This is a unique volume in view of the fact that for the first time, it presents a comprehensive account of rock art heritage of India from the Himalayas to the Southern coast and from the Gujarat coast to the Odisha coast through collection of twenty two research based articles contributed by rock art specialists of the various regions of the Subcontinent. Running over to 508 pages of text supplemented by 81 figures and colour plates the volume would be a useful source material for students, researchers and public at large for understanding the Rock Art Heritage of India. The volume presents a spectacular account of rock art scenario of India; in which while North India and South India are pronounced largely by petroglyphs (engravings) with few specimen of Pictographs (Paintings) Central India comprising the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan that account for the largest concentration of rock pictures in the country (more than two-thirds) are featured by pictographs with few instances of petroglyphs.
This volume is dedicated to felicitate Professor V. H. Sonawne, an eminent Field Archaeologist in recognition of his seminal contributions to rock art researches in India.
Dr. Sadasiba Pradhan (b. 1955), M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D. D. Litt. and. P.G. Diploma-in-Archaeology served as Professor and Head of the Department in the Post-Graduate Department of History, Sambalpur University and in the Post-Graduate Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture & Archaeology, Utkal University. He was the recipient of the prestigious Charles Wallace British Council Fellowship for advanced Training and Research in Field Archaeology in Institute of Archaeology, UCL, London and the STARR. Foundation Visiting Senior Research Fellowship for research in Art History at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, (USA). In academic assignments he visited several other countries including France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and China. He is an acknowledged scholar of Art History and Archaeology and has to his credit several research publications besides nine books such as i) Agrarian and Political Movements in the State of Orissa, ii) Archaeological Sites of South Kosala, iii) Orissan History, Culture and Archaeology(ed.), iv) Rock Art in Orissa, v) Art and Archaeology of Orissa(ed.), vi) Lesser Known Monuments of Bhubaneswar, vii) Lesser Known Monuments of Puri, viii) Buddhist Heritage of Odisha, ix) Facets of Odishan History, Culture and Archaeology, x) Rock Art Heritage of Odisha . As many as 75 M.Phil. and 20 Ph.D. students of Sambalpur and Utkal University were awarded degrees under the research supervision of Prof. Pradhan. After retirement form University service in May 2015, he is presently engaged in a Major Research Project "Interpreting Rock Art of India".
Dr. Dibishada B. Garnayak (b. 1978), M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D. and P.G. Diploma in Archaeology was a Gold Medalist of Sambalpur University for securing First position in M.A in History. Before joining Archaeological Survey of India as a Deputy Superintending Archaeologist in 2015 he served as an Assistant Professor in Asmara University, Eritrea and Associate Professor in Mekelle University, Ethiopia. Dr. Garnayak is a promising Field Archaeologist who has published more than a dozen of research papers in various National and International Journals based on his field works in both the African Countries he served. He also authored monograph entitled Early Historic Archaeology of Odisha. His research interests arc Art, Architecture and Field Archaeology.
Of many things our ancestors left behind for us, none is more evocative than their early signature on rock , what we call "ROCK ART". Rock art includes all types of artistic expressions such as paintings, engravings, bruising and pecking on rock surface. With the exception of a few countries in Europe rock art is found around the world. These works of art provide first hand information on society , beliefs, rites, rituals, costumes, tools and implements and contemporary flora and fauna and above all man- nature relationship.
In the context of world archaeology, Indian archaeology and the contribution of Indian archaeologists is extremely significant. The archaeological survey of India (ASI) and different Indian universities and academic institutions are engaged not only in preserving and protecting the heritage but also trying to unravel various yet-unexplored aspect of the past. It is a matter of great happiness that a very large number of eminent people in the field of rock art have contributed papers which have been brought together as a felicitation volume for Prof. V. H. Sonawane.
Prof. V. H. Sonawane has been associated with important premier academic bodies of the country - Society of South Asian Archaeology, Central Advisory Board of Archaeology, National Institute of Oceanography, University Grants Commission, Deccan College, World Archaeological Congress, Indian Archaeological Society, Indian History and Culture Society and Rock Art Society of India.
Prof. Sonawane has distinguished himself both as a scholar and as a field worker. In the state of Gujarat he has undertaken a number of important projects and worked extensively on Rock Art and brought Gujarat in the ROCK ART map of India by reporting the first rock art site at Tarsang in 1971.
