Chapter – 1

PREHISTORIC ROCK PAINTINGS

(Period: 2500 B.C. to 1500B.C.)

INTRODUCTION

Prehistoric artwork dates back to nearly 25,000 years ago and is found in many culturally diverse regions of the world and has been produced bent as a part of ritual. These artworks were carried out when the land was covered with forests; habitants took refuge under the rock in caves and hollow tree trunks, near streams or by rivers. most primitive paleolithic man were wanderers and moved from place to place.They lived on scavenging, hunting and food gathering. unwary of how to grow   his food, he survived on fruits, birds’ animals   raw meats etc.

Archeological studying these artworks discovered a large number of sites where primitive men took shelter in caves and believed that they likely had magic religious significance. such artworks are often divided into three forms: petroglyphs, which are carved into the rock surface; pictographs, which are painted onto the surface; and earth figures, engraved into the ground.

Rock paintings are found on cave walls and ceiling and evidence suggests that they were not merely for decorations. These paintings were located in areas of caves   that were not easily accessibly or have signs of ongoing habitations. Some theories hold that cave paintings may have been a way of communicating with others, while other theories ascribe a religious or ceremonial purpose to them. some are of the opinion that men were weak to fight with natural disasters and kill the big beasts, therefore they painted on the cave’s walls with wood stone and mud as painting would have magical powers and give them enough strength to combat.

The rock paintings are remarkably similar around the world with animal being a common subject, generally wild animals, suitable for hunting by humans, such as bison horses, elephants, sheep, goat’s aurochs and deer. Besides this image of human hands as well as abstract patterns called finger fluting are also found. mostly hand stencils are made by blowing pigment on a hand held to the wall are depicted.

Period: about the period of prehistoric scholars has different views, some says it was in the period of 25000 B.C.-15000 B.C. but on account of some findings we have to conclude that the period of prehistoric arts is 2500 B.C. TO 1500B.C. we find so many cave and wall paintings all over the world.

Location: The rock art have been discovered in many parts of India and world .in India the rock paintings have been found on the walls of the caves spread in the Kaimur range, Raigarh, Hosangabad, Mirzapur, Panchmadhi, Bhimbetka, Raichur etc.they are the earliest paintings. They have bold, strong lines and are executed mainly in vivid ochre, red white, yellow earth and black colors. They make colors by crushing “gerua”, real chalk, colored stone and boiled the powder, in the animal fat and then lifted the hot color with long brushes made up of straw and applied it on the rock face. This signifies that our ancestors knew how to make colors and brushes .at some places the art work is scratched on stones.

The themes of the art work are from the everyday events of eons ago like hunting, communal dancing, horse and elephant riding, animal fights, honey collection, decoration of bodies, disguises, masks and figures of animals etc. some of these paintings have survived thousands of years as dense forests and vegetation protected these rocks paintings from being lost to the vagaries of nature.

Our prehistoric paintings are similar to those found in metopes in Zimbabwe, Altamira in Spain and Lascaux in France. The simplicity ,directness  and vitality of primitive paintings  has inspired many great artist of the world .the most exclusive paleolithic sites in India ,which contains the rocks paintings and carvings  is Bhimbetka rock shelters ,located in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh ,45km south of Bhopal  at the southern edge of “Vindhyachal Hills” .the oldest paintings are considered to be 30,000 years old  and belong to the paleolithic and Mesolithic ages , chalcolithic ,early historic and even medieval times. Vegetable colors were used and lasted through the time because the drawings were generally made deep inside the niche or inner walls. Bhimbetka rock shelters were included the world heritage list in 1970.

The drawings and paintings can be classified under seven different periods.

Period 1- (Upper Paleolithic)

The highlight of this period is linear representation and geometric patterns. The prominent colors are green and red, depicting stick like human figure and huge figure of animal such as bison, tiger boars and rhinoceroses.

Period 2-(Mesolithic)

The highlight of this period is that stylized figures show linear decoration on the body. Besides animal and human figure hunting scenes are also depicted as type of weapons such as barbed spears, pointed sticks, bows and arrows are painted. The daily life is also portrayed in artworks, like communal dance, birds’ musical instruments, mother and children, pregnant women, men carrying dead animals, drinking and burials. the painting of this period is comparatively small in size.

Period 3(chalcolithic)

The drawing of this period reveals that the men became from food collector to food producer. This process helped the cave dwellers to come out of their area and were in contact with the agricultural communities of the malva plains, exchanging goods with them.

