Friday, 3 December 2021

DEXTERITY OF INDIAN ART

Creativity was initiated with the very first step homo sapiens took on the surface of Earth. Ideas to create tools, food, shelter and language apparently evolved into creation of civilization, writings, communities and beliefs. When human species moved from Africa and landed in India and subcontinents, they encountered a land full of resources, opportunities and benefit to attain livelihood. An idea of how the ancient inhabitants made arrangements for living and continuously were in process of progression is enchanting. People are not considered civilized unless they know how to write. The different forms of writings prevalent in India today are all derived from the ancient scripts. This is also true for the language that we speak today. The language we use has roots in the ancient times which has developed through the ages.



Concluding the words what we write and speak today came from the fingers of the early humans residing in the caves, where the art of hand prints signified their identity recited the story of their existence. Some formation of mutated figures of humans and animals suggests that they may have believed in extramundane powers and hence, it is never wrong to say that the actual potential to belief and create come from early humans in us.


The Indic or Indus culture is world famous for its town planning and ideas for smelting copper and tin to forge it into bronze, though not first, they gave us some fine artefacts to explain us the dexterity of metallurgy. The seals and scriptures excavated exemplify their brilliance to create their own language which was a collection of human and animal figures, innovative signs and mythological characters. Not fond of paintings the Harappan people gave a major eye on sculptures and architecture. It is said that we have got the brains to build such a peculiar construction planning from Indus culture. Believing in powers that are way compelling than human capacity rooted the culture of religion. Early or modern humans are somehow connected to a force that make him believe in heritage, traditions and religion. Art was the dominant way to carry forward the stories, platitudes and epics in form of paintings, sculptures, scriptures and architecture to the succeeding generations in ancient India.


Today we can see the astonishing examples of Buddhist influenced architecture and art mainly from Mauryan Empire and Shunga dynasty to late periods of Kushan empire, sometimes Gupta and Pala eras, where not only Stupas, stamba, Chaityas and Viharas but paintings and scripts were also added to the Indian patronage. Vakataka dynasty and Rashtrkutas further gave Buddhism a gleaming light by putting in their contribution in fabrication of Ajanta and Ellora rock cut caves and murals. Hindus and Jains also imitated the method of hewing caves out of the rock to suit their purpose mainly at Badami, Aihole, Ellora, Elephanta, Aurangabad and Mamallapuram under the patronage of Chaulakya, succeeding Rashtrakutas and contemporary Pallavas. The period under Gupta patronage fully deserves the name ‘the golden age’ of Indian art and culture. They added some magnificent architectural designs, majorly Hindu temples and sculptures to Indian heritage.

© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

With the continuous evolvement and progression of dynasties, architectural designs also got distinguished, mainly for temples, into Nagara styles in Northern parts and Dravidian and Vesara styles in southern parts of the country. Indian art was advancing on good pace with diverse influences of numerous regions, from Rajasthan in West to Odisha in East, from Kashmir in North to Tamil Nadu in south, when the Indo Islamic culture stepped into Indian lands, carrying a totally new style of art and architecture and hence a mutation was born, with the name Mughal art. Mughal art and architecture soon spread widely, especially during the period of Akbar and Shahjahan. Earlier Indian dynasties never focused much on paintings but on carvings and cuttings, after Mughal invasion Indian painting got an elevation show-casing the miniature style of works being merged with Rajasthani, Rajput and pahadi styles of miniatures. Soon after the boon of Indo Islamic culture the European touch came into the lands. The east India company, though fascinated by Indian art formations favoured their European appeal of works. They rooted many schools to indulge a European allure for satisfy their artistic desires.Indians soon adapted their former cultural themes with a new blend of styles stepping aside the European admirers’ hence giving birth to the modern and contemporary forms of arts. Though culture and heritage has always played a central role in Indian arts but the techniques and styles kept on evolving from generations to generations. The prints laid by the early human has always been in our DNA. Influence might be seen in form of language, visual arts, performing arts, religious or cultural arts and in us itself.



Text by 

Sanchita Sharma@Art Blogazine


1 Image: BULL during various periods and times. Bhimbetka caves, Indus valley, Maurya era, Shunga dynasty, Ajanta caves, Chandella dynasty, Nandalal Bose, M.F. Hussain, Subodh Gupta.

2 image http://jameelcentre.ashmolean.org/object/LI118.86, Source: google/image 

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