India ~ Ancient Art History


Each era is unique in its distinctive culture. In the same way Indian art forms have continuously evolved over thousands of years. In ancient India, various art forms like paintings, architecture and sculpture evolved. The history of art in ancient India begins with prehistoric rock paintings. Such rock paintings can be seen in the Bhimbetaka paintings, belonging to the prehistoric age. Thereafter, an advanced town planning is seen in Harappa and Mohenjodaro, with their centrally planned cities indicating a highly developed architecture. Another remarkable example of sculpture from Harappan civilization comes in the form of the dancing girl from Mohenjodaro.
India | Ancient Art History
Alongside the art forms like architecture, paintings and sculpture, there have been evolving, changing, transforming, folk and tribal art traditions in India. These art forms are expression of people belonging to different cultural and social groups of India. It is the expression of people whose life is tuned to the rhythms of nature and its laws of cyclic change and whose life is knotted with natural energy. It's been a tradition in India that gods and legends are transformed into contemporary forms and familiar images. Fairs, festivals and local deities play a vital role in the development of these arts forms.
It is an art where life and creativity are inseparable. The tribal arts have a unique sensitivity, as the tribal people possess an intense awareness very different from the settled and urbanized people. Their minds are supple and intense with myth, legends, snippets from epic, multitudinous gods born out of dream and fantasy. Their art is an expression of their life and holds their passion and mystery.

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History
The use of symbolic forms in India is as old as the Harappan seals. The fire altars of the Vedic period, with their astronomical and mathematical significance also play an important role in the evolution of the later temples. It was followed by a period in the history of Indian art that is important for rock-cut caves and temple architecture. The Buddhists initiated the rock-cut caves, Hindus and Jains started to imitate them at Badami, Aihole, Ellora, Salsette, Elephanta, Aurangabad and Mahabalipuram. The rock-cut art has continuously evolved, since the first rock cut caves, to suit different purposes, social and religious contexts, and regional differences.
India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History
The History of India begins with the Indus Valley Civilization and the coming of the Aryans. These two phases are generally described as the pre-Vedic and Vedic periods. The earliest literary source that sheds light on India's past is the Rig Veda. It is difficult to date this work with any accuracy on the basis of tradition and ambiguous astronomical information contained in the hymns. It is most likely that Rig Veda was composed between 1,500 B.C. and 1,000 B.C. In the fifth century, large parts of India were united under Ashoka.
India | Ancient Art History

The 6th Century B.C. was a period of great tumult in India. The kingdom of Magadha, one of the 16 great Janapadas had become paramount over other kingdoms of the Ganges Valley. This period also saw the emergence of various heterodox sects in India. This was the time when Buddhism and Jainism emerged as popular protestant movements to pose a serious challenge to Brahmanic orthodoxy.
This period was followed by the Mauryas of whom the most famous was Ashoka the Great. The boundaries of his empire extended from Kashmir and Peshawar in the North and Northwest to Mysore in the South and Orissa in the East - but his fame rests not so much on military conquests as on his celebrated renunciation of war.

India | Ancient Art History
For the next four hundred years, after the great Mauryas, India remained politically disunited and weak. It was repeatedly raided and plundered by foreigners. Stability was restored by the Guptas. The Gupta age was the period of peace and prosperity and witnessed an unprecedented flowering of art, literature and the sciences. This period also saw the beginning of Hindu temple architecture.
After the Guptas there was only a brief afterglow, in the time of Harshavardhana of Kannauj. A Chinese traveler, Huen-tsang visited India from 629-645 A.D. during the reign of Harshavardhana. His account gives us an opportunity to note the changes that had taken place in the lives of the Indian people since the days of the Guptas.
India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History

India | Ancient Art History
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