Written in universal language of form, the prehistoric rock art is unmistakably the first document of mankind. And perhaps the least corrupted archaeological material that has come down to us – unveiling the inner world, the mind, psychology or the faith of our ancestors. Illustrated in it are the cultural, social, and economic life of its creators; together with the aesthetic and technological developments they made. Already millions of figures or motifs of rock art have been found worldwide. And many more are being discovered. In India, rock art is seen in its almost every part, though its largest concentration exists in the country’s sandstone regions, particularly Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
Rock Art of Central India: North Vindhyan Region offers a well-research study of the numerous painted shelters in the present-day districts of Varanasi, Mirzapur, Allahabad, and Banda in Uttar Pradesh; and Betwa, Satna, and Shahabad in Madhya Pradesh. Based on the author’s highly arduous explorations in the perilous hilly forest terrains, extended over the last five decades, it is essentially an exercise to understand the context and social settings in which rock art was produced. The author also tries to study the stratigraphy of painted canvases to find out the possible evolutionary trends in both styles and motifs during the long periods of painting activity.
With a brief introduction on prehistoric rock art, the book spells out its antiquity, its essential meaning, how it is positioned vis-à-vis European rock art, its research and methodology, its shelters, its styles, its diverse subjects, and the antiquity of its painting activity, among other aspects. It then proceeds to describe the locations of painted shelters of the North Vindhyan regions in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The book is generously illustrated with photographs – nearest to the original paintings.
Dr Radha Kant Varma is formerly Professor and Head, Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, A.P.S. University, Rewa (MP), Vice-Chancellor, A.P.S. University, Rewa. Also Chairman, Allahabad Museum Society, Allahabad.