Indian art goes back to the times where getting an exact date of anything being started becomes difficult due to lack of evidences and supporting materials. History and art go together in this land, and no wonder that Indian art, with its vast scope and multiple facets, has been there throughout every age, time, and sequence of events.
There are various modes through which Indian art is depicted, namely, sculpture, painting, architecture, music, poetry, and dance. However, to understand the finer aspects of Indian art in any of these modes, one must understand the underlying principle behind all these forms—the philosophic and spiritual undercurrent that is inherent to all the exponents of any form of art. The pinnacle is reached, they say, when one’s art becomes worthy to be offered to God—till then, he/she has not achieved perfection.
Let us now venture to know more about each form or mode of Indian art through historical tours that defy the times and stand as visible proof of mastery of their creators.
Indian Rock Painting
Of course, as anyone can well judge, in the medieval times or during the Stone Age, the art can be expressed in the form of rock-cutting and rock-painting. Indian rock-painting is found in the first urban cultures of Harappā and Mohenjōdarō.
There are many proof found in these parts, which clearly marks the knowledge of people at those times encompassing human anatomy, architecture, knowledge of space, and highly evolved understanding of animal forms.Indian fresco is one of the finest forms of art that was practiced in India. This type of art form was used to impart paintings on rocks with natural organic pigments.
Indian Rock-Cut Art
Indian rock-cut art is also very historic. There are marvellous pieces of this art form found through the geography of India. However, proofs are only available from the times of Buddhism, when rock-cut art was practiced in many caves: Badami, Aihole, Ellora, Salsette, Elephanta, Aurangabad and Mamallapuram.Indian ArchitectureIndian architecture is very old form of art. It dates back to the Vedic times and there are stories of cities being built amidst the oceans. However, historical monuments and architectural marvels of India still stand as visible proof to the eye: these monuments were built during Buddhism, Jainism and consequent evolvement of India. Temples, palaces, symbols, and buildings of various variety of architectural value bedeck the Indian plateau. The “Vastushāshtra” was one of the highly evolved and mastered sciences that were practiced in the art of architecture. In fact, the Indian equal of the word “architecture” was “Vastushāshtra”.
Indian music has rich variety of folk, popular, classical, and cultural types that came to it from different parts of the world, including Sufi and Pop. However, Indian classical music, often termed as “Shāstriya Sangeet”, has been believed to be epitome of musical expression. Indian classical music relies on its depth, vastness, and speed, which is almost unmatched anywhere in the world. Folk music is also very popular in all the regions of India—it is different to almost every state due to the fact that almost every state in India has a different language and different cultural values.
Poetry is believed to be the epitome of expression in Indian thought, though it has almost lost its power in the contemporary times, which is due to the differences in language and influences of other mediums. Almost all the Indian spiritual texts and ancient scriptures are written in poetic meters and they formed the backbone of Indian thought for centuries. As the time passed, Indian poetry shifted its focus from God to World, life, and problems of life. Then, the Godly aspect of poetic expression was almost totally lost and now Indian poetry itself is neglected.
Indian dance is rich form of art and expression where human feelings are expressed through human body without the usage of power of speech. Indian dance was again based on classical texts and ancient stories, where gods and demi-gods were portrayed and the stories were depicted. Like Indian music, Indian dance also has the vigour that becomes almost unsustainable at the crescendo. Folk dance and regional dance adds a lot of flavour to this art form, and there is a plethora of Indian dance forms if you travel through India.
Indian Folk Art
There are multiple and lots of modes through which folk and tribal art forms are represented in India. Due to diverse regional and tribal setup through the Indian Territory, you can find great difference in the depiction of feelings in these modes. This folk art can take up the form of pottery, painting, metalwork, paper-art, weaving, jewellery, toy-making, furniture, and other designing of artifacts. Classical Indian art forms were developed with the help of texts and scriptures and also with the proper channels; however, at the same time, Indian folk and tribal art forms have also evolved themselves with the changing times to suit themselves to the need and liking of people of every age.
Indian folk and tribal art forms are like the expressions and feelings of people who belong to different strata of Indian life, sharing different languages, different cultural values, and different rites and rituals. However, you will find the spiritual undercurrent more prominent in folk and tribal art forms than the mainstream classical or evolved art forms: there are two reasons for this. First is the fulfillment of needs of regional people who, though, have adopted contemporary styles of living, but they resort to age-old practices, rites, and rituals whenever festivals and family gatherings are the call. Second reason is the fact that tribal and folk art forms largely remain untouched by education and evolving technologies that sometimes demand the shift of basic idea.