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PAINTINGS - Prehistoric rock art

Rock art sites

* 24 Sep 2021
Two hero stones were found at the foothills of Pottamalai in Nalluthevanpatti village of Usilmaptti block by K.T. Gandhirajan, an art historian who undertakes research and documentation of historical monuments across the State. One of the hero stones found at the site called ‘pulikuthi kal’ was erected in the memory of a person who died while fighting a tiger. Mr. Gandhirajan said that the stone measured 8.8 feet in height and 4.5 feet in width. The stone had two portions — the lower portion depicted a man fighting a tiger and the upper one depicted a man riding a horse and a person standing next to him holding an umbrella. This region's landscape was Mullai (forest).  Mr.Gandhirajan said that stones belonging to the microlithic period, dating back to 3,000 to 4,000 years, were found at the site. Iron-age remains, including iron slags, were also found.
Source: Two hero stones found at foothills of Pottamalai  by P A Narayani,, 3 Aug 2020

* 23 Sep 2021
Bhimbetka, near Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, is world renowned for its extensive rock art shelters. It happens to be just one of several such spectacular sites across central India - in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Some of these paintings are as old as ten thousand years. They depict a range of scenes - hunting, fighting, dancing, etc - as well as several types of animals. Uniquely, many forms of tribal art in the area still bear striking similarities to this ancient art in their imagery and function.
Source: Tamil Heritage Trust
Khovar & Sohrai Art
They were discovered and revealed to the world by V.S. Wakankar from 1957 onwards. Bhimbetka, set in the Vindhyan range of central India, is about ten kilometres by two. On seven hills more than 500 painted sandstone shelters are known in an environment of forests, nowadays threatened by population increase and pressure. Some of the painted sites are very minor, with a few images only whereas there will be hundreds in others. They were put on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2003. Fifteen or so of the most spectacular ones, in an environment of convoluted cliffs on the top of a hill with a large vista, are open to the public. They have been skilfully fitted up with unobtrusive but efficient passageways and protections, so that visitors can view the paintings at leisure but are kept sufficiently away not to cause any damage.
Excavations carried out at Bhimbetka have revealed occupational deposits ranging from the Acheulian to Historical times. As to the art, the three main periods recognized by most Indian researchers (Mesolithic roughly 12,000 to 5,000 BP, Chalcolithic (rougly 5,000 to 2,500 BP) and Historical, from 2,500 BP onwards) are present on the shelter walls.
Source: The Rock Art Site of Bhimbetka,  Dr. Jean Clottes,

* 19 Sep 2021
Prehistoric Rock art Sites
The prehistoric rock art of Hazaribagh is painted in some fourteen sandstone rock shelters in the hills of Sati, Mahadeva (Mahudi) and Satpahar Ranges of the Upper Damodar Valley. Authorities have dated the rockart to the Meso-Chalcolithic period (10,000 B.C). There is evidence of an older layer of rock art touching the Palaeolithic. Several microliths and polished stone axe-heads were found in the painted shelters with evidence of Palaeolithic habitation sites and heavy hand axes and stone tools in the hilly region above and alongside the rock art, with Black and Red Ware pottery and remains of an iron industry below. The rock art of the Mesolithic period evidences drawings of wild and domestic animals and the Chalcolithic evidences mandala designs and geometric forms in keeping with the chronology of Wakankar and Brooks (1976) in Central India. The oldest level of rockart have found to be in Saraiya in the Satpahar Range discovered in 1994 by Erwin Neumayer and Justin Imam. This rockart has a shamanstic series of drawings painted in red haematite which is believed to be of the Palaeolithic period, and the most priceless rockart of Hazaribagh.
Sites: Isco, Thethangi, Saraiya, Satpahar I, II, III, Khandar, Raham, Sidpa, Gonda, and Nautangwa.
Source: Bulu Imam (INTACH),