Monday, December 14, 2009

Bhimbetka Cave Paintings

The caves of Bhimbetaka have paintings that date back to various periods during which these caves could have been inhabited. The main colors used in these paintings are red and white. Red color paintings are bright, while the white paintings look faded. The quality of the paintings is so great that the painting appear so fresh as if it has been done few days back. At lot of places, paintings have been done on top of the other, giving a feeling that the artists have used the same space to paint and re-paint. The style of paintings resembles the Worli paintings and at times the Madhubani. Most of the figures are written using geometrical shapes. Animals form the primary subject of paintings, followed by humans and occasional trees and flowers.

The rock art in these caves has been classified into various groups on the basis of the style and subject.

Upper Palaeolithic

The paintings in this period were mostly drawn using green and dark red colors as liner representations. The figures drawn were animals like bisons, boar.

Mesolithic


The paintings in this period are comparatively smaller in size. The linear representation of drawings are more stylish. Apart from animals, there are human figures. The hunting scenes clearly show the weapons like barbed spears, pointed sticks, bows and arrows used during those times.

Hunting scene

The depiction of communal dances, birds, mother and child, pregnant women, men carrying dead animal, drinking etc, are seen in this rock shelter range.

people dancing holding hands at the top and they are going for hunting at the bottom

Chalcolithic

The paintings in this period show that the cave dwellers of this area were in contact with the agricultural communities. They exchanged goods with them.

Early Historic


The paintings in this period are painted mostlty in red and white. The drawings have a schematic and decorative style. They mainly depict riders, religious symbols, tunic-like dresses, and the scripts of different periods.

Medival

The paintings in this period are geometric, linear and more schematic. The artistic style was crude when compared to earlier periods.

The picture below is taken at the first cave that you see as soon as one enters the cave complex. There are paintings of animals drawn in white color on the roof of the cave.

This place can be reached directly from Bhopal or from Bhojpur as I had done.

44 comments:

GMG said...

Hi Rajesh! The shelter was already impressive, but the paintings are awesome!! Wonderful post!!

Blogtrotter, which is always one year late in posting ;), headed to London December 2008. Enjoy and have a great week!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Fascinating and informative.

Sarah said...

So interesting to see these records of so long ago. It is great that they have survived so we can get a glimpse into their world!

Protege said...

This is extremely interesting. Reminds me of prehistoric paintings in France. I am very intrigued by the cave painters, the beuaty of human art is ancient. Beautiful pictures.
Zuzana

Carver said...

Great shots of the cave paintings and a very interesting post too.

Sylvia K said...

What a fascinating post, Rajesh! I loved reading about the caves and the paintings! Thanks for sharing such a great part of your world! Thanks as always for your visit to my blog and for your comment. They're always appreciated!!

Enjoy!

Sylvia

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Old will be always Gold.

joo said...

I'm always impressed by your posts here - photos are lovely and so many interesting stories behind!
Greetings:)

John`s Photography said...

Great posting!

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Fascinating paintings, Rajesh, and interesting to learn a little about life in the past through the pictures they drew, as well as make a connection with the people all those thousands of years ago who did the paintings. Your first photo of the deep red bison is beautiful.
Janice.

Photo Cache said...

It is pretty fascinating to see these writings and trying to decipher them. Great post, as usual.

Jacob said...

My goodness! Anthropologists must have years and years of work to do here! The caves would make a great field trip if you were a teacher, too!

SandyCarlson said...

The beginning of history! These are amazing paintings.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Rajesh:)

Greetings:)

Many many thanks for showing these lovely paintings with an excellent narration which made me understand the life of our ancestors. It is bewildering to note the conditions in which they lived and the indomitable spirit they had for survival and leave their foot prints for posterity.

Have a lovely day Rajesh:)
Joseph

magiceye said...

amazing! thank you for sharing

Pietro said...

These are splendid cave paintings!
Very interesting and informative post!

Wolynski said...

Wow, incredible art. The earlier drawings are much more free and inventive than the medieval ones - see, we don't always move forward, sometimes we go back.

LadyFi said...

So much history! I love the glowing orange colour of the cave painting in that first photo.

Ferreira-Pinto said...

The paintings are awesome!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

This is beautiful and fantastic !! Would love to see them in a person some day !!Unseen Rajasthan

Pam said...

If only those wall could talk, what a wonderful tale they could tell. Your shots are amazing. Thanks for sharing this historic place in your world.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Rajesh: Very neat and wonderful that they have been preserved.

Diane AZ said...

Really enjoyed seeing these cave paintings. It is amazing how bold the red color still is. Great pictures!

JOE TODD said...

Thanks for showing photos of the actual paintings. Good post

Coffeedoff said...

Lovely set of photos,the paintings are so clear!

George said...

Thanks for sharing these fascinating paintings with us. You got some wonderful pictures.

Barb said...

Hi Rajesh, What a fantastic tour of the caves and the pictographs! It's lucky that the drawings are so well preserved - so many times there has been vandalism of these ancient treasures. Thanks for showing us!

Mitr Friend - Bhushavali said...

