Saturday, March 7, 2009

Nearly all traditional dances from predominantly Buddhist areas conserve these same elements. One of the other conserved elements relating to the dance are mudras, hand symbols used for martial, spiritual and physical purposes. Likewise conserved are elements of costume and association of the dances with temples and royal courts. Many of the dance costumes still involve armor! Frequently they involve weapons as well. One might examine the symbols of buddhism, they tend to be the Dharma wheel which is the vedic chakra weapon which also contains 8 parts, much like bagua having 8 trigrams. Another symbol is the sword of Buddha, this one takes a bit of logical contortion to consider it as non-martial. Another symbol is the vajra, the thunderbolt of Indra. Later I will be pointing out the conservation of the Vajra symbol in global culture for now however I'd like to focus on the martial, spiritual and symbolic aspects of traditional dance in India and Asia.

In contrast with this are Polynesian war dances which contain martial elements yet are constructed differently, as well as contemporary or modern dance which lacks martial elements.