Tools and World-Making in the Worship of Vishwakarma

Date

2017

Authors

Narayan, Kirin
George, Kenneth

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Publisher

Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

Abstract

Across India, and much of the rest of South and Southeast Asia as well, tools, machines, and other instruments are periodically set down or stilled to become the focus of worship. This worship is associated often – though not always – with the Hindu deity Vishwakarma, or ‘Maker of the Universe.’ Our essay, based on preliminary ethnographic and archival research in India, gathers together myths about tools as well as anthropological accounts of tool worship to demonstrate the great diversity of rationales and occasions for such worship. We suggest that heeding mythology, the ritual care of tools, and the worship of Vishwakarma may illuminate artisanship, manufacture, and the role of materiality in religious life throughout the Indian subcontinent.

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Citation

Source

South Asian History and Culture

Type

Journal article

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DOI

10.1080/19472498.2017.1371506

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