Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rock paintings from Tamilnadu, India

More rock art from India.

The Palani Hills region in Tamilandu, India is again in the news with more rock art findings belonging to the 3 B.C. to 3 A.D period. Congratulations again to the teams from the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, New Delhi and the Pondicherry University.

These paintings have been discovered in the dense lower Palani Hills range revealing scenes of devotees dancing with bow-like objects called kavadi in local language around their shoulders and carts with bullocks yoked to them. These bullock and kavadi paintings are quite unique as they have not been found elsewhere and these themes are first-time discoveries found in the villages of Mungil-Alai, veguritta-Alai and Pakaki-Alai in this area (the word alai in Tamil denoting cave occur in the Tamil Sangam literature from 3 B.C to 3 A.D. It is interesting to note that the painters here had adopted the ingenuous top approach pattern for painting the bullocks. Also found here are paintings of animals like bison, tigers, and cheetahs as well as birds like while kaolin and red ochre.

Bullock cart paintings do indicate trade between the then Pandy and the neighboring Chera kingdoms as confirmed by the Roman coins discovered near Palani and Pollachi along this trade route. No signs of human habitation were found here, which may suggest that these caves might have been used only for rituals by the Iron Age people.

It is interesting to note that more than 80 such rock painting sites are located in Tamilnadu, India by the above team.

Source: The Hindu March 6, 2009

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