In the image of Mother Goddess from the Upper Palaeolithic Age may be seen the embryonic beginnings of South Asian art. The discovery of terracotta seated-male figurines, in Yogic postures, at Harappa and Mohenjodaro are again among the other instances of the earliest art in the South Asian region. The Harappan Pashupati Siva, Linga, and Bull worship later developed into the cult of Siva of early historic Hindu religion. Wheel symbol (chakra), monolithic polished pillars, with back to back animal top, of the Mauryan Age also existed during the Harappan Age of lower tradition and this style fully developed in early historic period of the South Asian art. Triratna, Trisula, pipal, swastika, and several other symbols of the Harappan art of lower tradition were developed during the 3rd century BC onwards and recurrently used in the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain art of the early historic South Asia.
This book, in two volumes, goes into the roots of South Asian Art, covering veritably a vast time-span: from the Harappa period to the Gupta Age – or, say, from what the scholars call ‘the lower tradition’ of South Asia (Harappa) to its progressive evolution in ‘the higher tradition’ during early historic period. Beginning with prehistoric art, Volume 1 includes chapters on the Rock Paintings of Bhimbetka and Central India, Early Harappan Painted Potteries, Decorated Pottery of Mature Harappans, Harappan Sculptural and Terracotta Art. Volume 2 covers, among others aspects, Mauryan Art, Sculptural Art of Kausambi, Classical Art of Guptas, Metal Art of Gupta-Vakataka, Metal Art of Amaravati, Iron Pillar of Chandra Gupta II, Sculptural Art of Lower Doab, Jaina Art of Lower Doab, and Brick Temple Art of Lower Doab. The Roots of South Asian Art is abundantly illustrated -- including nearly 500 photographs, besides a range of maps and line-drawings.
Dr D.P. Sharma: a well-known archaeologist, museologist, historian, and prolific author, is former Associate Professor of Museoogy, National Museum Institute, New Delhi. Currently, he is Director, Bharat Kala Bhavan, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi.