Monday, October 10, 2011

Lao Steampunk: Kavad storytellers

Stepping outside of Laos for a moment and taking a peek at Rajasthan:

One of the interesting things that's fascinated me for years were the Kavad shrines carried by storyteller-priests from Rajasthan known as Kavadiya Bhats:

These were intricately carved shrines/boxes that were carried from place to place and opened up and unfolded in a special way to tell a story, such as the story of the coronation of Lord Ram.  

This has been a tradition for over 400 years (17th century+)

Many are constructed from mango wood carved by the men, while the women paint the epics on the hinged doors and flaps. Afterwards, the Kavadiya Bhats go around traveling like bards to tell the stories. They alone know the proper order to unfold and open the the story for their audience.  

It's an amazing tradition. I think I'd enjoy trying to construct one for stories within our own community. And, as you can guess from the title of this post, I'm curious how it would look within a steampunk aesthetic. But definitely a great art form, and I hope it doesn't get lost.

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