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Vishwakarma Craftsmen in Early Medieval Peninsular India

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This article situates Vishwakarma craftsmen in the socio-economic milieu of early medieval Peninsular India. It seeks to analyse the dynamics of social change among craft groups with particular reference to the smiths, masons and carpenters constituting the Vishwakarma community. This is attempted by locating the dynamics of social change within the processes of temple building and urbanism in the Chola-Pallava period. The essay looks afresh at concepts like caste, guild and community in the speci fic context of technological and economic changes and craft mobility. In so doing the article cuts across conceptual categories in the light of empirical evidence. The study is based on epigraphic evidence, essentially from the Tamil country. Le présent article situe les artisans Vishwakarma dans le milieu socio-économique au début de la période médiévale de l'Inde péninsulaire. Il cherche à analyser la dynamique du changement social parmi les groupes d'artisans plus particulièrement les forgerons, maçons et menuisiers / ébénistes, bref ceux qui constituent la communauté Vishwakarma. Ce travail est effectué en situant la dynamique de l'évolution sociale au sein des divers processus de la construction des temples durant la période Chola-Pallava. L'article propose un nouveau regard sur les concepts tels que caste, association/corps de métier et communauté dans le contexte des progrès technologiques et économiques ainsi que la mobilité de l'artisanat. Cet essai va à l'encontre des catégories conceptuelles à la lumière des preuves empiriques. L'étude est basée sur des preuves épigraphiques du pays de Tamil Nadu.

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