It was in a fine morning of 30th October 2007 at Ooty when Professor V.H. Sonawane and myself were relaxing in the hill station in the post 12th Annual RASI Congress held at Sulthan Bathery (Dist. Waynad, Kerala) I enquired Prof. Sonawane the date of his superannuation from University Service. He replied next year. Instantly then I proposed a Rock Art theme based Felicitation Volume. Since such a volume was overdue it was further discussed among RASI members in the next session of the Congress held at Bhopal and finally decided to bring out the volume on "Rock Art in India" with contributions from scholars working in different states/regions of the country. Needless to say the difficulties and hardship of editors in collecting, editing and publishing such volumes involving scholars from all over the country besides personal preoccupations and health hazards. At one point of time, we abandoned the idea of the volume but later on realized that at least for the sake of Rock Art the volume has to see the light of the day. While acknowledging our gratitude for their contributions we sincerely apologize to the contributors for the inordinate delay in publication of the volume.
Of the many things our ancestors left behind for us, none is more evocative than their early signatures on rock, what we call "Rock Art". Rock art includes all types of artistic expressions such as painting, engraving, bruising and pecking on natural rock surface of caves, rock shelters and boulders executed by our ancestors in the remote past. It is a global phenomenon with its antiquity going back to tens of thousands of years when men's subsistence economy was largely based on hunting and gathering. With the exception of a few countries in Europe rock art is found around the world. It is found everywhere where there was natural shelter for sheltering the prehistoric man. In the history of mankind, no work of fine art other than rock art has such a wide distribution lasting for such a long time. It constitutes the earliest written and visual document of the mankind - a very powerful means of expressing ancient artistic sophistication. It is a storehouse of information for archaeologists and historians in their efforts to reconstruct the life style of the peoples of the past. These works of art provide first hand information on society, beliefs, rites, rituals, costumes, tools and implements, technological attainments, means of subsistence, contemporary flora and fauna and above all man-nature relationship.
India is one of the three countries in the world with the largest concentration of rock art, the other two being Australia and South Africa. It is also significant to note that India pioneered rock art research in the world when the evidence of first petroglyphs were reported from Almora by Henwood as early as 1856. It was followed by Archibald Carlleyle's discovery of Stone Age paintings at Sohagighat in Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh in 1867-68, twelve years before the sensational discovery of Altamira cave paintings in Spain. Since then hundreds of rock art sites have been discovered and reported in the country, but hardly there is any effort to present them together for a holistic account of rock art in India. The present felicitation volume while honoring a distinguished and internationally acclaimed scholar in rock art makes an humble Endeavour to present a brief account of the rock art scenario of the country with articles contributed by scholars from different parts of the country who have the first hand information on rock art of their respective regions of study.
N. Chandramouli's paper on Rock Art of Andhra Pradesh presents an account of 33 rock art sites with several rock art shelters in each site discovered and documented in three geographical regions of Telengana (northern Andhra Pradesh), Rayalaseema (South and South- Western Andhra Pradesh) and the coastal region. Similarly, the sites are also distributed in three geological zones of granite, limestone & shale stone and shale formations. Found in 12 districts out of 23 districts they are mostly drawn in red followed by white. In two instances, however, paintings in black, green and yellow are also noticed. The subject matter is largely animals such as deer, tortoise, humped cattle, rabbit, fox, hyena, dog, human figures in various activities along with handprints and geometric motifs. Petroglyphs are in the form of pecking and bruising which constituted mostly the humped bull and cupules. Instances of painted petroglyphs of symbolic motifs such as palm, female genital (vulva), anthropomorphic figures, honeycomb, paw, geometric motifs, like the ones found in Odisha are noticed in Ramachandrapur rock art sites in Telengana plateau. The pictures range from the Mesolithic to the Early Historic periods through the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Megalithic phases.
A. K. Prasad in his article on Rock Art in Bihar presents an account of 104 rock art sites found in the Chhotanagpur plateau region-the northern extension of the Vindhyan ranges, spread over four districts of Nawada (45 sites), Jamui (25 sites), Kaimur (18 sites) and Rohtas (16 sites). Rock art in Bihar, by and large, is featured by paintings except a few specimen of engravings of deep lines, figures of fish and cupules in alignment or random distribution, both on the floors and walls of the rock shelters. The subject matter is varied; human figures in various activities such as hunting, dancing in the midst of animals such as elephant, tiger, dear, bear, horse, humped cattle, birds, reptiles etc. Various geometric and non-geometric symbols and motifs dominate the depictions in the rock panels. Along with rock paintings, rock inscriptions in Brahmi, Kharoshti and Sankha scripts are very conspicuous to which Prasad assigns date from the 1st century BCE to the 9th century CE. In paintings, hematite of various shades of red, orange, vermilion, brown, purple, crimson, yellow, white, back have been used. Use of blue and green in two picture panels is very significant. Prasad identified twelve styles in the compositions of the rock pictures within a time frame ranging from the Upper Paleolithic to the recent times through the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early Historic and Medieval periods.
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