Madhuri Chavan Blog

Old Indian Paintings- Evolution of Indian Art of Paintings
26.04.2016 14:34

                                                                            Old Indian Paintings

In ancient times, India had always been prosperous with uniqueness of art, culture and traditions. Several 30,000 years old ancient murals (painting carved in stones, walls or on rigid structure) in Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, shows huge domain of ancient culture of paintings. Paintings related to Buddhist Literature has been found in Ajanta Caves are considered among some of the survived ancient Indian paintings.


Since pre-historic times, Old Indian Paintings, represent a continuous evolution (though intruptted for some periods) in the history of Ancient Indian Art. Ancient art paintings can be described as murals and miniatures (paintings, painted on perishable material such as paper, cloth or leaves of palm tree). Many manuscripts pertaining to Buddhist Literature, painted on leaves of palm tree with wooden book cover has been found.


History of Old Indian Paintings


Evidence of around 40000 years’ old paintings has been found yet all over the world. It is belief that those paintings of horses, rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, mammoth and humans (often hunting) were painted by Neanderthals rather than early modern humans. There are several Old Indian Paintings, around 32000 are found in India.

Several murals of early medieval times, around 2nd century BC - 10th century AD has been found in more than 20 locations in India. Most of the murals are found in caves or rock-cut chambers. Ajanta, Bagh, Sittanavasal, Armamalai Cave (Tamil Nadu), Ravan Chhaya rock shelter, Kailasanatha temple in Ellora Caves, is the places where most significant murals has been found.

As the time passed, ancient people discovered new methods of painting. They started to paint on perishable material such as cloth, paper and leaves instead of stones or some rigid structure. Buddhism related manuscripts are example of beginning of miniature era of Old Indian Painting. 


Western Indian Miniature Paintings were developed in western part of India (mostly in Rajasthan) in 10th century. Various kind of painting can easily be seen in hastprat (small hand written books) of Vaishnav and Jain communities. Local Rajput ruler showed their great interest in art of painting. 

Mughal Art Paintings have a great contribution in history of Old Indian Paintings. Many Mughal dynasty emperors, including Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan had taken great interest in art. Humayun was fond of art of painting. He took two elite Persian artists, named Abd-us-samad and Mir-Sayyid Ali with him when he returned back to India and era of Mughal Art Paintings was began.


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