The first book

After watching Jean Renoir’s film «The River», I wanted to find a book that would describe the astonishing drawing gestures seen at the beginning of the movie. One day, heading to the library of Asian museum Guimet in Paris, I found a work titled “l’Alpona[1] ou les décorations rituelles du Bengale” with illustrations from the painter Abanindranath Tagore and nephew of Rabindranath Tagore the poet, writer, composer and Nobel Prize in 1913. Page after page, the booklet features geometrical diagrams, animals, birds and everyday objects as well as descriptions of rituals. The former English version “Alpona” was written by Tapan Mohan Chatterji and published by Orient Longmans.

Les Alpona du Bengale Alpona


[1] Two words are in usage : âlpona or âlpana.

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