Encounter, Engagement, and Object Stories

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The brass bell was made in India using traditional metalworking methods, but it was not Indian' in shape, decoration, or message; in other words, it was not made for local consumption. Sajjan Sarna's Indian world could be considered another riotous and subversive example of Marshall Sahlins' inventiveness of tradition, an expression of externally stimulated cultural genesis, in the specific terms that Sarna wished to convey. The India' that Sarna promoted and prospered from was not imported with the bells but rather a complex amalgam largely invented by him in response to his American customers' desires. Sarna learned how to play the game; his natural entrepreneurial skills were grafted onto American practice to the extent that he sought legal protection of the tradition' behind some of his most popular bell designs. Sarna conflated his own individual scale of inventiveness with a larger cultural expression, and the resulting bell designs reflect a fluid mixing of American and Indian meanings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationObject Stories
Subtitle of host publicationArtifacts and Archaeologists
EditorsSteve Brown, Anne Clarke, Ursula Frederick
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781315423364
ISBN (Print)9781611323849
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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