The Natya Shastra is the oldest surviving text on stagecraft in the world. It is believed to have been written by Bharata Muni between 200 AD and 200 BC. However there are scholars who believe that it may have been written by various authors at different times.
It is believed that the Natya Shastra is based upon the much older Natya Sutras. Unfortunately there are no surviving copies of the Natya Sutras so we have no way to know for sure.
The Natya Shastra is incredibly wide in its scope. It covers stage-design, music, dance, makeup, virtually every aspect of stagecraft. It is very important to the musician because it is the only text which gives such detail about the music and instruments of the period.
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