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Prehistoric Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka
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Prehistoric Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka
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From the Jacket

 

Prehistoric Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka by Dr. Yashodhar Mathpal is the first exhaustive study of a single rock art site in India. It covers the entire art activity in the form of paintings found in 133 caves at Bhimbetka, Central India, the largest concentration of rock paintings in the country.

For the first time copies of prehistoric cave paintings have been made on the spot, in original colour, to scale and with original background. All the superimpositions of figures have been copied.

For the first time Indian rock paintings are dated 10, 000 years back on the firm ground of the archaeological findings from the excavations of painted caves. For the first time Indian rock paintings have been studied in their historical perspective.

For example the first discovery of rock paintings was made in India 12 years before their discovery of Altamira in Spain. India is also the first country to recognize the antiquity of rock paintings. For the first time too the maximum literary, ethnologic and archaeological evidences have been researched for evidence of drawing material, motivation and the antiquity of rock paintings.

In his foreword to this monumental work Professor H.D. Sankalia says: "This work is unique because for the first time prehistoric Indian paintings are evaluated by a scholar who is artist by nature and training and a trained prehistorian, and thus eminently qualified to write on the subject."

Besides being an artist of repute, Dr. Yashodhar Mathpal, 44, is a prehistorian and student of Indian art. A first class Master of Arts and diploma holder in fine arts, he worked eight years under the guidance of Professor H. D. Sankalia and Professor V.N. Misra, the doyens of Indian archaeology.

Mathpal, who has won a gold medal and several other prizes for his water colours, has nine one-man shows of his paintings and four dozen research article to his credit.

He has discovered rock art sites and made comprehensive studies of the paintings at Bhimbetka and of Shyamala hill in Madhya Pradesh. He participated in the archaeological excavations at Bhimbetka and directed the excavation of a painted cave near Bhopal. As a post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Mathpal is currently engaged in a study of the rock paintings of Central India. He is also working for the establishment of a folk culture museum at Nainital, Uttar Pradesh.

 

Foreword

Prehistoric Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka is the first exhaustive and comprehensive study of a single site of this kind in the country. It covers all art activity in the form of painting on the walls and ceilings of 133 rock shelters on Bhimbetka hill in the Vindhyas 45 kilometres southeast of Bhopal. A total of 6214 drawings have been copied in 400 compositions.

These drawing include human figures, engaged in different activities, 29 animal species, decorative designs, handprints and inscriptions. These figures, drawn over a span of nearly 8000 years, are found in 16 superimposed layers. On the basis of superimposition, subject matter and style they are divided into nine phases (A-I) and three periods (prehistoric, transitional and historic). Each figure has been studied according to subject, colour, style, technique, phase and location. All the figures are drawn in original colour, to scale and on the spot. This is a unique feature of the work not attempted before by any scholar.

Generally, students of Indian rock art have attached very little importance to faithful recording of the paintings. They have used the freehand sketching method and ignored the size, colour and location of a figure. Only well, preserved and sharply visible drawings have been copied. Neither the stratigraphy of the paintings nor the whole compositions have been recorded. The relationship of paintings with excavated materials-colour nodules, stone implements-was also not established in earlier studies.

Dr Mathpal has spent nearly a year copying the drawings and four years in their analysis. So far nobody in India has attempted to reproduce the cave paintings in such faithful detail. He also studied the paintings of other principal rock art sites and has compared the Bhimbetka paintings with those of other Indian sites as well as with African, European and Australian rock paintings. He has also compared the rock paintings with Indian Chalcolithic pottery designs and tribal art.

The book contains an uptodate and comprehensive record of all the rock art sites in the country and a brief account of the same art in the other continents.

Richly illustrated with coloured plates, black-and-white drawings, maps and tables, this work is unique because for the first time prehistoric Indian paintings are evaluated by a scholar who is an artist by nature and raining and a trained prehistorian, and thus eminently qualified to write on the subject.

