Art and Culture Revision Notes 2022
Names and Dates
- Archaeologists have given lengthy names for the time that we are studying.
- They call the earliest period the Palaeolithic.
- This comes from two Greek Words, ‘palaeo’, meaning old, and ‘lithos’, meaning stone.
- The Palaeolithic period extends from 2 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago.
- This long span of time covers 99% of human history.
- In the Old Stone Age, food was obtained by hunting animals and gathering edible plants and tubers.
- The period when we find the beginning of environmental changes.
- 12,000 years ago till about 10,000 years ago is called the Mesolithic (middle stone).
- Stone tools found during this period are generally tiny, and are called microliths.
- It is approximately dated from 6000 B.C to 4000 B.C.
- Neolithic remains are found in various parts of India.
- These include the Kashmir valley, Chirand in Bihar, Belan valley in Uttar Pradesh and in several places of the Deccan.
- Domestication of animals was started at the end of Mesolithic period and it was in large scale in Neolithic culture.
- The chief characteristic features of the Neolithic culture are the practice of agriculture, domestication of animals, polishing of stone tools and the manufacture of pottery.
- Cattle were used for cultivation and for transport.
- The people of Neolithic Age used clothes made of cotton and wool.
- The Neolithic period is followed by Chalcolithic (copper-stone) period when copper and bronze came to be used.
- The new technology of smelting metal ore and crafting metal artifacts is an important development in human civilization.
- The Chalcolithic age is followed by Iron Age.
- Iron is frequently referred to in the Vedas.
- The Iron Age of the southern peninsula is often related to Megalithic Burials. Megalith means Large Stone.
- The burial pits were covered with these stones. Such graves are extensively found in South India. Some of the important megalithic sites are Hallur and Maski in Karnataka, Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh and Adichchanallur in Tamil Nadu.
- Black and red pottery, iron artifacts such as hoes and sickles and small weapons were found in the burial pits.
- Vedic period corresponds to Iron Age.
Prehistoric Rock Paintings
- Rock Paintings were drawn to decorate homes and keep the visual record of routine activities.
- Colors were made by grinding various rocks and minerals. For example, red from haematite, White from limestone etc.
- It is amazing to note that these colours have survived thousands of years of adverse weather conditions.
- It is believed that the colours have remained intact because of the chemical reaction of the oxide present on the surface of the rocks.
- Pre historic rock shelter is found in Bhimbetka, near Bhopal in MP.
- The Bhimbetka site has the oldest known rock art in the Indian subcontinent.
- These shelters have pre historic rock paintings depicting the hunting seen among others.
- The painting ranges from the period of Mesolithic to medieval.
- It is UNESCO heritage site.
The cave paintings of Narsinghgarh (Maharashtra) show skins of spotted deer left drying.
- It is also a prehistoric rock art site.
- It is located in Kurnool.
Indus Valley civilization
- Indus Valley was cradle of early civilization and culture because the place has features which made it conducive for early settlers.
- Rainfall from Indus to Brahmaputra plains gradually increases from 25 cm to 250 cm and this was also the reason that vegetation in low rainfall regions were easier to clear to pave way for the cultivation.
- Indus valley came into being in Indus area, Vedic civilisation in Gangetic plain, Gupta spread further towards east and in medieval periods.
- In 1931, John Marshall estimated the period of Harappa around 3000 years.
Feature of Indus Valley Civilization
Town Planning: The Harappa civilization has a unique feature of town planning based on the grid system and well defined drainage system connecting each house.
Foreign Trade: The Harappa civilization had trade relation with foreign countries. The seals of Harappa civilization found in Mesopotamia confirm it.
Barter System: Use of metal money was not prevalent in Harappan society. Most probably they carried on all exchanges through barter.
Ornaments: Both men and women wore the ornaments. Agriculture was the main occupation. Fishing was also popular.
Musical Instrument: Flute has been found at the Harappa Site.
Important Sites of Harappa Civilization
- This was a rural establishment and Granaries were found.
- The stone symbol of Lingum and yoni, Mother Goddess were found along with mother goddess figure.
- It was located on the river Ravi.
- Graveyard was found here.
- It was an urban area.
- The great bath was found here.
