The story of Indian art is also the story of the oldest and the most resilient culture on earth. It is seen as an amalgamation of indigeneous and outside influences, yet having a unique character and distictiveness of its own. Indian arts is also an art of social, political and religious influences. It changed and evolved with the evolution of a civilisation which was full of remarkable innvotions in all ares of artistic expression.
Indian art features spirals and curvaceous lines, vines and tendrils, round-figured goddesses, circular amulets, coloured gemstones, arches and domes, haloed deities, crescent moons, and the globe of the sun. Indian sculpture and paintings depict the divesity, colour and spontaneity of this country and are representations of the all-encompassing nature of Indian culture.
The Next golden chapter of Indian sculpture opens in the 3rd century BC, when the Mauryan emperor Ashoka adopted Buddhism and set out on a mission to spred the teachings of the faith as far and wide as possible. He had 85,000 stupas or dome-shaped monumets constructed with the teachings of Biddhism engraved on rocks and pillars. These incriptions which served as edicts can be seen in Buddhist monuments in Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The lion capital of the pillar is now the official emblem of the Indian Republic and the sacred wheel of law or the dharamachakra is symbolic of the the first sermon that Buddha delivered at Sarnath.
AJANTA AND ELLORA – North-east of Mumbai, near Auangabad are two astonishing series of temples carved out of living rock over the course of fourteen centuries. During the 4th century AD. in a remote valley, work began on the Ajanta caves to create a complex of Buddhist monasteries and prayer halls. As centuries passed, numerous Buddhist monks and artisans excavated a set of twenty-nine caves, some cells, monasteries and Buddhist temples. All of these were carved from rock cliff at Ajanta. These caves are adorned with alaborates sculptures and paintings which have withstood the ravage of time.
KHAJURAHO – The tranquil town of Khajuraho, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh boasts of the best medieval temples in India, known all over the world for thier erotic sculptures. These glorious tempels are the state’s most famous attraction. The temples of Khajuraho displays a wealth of sculpture beauty, evoking the grandeur of the snow-capped Himalayas as well as the earthly pleasures of life.
MINIATURES PAINTING – At first glance, an Indian miniature painting, to the uninitiated, appears nothing more than a cultter and tangle of pastorals settings, dominated by masculine and feminine figures. Yet these scenes are not detached visions of artistic expression but provide the basis of Indian music and art forms. Most of these masternity works are visual creations of emotional and perceptive concepts that depict the ragas or musical modes of Indian classical music. Miniature painters employed at various medieval courts, discovered the potential of limitless self-expression in their depiction and today these are 130 known sets of such miniatures.
INDIAN HANDICRAFTS – India has the widest variety of handicrafts anywhere in the world. However diverse and intricate the range of handicraft forms producted by Indian craftmen, the root of the creative process has always been the artisan tradition. It presents both the widest canavas of creative activity and the boadest spectrum of development.
The patterns that the handicraft traditions in India were to take and which were to survive for years, apper already mature and firmly established in the cities of the Indus valley.
The classical handicraft tradition flowered around rulers and their courts and the temples built to glorify the gods. India’s rural arts are the visual expression and technological processes of people living at several cultural, religious and sociologocal levels.
Indian arts and handicrafts cover a wide range and use a variety of raw material. Popular arts and handicrafts are clay craft, wood work, stonework, textile, ivory, basketry & mat weaving, leather, toys, papier mache & shell metals forms, glass, theatre, crafts.