Oh Rajesh.. Hats off to you for this fantastic post...!!! Loving the pics.. Loving your post.. Completely... So much.. Very much.. :)

Looking into the eyes at Savoir-Faire
Mallikarjunar Koil at My Travelogue

amatamari© said...

Wonderful post! Thanks!

Tammie Lee said...

cave art is wonderful. it pulls me back in time, instantly trying to imagine who and when and what this means. was it meaningful or a bit of fun. thank you for sharing these.

JM said...

Amazing paintings! Would love to visit these caves!

Barbara Martin said...

Cave paintings are one of my favourites! It is truly amazing they have lasted over the years so we can view them and imagine how their lives were. Thank you for this.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Very nice trip to the ancient times. Very much enjoyed :)

Indian Myna [मैना]

Gattina said...

It's amazing that they are still so well conserved after such a long time !

Kirigalpoththa said...

The top picture reminds me of cave paintings of Altamira

fufu said...

i wanna sleep under the shelter =p

Pooch Morning Glory said...

rajesh
these are awesome! thanks for sharing
~laura

exposemaximum said...

Thanks a lot for showing us this lovely snaps.

Rajesh said...

Protege, Kirigalpoththa: Thanks, it is amazing how similar art can be found in various parts of the world.

GMG, Sucharita, Carver, Sylvia, Hobo, Joo, John, Pam: Thanks for the appreciation.

Sarah, Diane, coffeedoff, Barb: Thanks, they have been preserved well.

Janice, Photo Cache, Jacob, Joseph: Thanks. Yes this paintings tell us about the lives of people in the past.

Deepak, SandyCarlson, magiceye, Pietro, LadyFi, Pinto, Bharath, JM: Thanks for the appreciation.

Wolynski: Thanks, I agree with you.

fufu: Thank you, it is noit for us.

Bhushavali, fishing guy, Joe, George, amatamari, Bhavesh, Laura: Thanks for the appreciation.

Tammie, Barbara, Gattina: Thanks. Yes this paintings tell us about the lives of people in the past.

DR. SOMNATH CHAKRAVERTY said...

ACTUALLY THE ROCK ART SITE WAS KNOWN TO THE LOCAL TRIBAL PEOPLE AND OTHER VILLAGERS FOR GENERATIONS. SINCE THE YEAR 1972 I VISIT THE SITE AT LEAST TWICE A YEAR. DR. YASHODHAR MATHPAL IS THE FIRST SCHOLAR WHO SYSTEMATICALLY STUDIED THE ROCK ART OF THE WHOLE AREA AND SUBMITTED HIS RESEARCH WORK AS A PH.D. DISSERTATION UNDER PROFESSOR V.N. MISRA OF THE DECCAN COLLEGE, PUNE. DR. MATHPAL IS KNOWN TO ME FOR LAST FEW DECADES AND HE IS A MOST DEVOTED PERSON IN THIS FIELD. THE MYSTERY OF BHIMBETKA IS IN THE PRESENCE OF SUCCESSIVE LAYERS OF STONE TOOL- BEARING DEPOSITS EXPOSED DURING EXCAVATIONS. ROCK ART IN BHIMBETKA HAD ORIGINATED DURING THE UPPER PALAEOLITHIC TO MESOLITHIC TRANSITORY PERIOD AND THE ART TRADITION HAD CONTINUED IN SUCCESSIVE PERIODS. EVEN THE ART TRADITION CONTINUED DURING EARLY HISTORIC PHASE AND THEREAFTER. THE BURIALS IN BHIMBETKA ROCK SHELTERS, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MATERIALS FOUND FROM ROCK SHELTERS - ALL ARE ASSOCIATED TO THE VISUAL TRADITION OF ROCK ART WHICH ULTIMATELY INCORPORATED OR ASSIMILATED TO THE LOCAL TRIBAL TRADITION PARTICULARLY OF GOND - SPEAKING TRIBAL COMMUINITIES. BUT TO MY OWN ASSESSMENT, THE ROCK ART OF BHIMBETKA REGION EXHIBITS LIMITED VISUAL NARRATIVES ON COMMUNITY LIFE OF THE PERIODS. WHEREAS, SUCH ILLUSTRATIONS EXHIBITED LIFE- OPPORTUNITIES EXHAUSTIVELY AND MORE IN DETAIL IN ROCK PAINTINGS OF PACHMARHI REGION IN HOSHANGABAD DISTRICT OF MADHYA PRADESH. FOR FURTHER READING YOU MAY CONSULT THE FOLLOWING BOOK :
ROCK ART STUDIES IN INDIA : A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE. BY SOMNATH CHAKRAVERTY. PUBLISHED BY : THE ASIATIC SOCIETY . KOLKATA. IF NECESSARY, YOU MAY CONTACT THE FOLLOWING E-MAIL ADDRESS : somraja2008@gmail.com

DR. SOMNATH CHAKRAVERTY
KOLKATA

capturedalive said...

Informative

Bikramjit said...

Wowo.. lots of info and nice clicks ..

Thanks for sharing

Bikram's

Shobha said...

Loved the paintings.

nuvofelt said...

Amazing. I have seen cave paintings before, but these are so bright and pure. Thanks for sharing.