class, and reconstruct the objects’ function within Hindu devotional practice.

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Available for download on Tuesday, June 01, 2021

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