From Deification to Decoration: A Study of the Mohra Idols of Himachal Pradesh State in India [virtual]


Avani Solanki (University of Chicago)

The paper explores the social, economic, and religious factors that influence the production, sale, purchase and usage of the mohra idols in Himachal Pradesh state in India. The perspectives of four main stakeholders in the craftsmanship of the idol will be emphasized using an ethnographic approach: the metalsmiths who create the mohras, the jewelers who sell them, the customers who purchase them, and the devotees who worship the deities whose mohras are sold. Finally, since idol-making is a folk cultural practice, questions of artistic agency, aesthetic demands, and economic influences on the process of production will also be elaborated upon.

Part of 09-01 Perspectives on Material Culture [hybrid], Saturday, October 15, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm