The Acquisition of Knowledge chapter of the Kama Sutra includes, among other things, a list of 64 Arts that girls should be trained in. Whether these skills and proficiencies are intended for all women-to-be or just those who would go on to be concubines is unclear, but they wouldn’t be the only society to restrict knowledge among women who keep to the domestic sphere.
Times are different, now, and learning new skills is not restricted by gender, age or station in life. Still, there’s something poetic about a list titled the 64 Arts and I thought it would be fun to work my way through that list. Some things I’m already familiar with–which just means I’ve got a chance to apply that knowledge to daily life in ways I may not have, before–while others are foreign to me, giving me the opportunity to share the process of exploration and learning.
And if folks want to join me in the exploration, all the better!
A New Direction, in which I explain what I’m doing and how I’m going to go about it
Cliches are cliches for a reason and we start the dancing chapter with Dance Like No One’s Watching and go for 5 posts on the subject.
Need to get up to the getting down? Step right on over to Embrace the Insanity.
At this point I started titling the beginning of each art with an ironically less-than-creatively titled post, like this: the 5th Art: Cutouts.
Of the 8 posts in this series an unusual–but fun–application can be found in How Ap-Peel-ing.
07: Flower Bouquets
Did you ever wonder about making and giving Flower Bouquets? Now you can learn some basics and then some in these 5 posts.
Rather leave the arranging to the florist but still don’t know what to send? Here’s a short list on the Language of Flowers.
10: Bed Arrangement
Here we traveled through home decor, feng shui and creative living for 6 posts starting with the basics of Bed Arrangement.
If you only have time for a nap, make sure to check out my Interview with a Do-Gooder: Bed Days.
11: Musical Instrument Made of Bowls Filled With Water
Have you ever played the Water Glasses? I tried my hand at making it work and we heard a bevy of beautiful performances over the 6 posts.
My own experience with the glasses can be heard in my Pruney Fingers Performance–it’s quite okay to laugh (encouraged, even!).
12: Water-Spewing Games
At first I had a bit of an issue with Water-Spewing Games but I found my groove in memories of summers past in a three-part series.
Jonesing for some water-balloon fun? Check out Water Wars, Part 2 for tips on hosting an epic balloon-battle.
13: The Use of Charms, Drugs, Magic Words
This one was a loaded subject but one I was so looking forward to, mainly because it gave us a chance to examine the ideas conjured by Charms, Drugs & Magic Words over 8 posts.
Need a little break from the day-to-day crazies? Find out how to get it with a peek into Deep Breaths and Shallow Thoughts.
14 and 15: Garland Making; Crowns and Head Ornaments
More fun with flowers and other sorts of decorations packed into 4 block-buster posts. Projects galore but my favorite has to be the paper flowers in Paper Petals, part 2.
16: The Art of Dressing
You know we had fun talking about clothes (and shoes!) under the fashionable art over a whopping 12 posts! Picking a favorite is tough, but if I’m honest it’s the guilty pleasure of disclosing exactly what’s in my shoe closet in Don’t Let Having Only 2 Feet Stop You.
17 and 19: Ivory or Mother of Pearl Ear Ornaments; Jewelry
All that glitters may not be gold but it is wonderful! Jewelry is a favorite subject of many women and I’m no exception–I also love to make my own and show people how deceptively simple some pieces can be. Since this art extended through my birth-month, we did a series of giveaways for many of the pieces I made and showcased.
18: The Preparation of Perfumes
Scent it one of of our most powerful memory triggers, and a perfume can make you stand out in the present, past and the future. Of course, to make that mark you need a signature scent, and we’ve got the tips on choosing it!
A whole lot less spooky than it sounds, conjuring can be anything from hypnotism to creating that change you want to see in the world–or just in your own life. We also talked a little about the Law of Attraction and keeping that precious positive attitude on the day-to-day.
Another art that is more than it seems, magicÂ isn’t about presto and alakazam, we’re talking about the magic that exists between people, keeping the spark alive in relationships, and using some natural “tricks” to keep that healthy glow going for us.
