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The Rasa theory from eastern performance arts studies is one of our most useful storytelling tools. It’s a great viewpoint into human emotions and their breadth. The Rasa theory speaks of nine elemental emotions, or aesthetic flavours, in a very pure sense. Among them, one of the most poetic rasas is karunā or sorrow. Sadness as an aesthetic flavour has been used extensively in literature, cinema, photography, art, and all other forms of storytelling.
Although not exactly a pleasurable emotion, sorrow is an aesthetic flavour that has a curious ability to create beauty through vulnerability. We created this postcard set ‘Sadness is a rainbow’ to portray the breadth and diversity of this emotion and the kind of beauty that it inspires. This postcard collection includes work from a master at creating elegiac beauty, Julia Margaret Cameron—the iconic 19th-century photographer who lived and died in Sri Lanka. Other postcards include a drawing from the popular Indian tragedy of Śakuntalā from a 1919 rendition and a Gosain warrior-ascetic donning a nine-pointed iron star as a permanent collar for a life of renouncing comforts. Two postcards from this set depict some of the most iconic depictions of sadness from Indian cinema, with a scene from the 1957 Hindi drama film Pyaasa involving a poet and a sex worker and the sorrowful face of the actress Suchitra Sen in Devdas (1955).
✺ Set of five 7” x 5” postcards inducing the karunā rasa
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