• Category Archives Art of India in ancient times.
  • Sculpture in India

    Sculpture in India


    Metal India Sculpture


    Sculpture in India suitable the ideal medium to represent the image of gods and demigods and at the same time embodied in a tangible way their traditions, philosophical and religious beliefs with an artistic medium allowing to be appreciated from different visual angles. This feature of volume and mass that provides the three-dimensionality of sculpture is very useful not only to decorate temples and places of worship but also offer the advantage of those materials such as bronze that they could be loaded and displayed in the religious procession’s and be appreciated by believers who find an appropriate way to show their respects and worship their deities.

    The characteristics of the physical composition of the materials witch this sculptures are made  such as stone, marble, sandstone, clay and bronze among others, offers the possibility to be durable and preserve for the times been. They can be placed both in the outer areas of the temples as well as in the indoors space dedicated to the worship area. Many sculptures were preserved occulted in secret chambers to save them from the destruction that invaders enemy’s delivery, and only just recently were found; the majority of them in very good condition.

    From the times of Dravidians and even more in the Vedic period religious sculptures were use with worship purpose to serve their sectarian and polytheist believe but these were not at that times as important or have the magnitude that religious sculpture rich with the Hinduism between the years 300 B.C. and 500 A.D. approximately.


    Sculpture play an important role in creed transition en India


    Hinduism: polytheist and pantheistic religious believe, that God and the material world are the same thing and that God is present in all things; was also sectarian and promoter of personal worship but they do not promote sacrifices, rites and prayers made by a severe elite priestly caste that were far for been popular. With Hinduism this practices were reconsidered in a new light more approachable to the all the rage worshipers; been from that time until today the most popular and massive religious cult in India.


    Hinduism sculpture and representation of symbolism.

    The sculptures in India perform in this transition a very important role to publicize the images corresponding to the new creed. To these most ancient Vedic deities, which personified forces of nature and the divine celestial world, was assigned new functions, other deities lost importance or disappeared, while some minor deities were elevated to religious prominence.

    These sculptures are represented in possession of the attributes of the deity or semi deity and in the case of some of them holding in their hands elements related to moments or scenes from the legend that corresponds to them. To the Hindus who paid utmost attention to the cycles of the universe, new forms and names were assigned to the deities.

    New forms and names assigned to the deities in Hinduism:

    –          Brahma, the creator.

    –          Vishnu, the preserver, who maintains the harmony and order.

    –          Shiva, the destroyer, who at annihilate of the universe it’s allow to be reborn in the next cosmic era.

    Major sects of Hinduism:

    –          The Vaishnavismo.

    –          Shaivismo.

    The Hindus offered their devotion in sculptures and other artistic media representing the deities who responded to these two sects been Vishnu and Shiva the two more important gods represented. All the temples both North and South in India were decorated on the outside and also internally. The shrines and chapels contained statues made of stone or bronze, dedicated entirely to the cult, and in the courtyards that bypass the temples several pavilions housed monumental effigies representing animals which have been gives divine connotation. Among these representations we find:

    –          The bull Nandin of Shiva.

    –          Vishnu Garuda bird.

    –          Wild boar Varaha, representation of Vishnu.


    animal and nature representation in Hinduism.


    Sculptures showing multiples arms, contorted movements, pleasure in the forms of the body, some standing and other sit-ins have been preserved from some regions of the India. Others sculptures however belonging to different region are more contained and quiet, less contorted and devoid of movement or emotion. Both trends show the most relevant characteristics and philosophical concepts that represent each one with incredible detail and masterful technique allowing today identify the one who correspond to each region.

    Polychrome sculptures in the temples of South India are placed abundantly but in perfect harmony in the external walls offering a set very beautiful and balanced despite the apparent clutter that leaves us speechless with the perfection of these sculptures. Bright colors, intense facial expressions, dynamism and sensuality in feminine forms of the figures represent the Joie de vivre of the Indian people. In those sculptures they are offering tribute to nature, their gods who protect them from the evil and injustice and in general to the harmony of the universe.


