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Cave paintings in India

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Cave paintings in India

Almost all early painting in India survives in caves, as very few buildings from Ancient India survive, and though these were probably often painted, the work has been lost. The history of cave paintings in India or rock art range from drawings and paintings from prehistoric times, beginning around 30,000 BCE in the caves of Central India, typified by those at the Bhimbetka rock shelters and Aapchand rock shelters to elaborate frescoes at sites such as the rock-cut artificial caves at Ajanta and Ellora, extending as late as the 8th - 10th century CE.


Early medieval caves

There are known more than 10000 locations around India containing murals from this period, mainly natural caves and rock-cut chambers. The highest achievements of this time are the caves of Ajanta, Bagh, Sittanavasal, Armamalai Cave (Tamil Nadu), Ravan Chhaya rock shelter, Kailasanatha temple in Ellora Caves.

Ajanta frescoes

The Frescoes of Ajanta are paintings in the Ajanta Caves which are situated near Aurangabad in Maharashtra. The caves are carved out of large rocks. Inside many of the caves are frescoes.

Frescoes are paintings which are done on wet plaster in which colours become fixed as the plaster dries. The Ajanta Frescoes have a special importance of their own. They are found on the walls and ceilings at Ajanta. The paintings reflect different phases of Indian Culture from jain tirthankar mahaveer's birth to his nirvana in the 8th Century AD.

The frescoes have degraded slightly, due to the effect of flash photography. Photography here is not banned. They depict themes of court life, feasting, processions, men and women at work, festivals, various natural scenes including animals, birds and flowers. The artists used shading to give a three-dimensional effect.

1500m away to the north of Ajanta, beautiful frescoes have been found. Though the themes in these paintings are both secular and religious, they do depict some aspect of Buddhist life and rituals. One of the most famous paintings show a procession of elephants. Another depicts a dancer and women musicians. These have been influenced by Ajanta style of paintings. These frescoes show a strong resemblance to the frescoes of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka.

Cave Paintings in Ellora

Ellora Caves are located about 18 miles from the city of Aurangabad in Chamadari Hills. Pre-historic paintings were actually engraved in five Ellora caves. Ellora Paintings can be organized in two series. The first set of paintings depicts images of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu and was developed while the caves were engraved. The second set of images focuses on images of Lord Shiva with his followers, Apsaras etc and was developed centuries later from the formation of caves.

Cave Paintings in Bagh

Bagh Caves are located in Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh on the banks of river Baghani. There were originally 9 caves cut in the lofty hills but only 4 of them are destroyed. The paintings in these caves were engraved in the time period of 500 AD to 700 AD.


Cave paintings in India Wikipedia

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