restricted access 19. The Mirror as Frame: Time and Narrative in the Folk Art of Bengal

Inspired by Das's essay on the paintings of Akhbar Padamsee, this chapter explores the use of the mirror motif as a framing device by folk artists in Bengal. Das uses the paired terms bimb- pratibimb or the 'image and its reflection' from Indian poetics give voice to the image - to allow it to communicate with itself as it were. In the conventional understanding of the 'frame' it serves as a limit, creating a spatial field within which the image can be displayed and then effaces itself. The mirror as a framing device within the picture seems to do the opposite. It multiplies the perspectives from which the image is viewed thereby drawing attention to the frame itself.