Indian Traditions of Visual Arts (Drik Kala): Painting - Mural Paintings and Cave Painting




Mural Paintings and Cave Painting:

  • A mural is a large painting that is painted or affixed directly on walls and rock surfaces like roofs and sides. More broadly, mural art also appears on ceilings or any other large permanent surface.
  • Mural paintings usually have the distinguishing characteristic of having the architectural elements of the space they are painted on harmoniously incorporated into the picture by the common technique of fresco.
  • Mural paintings have existed in India from the 2nd century BC to the 8-10th century AD.
  • Mrunal paintings can be found in Ajanta, Bagh, Sittanavasal, Armamalai cave, Ravan Chhaya rock shelter, and Kailashnath temple in Ellora caves.
  • The majority of the themes in these paintings are religious in nature, including Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism.

1. Ajanta Caves:

Padmapani painting in Ajanta cave, Maharashtra

  • In the 4th century AD, the Ajanta caves were carved out of volcanic rocks. 
  • Human values and social fabric are depicted in the paintings, as are period styles, clothing, and accessories. 
  • The female figures in the paintings are distinguished by their distinct hairstyles. 
  • These paintings' themes range from Jataka stories to Buddha's life to intricate flora and fauna decorative patterns. 
  • The painting medium was made up of vegetable and mineral dyes. 

2. Ellora Caves:

Mural painting in cave no 32 at Ellora
  • Excavated between the 8th and 10th centuries A.D. from the living rock
  • The artworks depict all three religions (Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism). 
  • Ellora is a group of 34 caves – 17 Brahmanical, 12 Buddhist, and 5 Jain located in the Sahyadri ranges of Maharashtra.
  • The most famous of which is the Kailasa temple which is a free-standing monolith structure that has several fragments of painting on the ceiling of the different parts of this temple.
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