- Beard priest and burial sites were found at this place.
- Pashupati seal, Statue of a dancing girl were found here.
- Situated in Gujarat, it is famous for unique water reservoir system.
- Located on tropic of Cancer, Horse trade centre, Made of Stones
- In Gujarat, famous for dock yard.
- Evidence of Rice, Bead making was an important industry at Lothal.
- In Lothal, three double burials have been found.
- Bangle factory, multiple crops on the same land, ploughed field were found here.
- It is located in Rajasthan.
Chanhudaro: Only city without citadel, Carts with seated driver. IVC may have been started from here.
Banawali: Oval shaped settlement, only city with radial streets, Toy plough
Mehrgarh: This site is located in a fertile plain, near the Bolan Pass, which is one of the most important routes into Iran. Mehrgarh was probably one of the places where women and men learnt to grow barley and wheat, and rear sheep and goats for the first time in this area. It is one of the earliest villages that we know about.
Several burial sites have been found at Mehrgarh. In one instance, the dead person was buried with goats, which were probably meant to serve as food in the next world.
Cotton was probably grown at Mehrgarh from about 7000 years ago.
While Harappa and Mohenjodaro are situated in Pakistan, the important sites excavated in India are Lothal and Dholavira in Gujarat, Rakhigarhi in Haryana, Ropar in the Punjab, Kalibangan and Balathal in Rajasthan, etc.
Rakhigarhi: Centre is moving ahead with its plan to develop Rakhigarhi as a tourist hub and set up a museum.
As part of encroachment removal at the Rakhigarhi heritage site, 152 households are being shifted to flats.
Citadel: Many of these cities were divided into two or more parts. Usually, the part to the west was smaller but higher. Archaeologists describe this as the citadel. Generally, the part to the east was larger but lower. This is called the lower town. Very often walls of baked brick were built around each part.
The bricks were so well made that they have lasted for thousands of years. The bricks were laid in an interlocking pattern and that made the walls strong.
Cities, such as Kalibangan and Lothal had fire altars, where sacrifices may have been performed. And some cities like Mohenjodaro, Harappa, and Lothal had elaborate store houses.
Mathematics in India
- The value of pi was first calculated by him.
- Aryabhatta was a fifth century mathematician, physicist and astronomer.
- He describes the method of denoting big decimal numbers by alphabets.
- Aryabhatta showed that zero was not a numeral only but also a symbol and a concept.
- Discovery of zero enabled Aryabhatta to find out the exact distance between the earth and the moon.
- Aryabhatta stated his theory that ‘earth is round and rotates on its own axis.
- He explained that the appearance of the sun moving from east to west is false by giving examples.
- He also correctly stated that the moon and the planets shined by reflected sunlight.
- He discovered the cause of lunar and solar eclipse.
- He said that the sun is stationary and the Earth moves.
He calculated the circumference of Earth.
- In 7th century, Brahmgupta took mathematics to heights far beyond others.
- In his methods of multiplication, he used place value in almost the same way as it is used today.
- He introduced negative numbers and operations on zero into mathematics.
- Bhaskaracharya was the leading light of 12th Century.
- He is famous for his book Siddanta Shiromani. It is divided into four sections: Lilavati (Arithmetic), Beejaganit (Algebra), Goladhyaya (Sphere) and Grahaganit (mathematics of planets).
- Bhaskara introduced ‘Cyclic Method’ to solve algebraic equations.
- There is an elaborate description of mathematics in Jain literature (500 B.C -100 B.C).
- Jain guru knew how to solve quadratic equations.
- Kathak is the principal dance of northern India, and is widely practiced in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, and even parts of western and eastern India.
- The term Kathak is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit word Katha which means “story”, and Kathaka which means “one who tells a story”.
- Kathak evolved during the Bhakti movement.
- One dancer takes on many roles in a single performance.
Buddha in the symbolic form got a human form in Mathura and Gandhara.
The school developed on the bank of river Krishna under Satvahana dynasty.
- The school produced diverse sculptures.
- The Tribhanga (Body with three bends) posture is the main sculpture of this school.
- This was also indigenous art.
- The sculpture was made using white marble.
- The main emphasis was on Buddhist architecture.