    Polychrome sculptures in the temples of South India

    There were also made in ancient India small polychrome sculptures but just a few have been conserved.


    Small polychrome sculptures from India



    In general on the sculptures in India, the male and female figures of the temples alternate with other animals such as monkeys, elephants, rhinos, birds, tigers and various other animals. In the medieval period numerous sculptures in the exterior walls of the temples contributed to effective propagate the religious messages to the worshipers.

    Female representations prevail in earlier styles, with elegant and well-balanced forms in those figures, whose silhouette undulates gracefully as the tribhanga (triple Flex canonical). Are also well represented themes containing trivial daily events and divine matter.


    Female representation in Hinduism sculpture with the Tribhanga.


    Later the style varies a bit when the silhouettes lengthen and bodies representation become more sensual and voluptuous, female figures with breasts are emphasized more fillings, thinner waist, wider hips; and the features of the face are stylize and exaggerate, lengthening the tearing of the eyes. These changes occur approximately between the 11th to the 13th, which is added to the boom that acquires the realization of sculptures representing erotic groups.

    The presence of these sculptures in the outer walls of the temples in Khajuraho seems to be due to the dominating influence of Kaulakapalika sects whose main objective was to achieve mystical union with the divine. This intention was translated into the realization of sexual intercourse between same sect insiders call mithuna by which groups of lovers are represented in sculptures in different positions suggested by the Kama sutra, but without being grotesque scenes, on the other hand it found fervent hugs, sensual contortions, loving expressions of affection. This is the way in which they believe they can best achieve this communication with the divine.


    sculptures in the outer walls of the temples in Khajuraho.


    The figures and scenes have a great dynamism, realism and attention to detail of anatomical representation and postures that are almost hypnotizing to the viewer. This contrasts with the representation of worship’s images located in the shrines and chapels. In this case a more static, immutable representation of the sculptures can be apreciate as well of the frontality and rigidity of its attitude and gestures.

    Buddhist and Jain religious sculpture representation.

    As opposed to the sculptures of Hinduism are simple Buddhist and Jain sculptures whose serenity, sobriety, meditative protective and relaxed posture, fulfilled its educational and worship function in correspondence to the teachings of the creators of these religious sects. These sculptures were produced mainly in marble, predominantly straight lines in simple clothing and folds in the figures. Anatomical details are very stylized.


    Stylized Buthist sculptures


    In the run-up to the first centuries and second B.C the figure of Buddha is never represent in his human form in sculpture. Until that time they represent the creator of this religion only by symbols. When they then start represent his figure was developed an extensive iconography in statuary in the teachings and passages about the life of Buddha. They were propagated mainly through sculpture representation, although in paintings and manuscripts as well. The Gupta period was in many ways a golden age of Indian history and culture, were took a big special place the sculpture . It saw an extraordinary florescence of all the arts this period, and the national genius was perhaps never more fully and typically expressed. Sculpture flourished, at Mathura and Sarnath as well as in the northern Deccan and at Ajanta and Ellora.


    Meditative and serene sculpture.


    Unfortunately with the time many valuable sculptures were destroyed due to violent internal clashes and stages in history where the India was subjugated by foreign invaders who disregarded these symbols and culture. The same destruction occurred by the step of time mainly in the outside sculptures.

    Sculpture in ancient India; play a fundamental role transmitting their history, culture and philosophical thought. Today is still appreciated by their high technical and artistic value for millions of people visiting every day its monuments.


    INDIA SCULPTURE presentation



  • Art of India in ancient times



                      Art and culture of India in ancient times.

                                       General element.


    India is located south of the Asian continent. The name India is derived from the native Word sindhu which means River and that originally applied to the Indus, the large watercourse that crosses longitudinally to Pakistan. The Hindustan Peninsula currently consists of three countries:

    –  India.