Period 4 and 5(early historic)

The paintings of this area are mainly in red, white and yellow color, the figure has a schematic and decorative style. The characteristics of this period is depiction of religious symbols, represented by figures of yaksha, tree gods and magical sky chariots. also, the association of riders, tunic like dresses and the existence of script are depicted.

Period 6 and 7- (medieval)

The paintings of this period are geometric, linear and more schematic, but the artistic style was not refined as it shows degeneration and crudeness. The cave dwellers prepared by the colors by combining manganese hematite and wooden coal.

 WIZARD’S DANCE

NAME:   WIZARD’S DANCE

MEDIUM:  MINERAL COLOR STONE

PERIOD: 2500 B.C. TO 1500 B.C. (Stone age)

LOCATION: BHIM BETHAKA CAVE 50Km SOUTH OF BHOPAL (M.P)

 SUBJECT MATTER / THEME: A ceremonial dance of the wizard’s like cave men to depict some joyful celebration or some ritualistic dance to please a god.

DESCRIPTION: the painting is on cave wall in Bhimbetka   of M.P. This is perhaps the earliest example of the development of music, dance theatre and use of masks.

On one side there is figure standing in a joyful mood with arms outstretched. there are two more figures are in the middle, one seated and one standing. they are wearing, masks on the face and horns on the heads. Thick black lines are drawn without any filling of color in them. the figure is simple, elongated, stick like and curved at places showing movement and high spirits. They are indulging in some dance ritual of prayer or a magical healing or pleasing a powerful jungle god.

Overall, we can say that this wall painting reminds of tribal dances nowadays with body paints. from times immemorial men has been involved in pleasing gods and nature by ritualistic dance and music.

 A ROARING ANIMAL

NAME: A ROARING ANIMAL

MEDIUM: MINERAL COLOR, STONE

PERIOD: 2500 B.C.  TO 150B.C.

LOCATION: BHIMBETHAKA CAVE  50 km SOUTH OF BHOPAL (M.P)

COURTSEY: CENTER OF CULTURAL RESOURCES AND TRAINING CENTER, NEW DELHI

SUBJECT MATTER: hunting scene depicting supremacy of human on other animals in the prehistoric era

 DESCRIPTION: This painting is taken from the wall of a cave in Bhimbetka of M.P in this painting some animals are drawn surrounding a man holding a long weapon like object. one animal is roaring towards a man standing in the center of the composition. on one side a peacock like bird can be seen along with other animals like bull, cow and deer etc. there is a simple stylization in forms which are reduced to simple rectangles and lines. the basic feature like humps or horns are added to these forms which are easily recognized. bold black lines are drawn without any filling of color in them. these simple lines and forms effectively show the skill and flow of the artist. there is a rare example of x – ray imagery because in one cow there is an unborn baby in a miniature form. This shows their development as intelligent beings who could communicate and express through art with the help of simple line drawings. The repetition of animal forms has created a rhythm and movement in the composition. The image above is also on the similar subject.

Here a wild bison is shown raging and attacking a man. He has empowered him as he (man) has now surrendered and is lying on the ground. this could be the hunting scene where the beast acted in defense because there are other human figures also surrounding it. This composition is colored in red to symbolize the bloodshed caused by the attack. the flat forms of the animal and figures lack detail. the large beasts and human depict the clear difference in power between the two species.

Chapter – 2

ART OF INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION

(Period: 3500 B.C.  to 2100 B.C.)

INTRODUCTION

The Indus valley civilization developed between 3500 B.C. to 2100 B.C. and flourished on the bank of river Indus. two major sites of this civilization along the river were, Harappa in north and Mohenjo-Daro in the south which are presently situated in Pakistan.

FOUNDER OF CIVILIZATION

This civilization came to notice through archeological surveys of India as they found fossils, skeletons and statues with other household goods. the inhabitants of this civilizations are linked with other culture on various grounds, likely: Kakashkiyai: The people of this community were like Sri Lankans. they used to have house of limestone.

Equatorial: the people of this kind had very high head and belonged to the Aryans.

Mongolians: These people were of Mongolian type, long face, short heighten, elongated high and pointed nose. They used to have beard but no mustaches.

