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The Forgotten Legacy of Indian Traditional Art

Whenever somebody tells me that time travel is impossible, I look at the Indian traditional paintings and the long legacy these have been carrying forward.

I am talking about an art form that existed almost 30000 years ago and still continues to flourish. Painting is one art form that has been proven to exist since the time of cavemen.

The petroglyphs found in Bhimbetka is a straight example of how ancient civilizations incorporated art into their lifestyle.

Archaeologists have already found a number of murals, miniature paintings and artwork on media such as wood, fabric, and paper.

This blog is going to brief the journey of Indian traditional art so as to provide you a quick revision. Let’s begin:


India is third on the list of having the largest collection of rock art after Australia and Africa.

Now, these rock paintings are dated from 10000 to 30000 years in the past. You can have a glimpse of this art form in the central India region of Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh.

Depicting the aesthetic beauty of the religious tales, artists ensured to provide an excellent reflection of their lives and the tales of Supremes of their time.

Visit the Ajanta Ellora caves to see the scintillating and gorgeous artwork. Along with the paintings engraved on the walls, the dazzling appearances of Buddha fresco will make your jaw drop.

Scroll Paintings

Perhaps the best example of this type of art form is the Pattachitra paintings.

As intended from its name (Patta means leaf, Chitra means picture), artists used to carve some alluring patterns with Lord Jagannath as the main subject matter.

Other examples would be Nakashi paintings (that come from the state of Telangana), Thangka (Buddhist art form found in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh), and the Phad paintings (originated from Rajasthan).


These artworks that were created aesthetically on small pieces of cloth and paper are known to be included by a number of cultures throughout the time.

For instance, Pala and Sena dynasties’ time saw the generation of some amazing Buddhist miniatures that were crafted on leaves.

Other examples would be Assam miniature paintings that date back to the 16th century and the Mughal paintings.

Tanjore Art

With its origin in the southernmost state of India, Tamil Nadu, Tanjore art got its share of fame during the Cholas dynasty.

The artists who carved these beautiful paintings took the Hindu religious epics as their subject matter.

Final Takeaway

I have always felt that traditional paintings have played an instrumental role in the emergence of the modern and contemporary art forms.

These traditional paintings forms we just discussed have carried the baton for Indian art for like thousands of years.

Although slowly people are now moving towards the contemporary forms, there is still a bunch of art aficionados who will not think twice before getting their hands on any of these masterpieces to make their collection more diverse and cool.

Are you one of them?

 Do let us know in the comment section. Thanks!

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Written by Angela Hooper

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