Since Primitive age, humans used art to express their ideas, thoughts and communicate with each other. They left their imprints through art forms which included painting, sculptures and carvings. Deciphering these art forms, helps us better understand their lives including their ways of hunting, tools used, animals, social lives including dance, music, social gatherings etc.
As men settled over the years, the art forms also began to flourish. The painting became bolder with the usage of better colours, strokes and sculpting/carving became finer with better and sharper tools. The invention of the wheel gave birth to Pottery. The relics and remains of Harappan pots give us insights into the wares they used, cooked and stored. The recently discovered Keezhadi, an archaeological site in Tamil Nadu shows various artefacts including gold ornaments, chess games made of ivory, copper coins, terracotta toys, Iron spears, knives, pots with tamizhi (தமிழி) inscriptions. The graffiti in these are similar to Indus valley civilization and pushes back the tamils origination to 6th Century BC. This is considered historic finding in Indian history and shows Tamils lived in a civilized society about 2600 years ago.
Global art : Most of the art that we see across the world including the Egyptian tomb painting, Roman sculptures or Indian paintings predominantly depicted god, soul, life and the popular beliefs of the respective regions & religions. Aesthetic aspects like music, poetry, dance, drama, paintings, pottery were given equal importance (in comparison to the economic advancement of their reign) by many kings/emperors and art in turn, reflected the glory of the kings, their deed as can be seen on the stone writing of the temple walls.
Some of these art forms have survived through several centuries and are an example of the exemplary work of the artisans of those centuries. Some of these were not just meant to adorn walls but to narrate the stories, fables to the next generation. Epics and mythological works still inspire various artists in India.
Indian art: Mughals have left the maximum footprints in India building some of the best monuments that have stood the test of time, one of them being the glorious marble-made visual treat -Tajmahal. Rajputs glorified Lord Krishna and brought to light, the vrindavan and the various aspects of Krishna’s life through their mesmerising paintings. The Tanjore paintings are a hallmark of India’s rich cultural legacy. Painted in vibrant shades embellished in colourful semi-precious stones, pearls, glass pieces and gold, they form some of the world’s masterpieces done on surfaces of wood, mica or ivory. Miniature, Madhubani, Kalamhari, patachitra paintings of India have their own distinctive, geometrical designs and attention to details.
Temple – The epitome of art: India’s cultural extravaganza is noted for its magnificent temples, imposing monuments, paintings, woodcrafts and sculptures. Temple depicts the people’s way of life, spiritual aspects of attaining god, bronze sculptures of gods and goddesses, paintings on the walls and roofs and intricate stone carvings that can keep anyone spellbound!
Jewellery -Indian ornaments included traditional stone-encrusted jewellery that consists of earrings, nose drops, neckpieces, waist belts as well as anklets and bracelets. Goldsmith, silversmith have perfected their art of making intricate, exquisite designs of jewellery out of gold and silver bars that are a treasure trove in every Indian household.
Music and Dance: Indian Music initially focussed on singing hymns, bhajans or praises of gods or religious belief systems. Dance & drama forms in India recreated the epics of India, served as a medium to express love, compassion, anger and other emotions of the characters they depicted. People in villages sung folk /tribal music to express their happiness, joy of harvest, the birth of a child, marriages and even mourning and grief. Music always intertwined with the everyday lives of people’s rendering a medium to express themselves and celebrate occasions. Tribal dances and folk dances were unorganized dance forms where people gathered and celebrated in large numbers as opposed to the classics which are performed in stages after years of dedicated learning and practice, as mark of submission to god or religious sentiments.