CHARACTERISTICS OF CIVILIZATION

The exemplary creative work of civilization can be seen in many artworks: – utensils, seal and statues like

A. Mother Goddess

B. Dancing girl

C. Bull seal        

D. Male torso

E. Earthen jar etc.

1)Indus valley culture demonstrates the significance of animals especially bull, as they were necessary for farming and also had religious significance. People worshiped and sacrificed Bulls and its image was often depicted   on seals and was thought possess to power.

2)The advanced architecture of the Indus river valley contributed to the overall success of the civilization, also in farming and agriculture as complex irrigation canals were built.

3)There is one figure of seal, sitting in a yoga like position that seemed to represent god.

4)Indus valley people made small figure of human   using metal and clay. the figure of dancing girl in bronze show that people liked to dance. the dancing girl wears very less clothes but has lots of bangles in her arms and her hair is tied in plait.

5)The Indus valley people used to make terracotta utensils. These utensils were decorated with dietes, images women figure and geometrical patterns. Mostly the designs have been drawn with black ink on terracotta utensils and smoothed by rubbing further a shining texture is given to the pots and utensils.

6)The female of this period adorned themselves with ornaments, such as nose pins, bangles, earrings, armlets and bracelets etc. Different styles of hairdo were popular among women. Many things of daily use like hairpins, clips and combs have also been found. Beads are also made of terracotta. some gold and silver ornaments have also been found.

7)Male used to wear printed shawl.

8)Even skeletons of some animals such as dog, cow, cat, deer, sheep, and bulls of two types were found and in few places rabbits’ skeletons also found.

9)Types of seals have been found, mainly used for decoration, trading and also had religious significance.

10)A clay cart without wheels were also found.

 FAMOUS CITIES:

(i) Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa (now in Pakistan)

(ii) Roop Nagar in Punjab

(iii) Lothal in Gujrat

(iv) Kalibangan in Rajasthan

(v) Rangpur now in north Bangladesh

(vi) Alamgirpur (near Meerut 28 km from Delhi)

(vii) Banawali (fatehabad in Haryana)

(viii) Dhaula veera (near Jaipur in Rajasthan)

(ix) Some places in U.P

MOTHER GODDESS

NAME: MOTHER GODDES

MEDIUM: TERRACOTTA (BAKED CLAY)

PERIOD: CIRCA  2500 B.C

LOCATION: MOHENJODARO

SIZE: 22X8X5cm

COLLECTION: NATIONAL MUSEUM, NEW DELHI

THEME: A Terracotta idol of the fertility goddess

DESCRIPTION: It is one of the bets reserved large sized terracotta images representing the mother goddess. The significance of the board pan like attachments on both sides of the hairdo of the head of the goddess is quite unique. The pinched nose and ornamentation are flatly laid on the body and pressed on to the figure. The general folk-art effect in the figure is most interesting. she is wearing just a loin cloth with a gridle, small breasts uncovered; eyes are small balls (pellet)of clay. the sculptor of Mohenjo-Daro was skilled in his art and could create both realistically and stylistically. This sculpture of mother goddess and various other mother goddesses were worshiped as the bestowers/givers of fertility and prosperity. India is traditionally where more than 80% of its inhabitants are agriculturists who naturally worship god and goddesses of fertility and prosperity. She is perhaps the prototype of crude idol of one such goddess.

DANCING GIRL

NAME: DANCING GIRL

MEDIUM: BRONZE

PERIOD: CIRCA 2500 B.C

LOCATION: MOHENJODARO

SIZE :10.5X5X2.5 cm (4.1 inches) high

COLLECTION: NATIONAL MUSEUM, NEW DELHI

THEME: A SMALL BRONZE STATUE OF DANCING GIRL

DESCRIPTION: This is one of the greatest achievements of the artist of Mohenjo-Daro as the master of miniature. The bronze statue of dancing girl is only four inches high. And yet it speaks volume  of a metal caster’s excellent skills .this world famous figure shows  a female figure standing in a tribhanga  pose as  if relaxing after  a dance  number, with her right hand resting on her lip and the left hand entirely covered by the bangles  resting on the left leg forward .head is slightly tilted  and hair tightened with a ribbon upon shoulder. Eyes are closed; neck is decorated with a cowry shell necklace. Her arms and legs look disproportionate may be for the sake of simplicity. The dark medium of bronze is right for the dark negroid facial features. the feature does not have actually the resemblance to any particular female face. the lips and nose are thick and elongated, half closed eyes resemble the limestone bust of high priest. the physical details of the body are also very less except for small breast curve waist and bare groin. The female figure of the civilization is believed to be devoted to the power of fertility of women.