I know I always feel better about myself when I have freshly painted nails clicking along my keyboard, and I doubt I’m the only one to find such a boost in a simple manicure. Of course, the best service comes at a price and I’m all about the do-it-yourself, so the fact that a paraffin dip can be done at home on the cheap is a fabulous bit of beauty intel I was happy to share.
23: The Art of Cooking
Where do I start with cooking? We managed to keep it relatively brief while still covering soup to nuts and introducing all sorts of vegetables and tips for how to use them. After all, I’ve got a whole separate blog to talk about food.
Needlework can be anything from productive, decorative or economical. We covered making a dress, cross stitch and even the lost art of darning a sock before moving onto the more decorative next art.
27: The Art of Playing the Vina and the Damaru (drum)
Nothing wrong with a little percussive therapy now and then!
29: The Art of Completing a Quotation (pratimala)
Quotes are sort of like cliches and stereotypes–we recognize their truth and validity (at least in part), and it gives us a touchstone or reference point when we’re trying to find our way with new people or in new situations. It’s as simple as the game Marco Polo, if you think about it!
Riddles are not my strong suit–I think I’m going to have to come back to this art a few times after we finish our first pass at the 64!
I adore making books out of just about anything. For the purpose of the bookbinding until I bound together a collection of the cards we’d received in the past year to keep them all together instead of scattered about.
32: The Art of Telling Stories
For someone who tells stories on a regular basis, you’d think I would have more to say on the art of storytelling. Maybe it was a those who do… sort of situation.
33: Quoting the Classics in Answering Questions
Sometimes I look back at these posts and wonder just where my head was. For Art #33 I went from Romeo & JulietÂ to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in no time flat!
35: Woodwork &Â 36: Carpentry
Admittedly, this is more Todd’s bailiwick than mine, so we worked together on refinishing an antique school desk and then he built me a fabulous glue caddy of my own design! Sometimes the lesson of an art is as much about teamwork and appreciating other people’s skills and efforts as it is expanding our own!
37: House Furnishing and Decoration
Is a home every really, truly done being decorated? Tossing in some new throw pillows or repainting a room is one of the best ways to give your spirit a make-over by changing your surroundings. I’m still working on transforming our bedroom into something out of an old railway car!
38: Expert Knowledge of Stones and Gems &Â 40: Valuing the Shape and Color of Stones
Ready to add some sparkle to your life? One of the great things about going through the 64 Arts is making time to do some projects that have been knocking around in the back of my head for a while. The Beach Glass Ring I made as part of these combined arts is an excellent case in point, and I get compliments on it every time I wear it!
39: Mixing and Polishing Metals
When it comes to crafts I tend to stay away from anything that involves live fire as I’m rather accident-prone. But working with metal wire is a lot of fun, and I made a Chain Maille bracelet as part of this art.
41: Arboriculture, the Care of Trees
I’m not exactly known for having a green thumb (pretty much the opposite, in fact) but we someone ended up with accidental bananas in our yard, and it was kinda cool!
42: Stockbreeding & 43: Teaching Parrots and Mynah Birds to Talk
It’s always important to spend some time caring for our furry and feathered (and finned or scaled) friends.
45: Sign Language
I find it interesting that the language “section” of this list starts out with signals and non-verbal communication–I think it says something about those primal levels of communication. In a bit of synchronicity, a signed song was making the rounds online just as we were discussing this art.
And Those Yet to Come….
46: Understanding Barbarous Foreign Languages (mleccha)
47: Speaking Regional Languages
48: Decorating Chariots with Flowers
49: Observing the Omens
50: Fabricating Machines
51: Developing the Memory
52: Alternate Reciting of Texts
54: Knowledge of the Dictionary
55: Poetic Meter
56: Versification and Literary Forms
57: The Art of Cheating
58: The Art of Disguise (vastragopanam)
59: The Art of Gaming, the Game of Dice
60: The Game of Chess
61: Children’s Games
62: Good Manners
63: The Rules for Success
64: Physical Culture