Update: 2015-12-26 04:07 AM -0500


Language and Sign


A collection on Sign Language in response to the Language Problem of Primitive Buddhism presented by Chi Hisen-lin aka Ji Xianlin, in Journal of the Burma Research Society, XLIII, i, June 1960.

A collection based on Sign Language by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA) and staff of Tun Institute of Learning (TIL) . Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR :  http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

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Contents of this page

Buddha's Hand Gestures - mudra.htm
Semiotics - semiot.htm
International Sign - InSi.htm
Sign language , 090902, 101203 - si-lang.htm
Sign videos - si-video.htm


UKT notes
Mudra - Hand-finger gestures

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UKT notes


- UKT 151226: As Myanmar Buddhists we are familiar with the Hand-gestures of the Buddha's statues, the most prominent being the Earth-touching Mudra, when he called on the Earth (personified as Earth Goddess) to stand as witness to his innumerable acts of piety. We should note that he did not call on the Hindu God Agni symbolizing the domestic hearth.

From Wikipedia: - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mudras_dance 151226

One of the most striking features of Hindu dance is the use of hand gestures.

Speaking in dance via gestures, rather than orally, in order to visually convey outer events or things, as well as inner feelings, two classifications of specific traditional 'MUDRA' (hand/finger gesture) are used in Indian Classical Dance, and indeed are a prominent part of the dancer's vocabulary.

This is a list of only a few hastamudras.

The Abhinaya Darpan (a descriptive primmer for dancers) mentions that the dancer should sing the song by the throat, express the meaning of the song through hand gestures, show the state of feelings in the song by eyes, and express the rhythm with his or her feet.

From the Natya Shastra, a text on the arts, this beautiful quotation and translation is often quoted by Indian classical dance instructors:

"Yato hasta stato drishti"...
  'Where the hand is, the eyes follow'
"Yato drishti stato manaha"...
  'Where the eyes go, the mind follows'
"Yato manaha stato bhava"...
  'Where the mind is, there is the feeling'
"Yato bhava stato rasa"...
  'Where there is feeling, there is mood/flavour, sweetness (i.e., appreciation of art; aesthetic bliss)'

So vast are the subtleties expressed in the hand gestures of hasta that the vastness of what being human entails, and perhaps even what the entire universe contains, might be expressed by the dancer.

Hence as 'hasta' form a distinct coded language which brings a unique poetic element while performing, so too when abhinaya (traditional facial expressions), pose (attitude), and rhythm complete the language, the dancer may express practically anything and everything to an attentive audience.

Go back Mudra-note-b

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