Education About Asia: Online Archives

Kutiyattam: Sanskrit Theater of India (A CD-ROM)

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By Farley Richmond

Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002.

Web site: www.press.umich.edu Phone: 800-621-2736

This multimedia, interactive CD-ROM is a visually rich and appealing survey of the ancient South Indian theater of kutiyattam, associated with temples and religious ritual since the tenth century CE Special temple servant castes produce the dance-story performances that are considered to be visual sacrifices to the temple deity.

The main musical instruments are a special kind of drum with an elaborate repertoire, hand cymbals, and a small hand drum. After years of comparative research on performing arts in India, Richmond learned that kutiyattam is probably the only kind of performing art in India that still carefully follows the ancient Sanskrit treatise, the Natyashastra.