Grasping the Formless in Stones: The Petromorphic Gods of the Hindu Pañcāyatanapūjā

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Investigating the ritual and social aesthetics of "petromorphic gods" in a Hindu context, this chapter demonstrates that it is not a single theoretical key but rather the interpretive combination of theories which allows one to understand how stones connect religious knowledge, performative action and the repertoire of used forms. The chapter demonstrates that neither anthropomorphic perceptions nor the agency of the stone material alone make up the ritual aesthetics in which the stones are involved. Rather, applying concepts from landscape phenomenology and cognitive theories including the role of material objects in cognitive technologies, and the structure of the human mind, the chapter unravels how the sensory and synaesthetic qualities have made these stones ritually important. In this weaving together of different aspects, the chapter illustrates the way in which an aesthetic approach forms a connective pathway within religious studies scholarship.
Title of host publicationAesthetics of Religion : A Connective Concept
EditorsAlexandra K. Grieser, Jay Johnston
Number of pages15
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherDe Gruyter
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)978-3-11-045875-6
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-11-046045-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
SeriesReligion and Reason

    Research areas

  • Ritual, Hinduism, Stones, landscape, Aniconicity, anthropomorphism