 

Contents
  Foreword ix
  Acknowledgements xi
  List of Illustrations xiii
  List of Tables xvii
  Abbreviations xix
  Glossary xx
1 PROBLEM AND METHODOLOGY 3
  Problem 3
  Methodology 3
2 HISTORY OF ROCK PAINTING RESEARCH 9
  Rock Paining 11
  Discovery of Rock Painting 12
  Principal Rock Painting Sites of India 14
3 BHIMBETKA 27
  Physical Aspects 27
  Geology 28
  Climate 29
  Flora 29
  Fauna 29
  People 30
  Antiquity of Bhimbetka 30
  Mythological and Historical Background of Bhimbetka 32
  Previous Work 33
4 DISRIBUTION AND DESCRIPTION OF ROCK SHELTERS PAINTIGS 37
  Group A 38
  Group B 49
  Group C 54
  Group D 71
  Group E 72
  Group F 77
5 SUBJECT OF ROCK PAINTINGS 93
  Figures 93
  Scenes 138
  Mythology 154
  Material Culture 162
  Nature 165
  Decoration 166
  Miscellaneous 167
6 REPRESENTATION OF FIGURES 170
  Style 170
  Pose and Posture 178
  Size of Figures 178
  Composition 179
  Psychology 180
  Action and Movement 181
7 TECHNIQUES AND MOTIVATION OF ROCK PAINTINGS 185
  Paintings Techniques 185
  Painting Material 187
  Painting Process 197
  Motivation 197
8 RELATIVE CHRONOLOGY, COMPARATIVE EVALUATION AND ANTIQUITY OF ROCK PAINTINGS 205
  Chronology 205
  Comparative Evaluation of Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka 212
  Antiquity of Bhimbetka Paintings 218
9 CONCLUSION 225
  Bibliography 229
  Index 235

Sample Pages

















Prehistoric Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka

Item Code:
IDK021
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
1984
Size:
10.6" X 8.4"
Pages:
256 (B/W Illus: 83, Maps: 6)
Other Details:
weight of book 1.0 kg
Price:
$40.00   Shipping Free
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From the Jacket

 

Prehistoric Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka by Dr. Yashodhar Mathpal is the first exhaustive study of a single rock art site in India. It covers the entire art activity in the form of paintings found in 133 caves at Bhimbetka, Central India, the largest concentration of rock paintings in the country.

For the first time copies of prehistoric cave paintings have been made on the spot, in original colour, to scale and with original background. All the superimpositions of figures have been copied.

For the first time Indian rock paintings are dated 10, 000 years back on the firm ground of the archaeological findings from the excavations of painted caves. For the first time Indian rock paintings have been studied in their historical perspective.

For example the first discovery of rock paintings was made in India 12 years before their discovery of Altamira in Spain. India is also the first country to recognize the antiquity of rock paintings. For the first time too the maximum literary, ethnologic and archaeological evidences have been researched for evidence of drawing material, motivation and the antiquity of rock paintings.

In his foreword to this monumental work Professor H.D. Sankalia says: "This work is unique because for the first time prehistoric Indian paintings are evaluated by a scholar who is artist by nature and training and a trained prehistorian, and thus eminently qualified to write on the subject."

Besides being an artist of repute, Dr. Yashodhar Mathpal, 44, is a prehistorian and student of Indian art. A first class Master of Arts and diploma holder in fine arts, he worked eight years under the guidance of Professor H. D. Sankalia and Professor V.N. Misra, the doyens of Indian archaeology.

Mathpal, who has won a gold medal and several other prizes for his water colours, has nine one-man shows of his paintings and four dozen research article to his credit.

He has discovered rock art sites and made comprehensive studies of the paintings at Bhimbetka and of Shyamala hill in Madhya Pradesh. He participated in the archaeological excavations at Bhimbetka and directed the excavation of a painted cave near Bhopal. As a post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Mathpal is currently engaged in a study of the rock paintings of Central India. He is also working for the establishment of a folk culture museum at Nainital, Uttar Pradesh.