    – Pakistan.

    – Bangladesh.

    The inhabitants of this region on the other hand called themselves as “Bharata country” referring this term to a mythical ancestor of the lineage of warriors with that name. Three rivers allowed the settlement and development of civilization in this region so it has been for the India considered sacred. These rivers are:

    – The Indus.

    – The Ganges.

    – The Brahmaputra.

    The India has a vast territory which has hosted for centuries to a conglomerate of different cultures, religions and traditions from many other places that have helped define his current culture. The great Himalayan mountain range separating the flows through the Persia and Tibet region, but especially in the Mughal period the India was influenced by the culture of Persia whose art in general sense has contribute to shaping the art and culture of the India as we know it today. From Persia they assimilated techniques and styles that enriched its heritage as the Royal Mughal patron of the arts.

    The art and culture of India has thus multi-ethnic and multicultural features that have developed outstanding nature and religion, but equipped with mysticism and sensuality as well as strong imagination from their fusion with other no less imaginative and mystic cultures. It can be said that  because  India has one of the most complex societies, whose age-old powerfully mix of races, cultures, traditions and religions had nutrient its history is consider a intricate but incredibly interesting task  the study of the art of this country.


    Nature as main element of inspiration for Hindu Art.


    Their art is defined as sacred or holy. Through highly sensitive artistic representations and symbols is gives the possibility to identify fully with them if this observer has grown up and lived in this culture, for those which no, therefore is not very easy to understand fully the message of the work since this often is veiled in them and doesn’t seem at first glance to have messages or religious content. A vivid narrative compositions style conceals the devotional intent under the guise of dynamism, frivolity or even eroticism sometimes.


    Representation of Divine legend in Hindu art.


    But make no mistake; not by the fact of not fully understanding these veiled messages the observer will stops seen the beauty and perfection of these works; since they use one of the best vehicles to do so,, the sensuality that is universally lived and perceived by everyone. Sculptures, paintings and decorations in their famous textiles intended for worship or for simple daily use are made with a colorful dynamic narrative style of apparent frivolity and sensuality.

    The ancient Indian art and culture adopt a theory of beauty which is very different from that prevailed in Western culture by the clergy; that teach artistic and cultural dogmas to follow with clear emphasis, without ensuring or conceal their main purpose and were the artistic works has been expressly commissioned by the Church in regions controlled under its power.

    Indian art enhances the intrinsic beauty of the materials used, applying harmoniously also vivid and contrasting colors to highlight elements that accentuate the beauty of the piece since this is an important element in the realization of their work. Primordial elements for humans, as it is the case of the feelings, the eroticism, hope and love are appreciated more effectively in works of art when beauty is the prime factor in them.


    Love and sensuality in the art of India.


    Therefore the Hindu not step overlooked this aspect about beauty which nature itself; since it’s the main element of inspiration to them. Flowers, elephants, birds and fish are part of the flow of component which they were inspired. Another important issue for them is the love between gods and their loved ones; this aspect is expressed with refined sensuality; Hugs, and body positions allude to carnal love but away from the grotesque. They also represent divine battles again evil by their gods and mystics monstrous been surrender or destroyed by this divinities being.

    Among the people who arrived and settled in the Hindustan peninsula are:

    – The aborigines of dark skin; ancestors of the Dravidians.

    – Coming from Australia.

    – Proto Mesolithic Mediterranean .

    – Mongoloid.

    – Coming from Armenia.

    – Aryan (1500 B.C.)

    – Persian – Greek (600-300 B.C.)

    – Deliveries and proto-Mongolian (50 p. C-300 d. C).

    – Huns (6th – 8th)

    – Arab (9th – 12th),

    – Turco-Afganos (siglos XIII – XV).

    Coming soon new post about India will refer to the most significant manifestation of it’s art and culture along  the history, like painting, ceramic, sculpture, architecture, textiles and metalwork.