Tools and World-Making in the Worship of Vishwakarma

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    Across India, and much of the rest of South and Southeast Asia as well, tools, machines, and other instruments are periodically set down or stilled to become the focus of worship. This worship is associated often-though not always-with the Hindu deity Vishwakarma, or 'Maker of the Universe.' Our essay, based on preliminary ethnographic and archival research in India, gathers together myths about tools as well as anthropological accounts of tool worship to demonstrate the great diversity of rationales and occasions for such worship. We suggest that heeding mythology, the ritual care of tools, and the worship of Vishwakarma may illuminate artisanship, manufacture, and the role of materiality in religious life throughout the Indian subcontinent.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)478-492
    JournalSouth Asian History and Culture
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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