 

Foreword

Prehistoric Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka is the first exhaustive and comprehensive study of a single site of this kind in the country. It covers all art activity in the form of painting on the walls and ceilings of 133 rock shelters on Bhimbetka hill in the Vindhyas 45 kilometres southeast of Bhopal. A total of 6214 drawings have been copied in 400 compositions.

These drawing include human figures, engaged in different activities, 29 animal species, decorative designs, handprints and inscriptions. These figures, drawn over a span of nearly 8000 years, are found in 16 superimposed layers. On the basis of superimposition, subject matter and style they are divided into nine phases (A-I) and three periods (prehistoric, transitional and historic). Each figure has been studied according to subject, colour, style, technique, phase and location. All the figures are drawn in original colour, to scale and on the spot. This is a unique feature of the work not attempted before by any scholar.

Generally, students of Indian rock art have attached very little importance to faithful recording of the paintings. They have used the freehand sketching method and ignored the size, colour and location of a figure. Only well, preserved and sharply visible drawings have been copied. Neither the stratigraphy of the paintings nor the whole compositions have been recorded. The relationship of paintings with excavated materials-colour nodules, stone implements-was also not established in earlier studies.

Dr Mathpal has spent nearly a year copying the drawings and four years in their analysis. So far nobody in India has attempted to reproduce the cave paintings in such faithful detail. He also studied the paintings of other principal rock art sites and has compared the Bhimbetka paintings with those of other Indian sites as well as with African, European and Australian rock paintings. He has also compared the rock paintings with Indian Chalcolithic pottery designs and tribal art.

The book contains an uptodate and comprehensive record of all the rock art sites in the country and a brief account of the same art in the other continents.

Richly illustrated with coloured plates, black-and-white drawings, maps and tables, this work is unique because for the first time prehistoric Indian paintings are evaluated by a scholar who is an artist by nature and raining and a trained prehistorian, and thus eminently qualified to write on the subject.

 

Contents
  Foreword ix
  Acknowledgements xi
  List of Illustrations xiii
  List of Tables xvii
  Abbreviations xix
  Glossary xx
1 PROBLEM AND METHODOLOGY 3
  Problem 3
  Methodology 3
2 HISTORY OF ROCK PAINTING RESEARCH 9
  Rock Paining 11
  Discovery of Rock Painting 12
  Principal Rock Painting Sites of India 14
3 BHIMBETKA 27
  Physical Aspects 27
  Geology 28
  Climate 29
  Flora 29
  Fauna 29
  People 30
  Antiquity of Bhimbetka 30
  Mythological and Historical Background of Bhimbetka 32
  Previous Work 33
4 DISRIBUTION AND DESCRIPTION OF ROCK SHELTERS PAINTIGS 37
  Group A 38
  Group B 49
  Group C 54
  Group D 71
  Group E 72
  Group F 77
5 SUBJECT OF ROCK PAINTINGS 93
  Figures 93
  Scenes 138
  Mythology 154
  Material Culture 162
  Nature 165
  Decoration 166
  Miscellaneous 167
6 REPRESENTATION OF FIGURES 170
  Style 170
  Pose and Posture 178
  Size of Figures 178
  Composition 179
  Psychology 180
  Action and Movement 181
7 TECHNIQUES AND MOTIVATION OF ROCK PAINTINGS 185
  Paintings Techniques 185
  Painting Material 187
  Painting Process 197
  Motivation 197
8 RELATIVE CHRONOLOGY, COMPARATIVE EVALUATION AND ANTIQUITY OF ROCK PAINTINGS 205
  Chronology 205
  Comparative Evaluation of Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka 212
  Antiquity of Bhimbetka Paintings 218
9 CONCLUSION 225
  Bibliography 229
  Index 235

Sample Pages

















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