A Traditional Folk Tale of India
Once upon a time, a powerful and wealthy King decided to study the art of sculpting. The King and his retinue traveled to the studio of a sculptor of great repute.
I am an admirer of your work, said the King, and several of his retinue nodded in agreement. I wish to learn this great art.
Yes, I can teach you, replied the Artist. First, I would like to see some of your paintings.
No, no, not painting, said the King. Sculpture, I would like to learn the fine art of sculpture.
Of course, of course, said the Artist. But you must understand that the art of painting is the preliminary training for the visual arts. Please, let me see some of your work.
Well, replied the King, I have never painted…
Hmm… said the Artist, I see. Well, I can teach you painting. Let me see you dance.
Dance? said the king. What has dance got to do with this?
The Artist, in a very serious tone replied. Surely one who wishes to portray the human form will have studied the graceful movements of dance.
The King humbly murmured, I do not dance…
The Artist was taken aback. Very well, he said, I will teach you to dance also. Please, bring me your instrument.
The King began to falter, instrument? What instrument? I do not play any musical instruments.
The Artist replied, I have indicated the importance of the study of painting and dancing to sculpting. Surely you must understand that dance is performed to the music of instruments. How can you expect to dance without knowing something about instrumental music?
The King admitted that he didn’t know the first thing about playing any instrument. Well, no matter, the Artist replied, I will teach you. Please, sing something for me.
I can’t sing, said the King.
You can’t sing? You come to me expecting to learn the fine art of sculpting and you cannot sing? Doesn’t the study of art begin with singing? Ah, we have much work to do. Let’s see, we shall start with the note SA…
Note: The note SA in India is the equivalent of the western note DO. . . as in DO, RE, ME.
Related article: Bharata Natyam: Classical Dance of India