Cave Paintings in India
With great certainty, it can be said that nature is the source of Indian culture. Indeed, be it Indian music, dance, religion, heritage, ancient buildings, India largely derives its inspiration from the Mother Nature.
Another such striking example is the cave paintings of India. Dating back to the pre-historic times, Mesolithic period in particular bearing 30,000 years, these paintings exemplify strong affiliations of Indian sentiments to nature. All you need to do is explore the Ajanta, Ellora, Sittanavasal, Bagh Caves etc.
Delving deeper, we find that as per the evidence, it has been established that these paintings were not confined to mere decorations but substantial signs of ongoing habitation could also be found.
Buddhism sprang in the Indian context and Ajanta caves, located approximately 100 km from Aurangabad, exist to the substantiate the same. The paintings largely owe their existence to Mahayana sect of Buddhism. Life of Buddha is depicted in the form of many portraits, illustrations and other decorative representations.
Again, enjoying 18 miles of proximity to the city of Aurangabad, Ellora caves are nestled amidst the Chamadari Hills. The paintings, present in the five caves depict the supremacy of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. The other part illustrates the procession of Apsaras and Shaivas.
Dating back to 5th and 7th century, Bagh paintings depict the mast exquisite traditions of Indian culture and heritage in its entirety.
Sittanavasal paintings corroborate the Indian composite culture as they represent an ancient Jain Monastery. Depicting the 9th century Pandyan period, nature can be seen in the form of birds, animals, fish, and people respecting nature.
Methods of Painting
Unusual from the modern perspective, prehistoric cave paintings in India have been made with the help of natural objects used to paint the walls of the caves. The carving of every rock with sharp tools or a spear remained the famous methodology.
In order to colour them, many things were used spanning from berries, charcoal, to clay and soot. Other articles used to draw included the straw, leaves, moss, or hair and sticks.
Symbolism in Cave Paintings
Various depictions particularly pertaining to nature, cave paintings in India primarily represent the cosmopolitan culture of India and highlight the Mother Nature in its entirety. The harmony and balance between man and nature portrayed in these cave paintings is laudable in many senses.
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