In India, the earliest traces of paintings can be attributed to the pre-historic period. These paintings are done on the caves of Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh. On the quartzite walls of the rock shelters these paintings were executed with the help of mineral pigments, predominantly, ochre. These paintings have shown several animal and human figures, hunting scenes and the animals in standing, running, and grazing positions.

When we explore the literary sources we find various references of paintings in the early periods of Christian era. For instance, the dramatic work Mudrarakshasa gives references to patas (paintings) along with details on Yama-pata, Cauka-pata and dighala-pata. Similarly, in another historical work, Vishnudharmottara, a section chitrasutra elaborates the basic tenets of painting. The early Buddhist work, Vinayapitaka also gives reference to the existence of painted figures on many royal buildings.

During Satavahana period and the period following that various beautiful murals were done in Ajanta and in other places like the Mahadeo hills, Ellora temples and Bagh caves. Based on these factors the period between 4th to 6th centuries AD is known as golden period of Indian arts. Pallava and Chola reign in the southern part of India also encouraged painting along with sculptures.

Pala kings in Bengal gave immense support to the cause of paintings during the period of 9th century to 15th century. These paintings have been found on the palm leaves and the covers of the manuscripts. These paintings are called by some historians as the earliest instances of miniature paintings.

During Mughal rule, miniature paintings reached at pinnacle of their glory. Meanwhile several kinds of painting styles originated in different parts of India. Several folk art forms and tribal paintings became the integral part of Indian culture.

Source by Rajneesh Dubey

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