MALE TORSO

NAME: MALE TORSO

MEDIUM: TERRACOTTA (red limestone)

PERIOD: CIRCA 2500 B.C

LOCATION: HARAPPA

SIZE :9.2X5.8X3cm

COLLECTION: NATIONAL MUSEUM, NEW DELHI

THEME: A realistic male torso

DESCRIPTION: Male torso is an impressive example of stone carving and handling of three-dimensional volumes at Harappa nearly five thousand years ago. it is surprising that the sculptor of thousands of years ago at Harappa could produce figure as fine as Greek artistry from 5th century B.C.

The sculpture shows a muscular and robust male in absolutely realistic human details. the chest and stomach are given a perfect shape, giving a feeling of prama/ breath in the rounded belly. If it is seen from behind the roundness of shoulders and hips is incised by the line of spine in the center and a deep curve at waist. there is a hole at the neck where in the single heads or multiple heads could have been inserted or attached. the drill circles at the shoulders are unexplained and its arms and legs are broken. this study of body shows the mastery of the sculptor in using this medium.

There is a theory that the figure may have had several heads and arms because the pose of the figure is identical to the pose of shiva the lord of dance created several thousand years later for worship as well as for procession.

BULL SEAL

NAME: BULL SEAL

MEDIUM:  WHITE STONE

PERIOD: CIRCA 2500 B.C

LOCATION: MOHENJODARO

SIZE: 2.5X2.5X1.4 cms

COLLECTION: NATIONAL MUSEUM, NEW DELHI

THEME: Alow relief square seal of a humped bull with engravings on top on a photographic script.

DESCRIPTION: This zebu/humped bull seal is a fine example of animal study showing great strength and vigor of this bovine animal. such detailing is a great artistic achievement at such an early date.it is a square seal engraved in a photographic script. Although  the iconography can not be properly identified, it is likely that this popular cattle  motif is related to the significance of the bull as a fertility and lunar symbol in ascent Mesopotamia .it could be the leader who stands for heir  protection and ensures breeding and reproduction or it could just be an animal used to sacrifice / offering to god by a powerful tribe.

The embossed body of the bull is strong with wide curved large horns and a dominant hump; the folds of skin hanging from the neck are incised realistically. The seal made in a low relief has all the bodily details from the sharp horns to hardened hoofs carved thoroughly. This bull is perhaps the prototype of shiva’s bull Nandi. seals are another significant aspect of the Hindus art and craft. They were produced from mainly commercial purpose. These are engraved in a ‘photographic script’ often used as amulets (tavees)carried as modern identity cards. numerous square seals are found engraved with images of animals (wool, rhinoceros, elephant, etc.), fantastic beasts (unicorns)and human or divine figures. the seals were mostly made of steatite (soft stones found in rivers) with a loop for suspension on the opposite side covered with a mineral called natron and fired to obtain white surface.

PAINTED EARTHEN WAVE (JAR)

NAME: PAINTED EARTHEN WAVE (JAR)

MEDIUM: TERRACOTTA

LOCATION: MOHAN JO DARO

COLLECTION: NATIONAL MUSEUM, NEW DELHI

DESCRIPTION: In the excavated remains of the Indus civilization, plain poetry is more commonly found than the painted ones. Rare pieces of pottery are painted in several colors have also been found. This big jar was used as a storage jar for grains in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro period. this jar is made on potter’s wheel with skilled hands. after baking it has been painted and decorated with lines, angles, circles and arcs (geometrical patterns). Mostly the designs have been drawn with black color on terracotta utensils and then smoothened by rubbing. after that transparent is coating is given to the jars and spots. on this jar in particular is find a circular design in the center with horizontal lines   encircling the whole roundness of the vessel at the top and the bottom of the design. all pieces of pottery have very simple motifs and forms which indicates that their art had also reached a certain level of abstraction.

The shiny coating of Harrapan pottery is the earliest example of its kind in the ancient world.it is strange that the material they used at that time  was of such great  quality that even  after thousands of years, the shine on them is still intact.

Unit – 2

BUDDHIST JAIN AND HINDU ART

Unit – 3

Temples Sculptures bronze and Artistic Aspects of Indo-islamic Architectures