Later Mural Traditions | Indian Paintings | Art and Culture | NCERT Notes


Earlier we have dealt with Harappan Culture and cave paintings. In this post, we will learn about the Later Mural Traditions. Before we jump in, let us brush the few points-

Later Mural Traditions | Art and Culture

  • Later Mural Traditions means painting tradition after Ajanta paintings
  • Mural: It is any piece of artwork (painted or applied directly) on a wall OR ceiling OR other permanent surfaces.

Badami Murals Under Chalukya                                              

  • Located in the State of Karnataka
  • Capital of the Western Chalukyan Dynasty
  • Mangalesha patronized the excavation of the Badami Caves
  • Cave No. 4 is popularly known as Vishnu cave
  • Court scene and royal family watching dances
  • Eye sockets are large, eyes are half-closed, and the lips are protruding
  • One of the earliest surviving Hindu paintings

Murals Under the Pallava                                                          

  • Pallavas were great patrons of the arts.
  • Mahendravarma I – 7th century AD built temples in Panamalai + Mandagapattu + Kanchipuram.
  • The inscription at Mandagapattu mentions the king Mahendravarma I with several titles such as –
    1. Vichitrachitta (curious-minded),
    2. Chaityakari (temple-builder)
    3. Chitrakarapuli (tiger among artists)
  • Paintings at the Kanchipuram temple: patronised by the Pallava king Rajasimha.
  • Painting of Somaskanda:  large, round face (only traces have remained)
  • Increased ornamentation in this period as compared to the previous.
  • The depiction of the torso is a bit elongated than previous

Murals Under the Pandyas                                                       

  • Examples: Tirumalaipuram caves + Jaina caves at Sittanvasal
  • Jaina caves at Sittanvasal:
    • Paintings on the ceilings of the shrine + in verandas + on the bracket.
    • Dancing figures of celestial nymphs.
    • Contours are in vermillion red and the bodies are painted yellow.
    • eyes are elongated and sometimes protrude off the face

Murals Under the Cholas                                                          

  • Ruled between 9th to 13th century
  • 11th Century: Chola reached their zenith of power
  • Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola built temples
    • Brihadeswara Temple at Thanjavur. Most imp paintings are seen here
    • Gangaikonda Cholapuram, at Darasuram.
  • Chola paintings: @Nartamalai.
  • Two layers of paint were seen. The upper layer was executed during the Nayaka period (16th century).
  • The Chola paintings depict narrations of various forms of Lord Shiva,
    • Shiva in Kailas,
    • Shiva as Nataraja,
    • as Tripurantaka.
  • Also, there is a portrait of Rajaraja (with mentor Kuruvar)

Vijayanagara Paintings                                                             

  • After Chola, Vijayanagar emerged
  • Hampi was the capital.
  • Early phase: Paintings at Tiruparakunram, near Trichy (14th century)
  • Lepakshi (Andhra Pradesh) paintings on the walls of the Shiva Temple.
  • Lines are fluid
  • Faces are in profile
  • 2D figures and objects
  • These features adopted by the Nayaka

Virupaksha Temple at Hampi

  • Paintings on the ceilings of the Mandapa.
  • Depicting events from dynastic history
  • Events from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
  • Examples: portraying Vidyaranya, Bukkaraya Harsha’s spiritual teacher carried in a palanquin in a procession; incarnations of Vishnu.
  • Faces + fig are shown in profile.
  • Large frontal eyes + narrow waists.

Nayaka Paintings                                                                        

  • Extension of the Vijayanagara styles.
  • Showcased episodes of Mahabharata + Ramayana + Krishna Leela.
  • In Thiruparakunram, paintings from 2 periods are observed
    • 14th century: scenes from the life of Mahavira.
    • 17th century: Thiruparakunram, Sreerangam and Tiruvarur.
  • Tiruvarur: A panel describing the story of Machukunda.
  • Sri Krishna Temple at Chengam, Arcot: 60 panels narrating the Ramayana. (Late phase of the Nayaka period).
  • Male figures with slim waists and less heavy abdomens.
  • Painting of Nataraja @Tiruvalanjuli – good example of Nayaka art.

Kerala Murals                                                                              

  • 16th- 18th century
  • Unique in style
  • Though some elements borrowed from Nayaka and Vijayanagara
  • Vibrant + luminous colours.
  • Human figures have shown 3-dimensionally.
  • The theme of the paintings –
    • Locally popular episodes of Hindu mythology
    • local versions of the Mahabharata + Ramayana (oral traditions)

More than 60 sites with mural paintings

  1. Dutch Palace (Kochi)
  2. Krishnapuram Palace (Kayamkulam),
  3. Padmanabhapuram Palace (Travancore)
  4. Pundareekapuram Krishna temple
  5. Panayanarkavu, Thirukodithanam
  6. Sri Rama temple, Triprayar
  7. Vadakkunathan temple, Thrissur

Traditional Murals                                                                      

  • Pithoro: Parts of Rajasthan + Gujarat.
  • Mithila paintings: Mithila, Jharkhand + Bihar region
  • Warli paintings: Maharashtra