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Cave Paintings found at Aravali Hills in Haryana: How does it change the art history of the state?

Archaeologists say they have discovered the cave paintings in the Aravalli mountain ranges of Haryana on July 10; the news has changed the history of the state. The paintings comprise geometric shapes, animal and human figures and foliage. The cave paintings have been found just outside the national capital and a few yards away from the holy grove called Mangar Bani – the region’s only surviving patch of primary forest. Banani Bhattacharya, deputy director of the department of archaeology and museums added that paintings are yet to be dated but at least some of them belong to the upper Paleolithic period in all livelihoods. These paintings are found on the same land where the Supreme Court ordered Haryana not to damage the mountains. On Friday, the Supreme Court cautioned the Haryana government against doing “anything” to harm the ecologically fragile Aravalli range. The court had said the amendments pull the carpet from under a series of orders passed by the Supreme Court over the years to protect the Aravalli and Shivalik from builders and indiscriminate mining. The era that existed between 30000 to 10000 BC is very significant from the point of view of “art”. Man’s attempt to shape his weapons and other tools is seen since so ancient an era. Human life was insecure and laborious. Culture then only meant living in bands, hunting, if possible gathering and storing the necessities.

Banani Bhattacharyya said that the discovery is extremely significant. Though tools from the Paleolithic Age have been identified earlier in parts of the Aravallis. The earlier drawings were linear, only two rather than four limbs of animals are seen to have been drawn in the images. The lines seem broken and uneven. The pictures of distinct types of animals are painted on the walls and roofs of the caves. Among the painted animals found to be seen is bison, deer, horse and cattle herd. These caves are all adorned by graphic ox and scattered galloping wild horses.


No one knows exactly the purpose for which the people executed these paintings; only some guesses have been made. Thus, in one view they could be religious in nature. For example- some polychrome paintings of wild animals found in the caves of Lascaux in spin have arrows depicted in their bodies which means that by doing that the hunter Painter ensured that he will kill the animal when he goes hunting. Others, however, take them only as the natural behaviour of human beings to depict the world around them in leisure. Some even associate them with belief systems comparable to those found in the tribals in the contemporary period.


These paintings are often superimposed by paintings done in later periods without regard to the preexisting paintings. It is thus not very easy to separate them period wise although some sequences have been med out by plying the method of “later ones override the earlier ones”. However in India, since some paintings depict the scenes found on the potteries of the chalcolithic period of the second millennium BCE, these are dated to that period. Similarly, some paintings carry inscriptions of the Mauryan sung Brahmi, thus these are dated to the period between 300 BCE to CE 50. There are then pictures of marriage in which costumes and weapons belong stylistically to the 18th century. In this way, attempts have been made by some scholars to date them in various time frames.

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