(Last Updated on : 30/01/2013)
Indian sculptures and its associated zone lay bare the fact that sculpture is essentially a public art. It is indeed amazing how even day to day affairs have been portrayed with the help of sculptures in India from political economy to the cultural hedonism the plethora is immense and extensive. Mankind have had used sculpture as the basic means of artistic expression.
History of Indian Sculpture
If Neanderthal man created any form of art, hardly any traces would have been present. The medium itself was absent. However the arrival of modern man, the human genius, image making became absolutely clear. Recesses of cave started getting embellished with the themes like Bison and reindeer and the environment around became the part and parcel of the thematic crux.
History of Indian sculpture originated with the world`s oldest culture that is the Indus Valley Civilization
. While stone, metal, ceramics, wood have taken a back seat; the sculpture zone has been swept off by the horizons of light and sound. Environmental art and sculpture has hogged the limelight and the contemporary age has manifested the nuances of the same. The art of sculpture requires the sculptors to breathe life to the cold and lifeless stones and rocks. The Indian artisans have been successfully rendering life to these listless blocks.
The Renaissance man was invited to indulge in an exceptional skill oriented life style. Experimental science mingled with visual arts to conform the grand epitome of Indian domain of sculpture. Classical realism was the by product of Renaissance and the similar shadow follows the Indian sculptural scenario. The heroic realism and the innovations which under lie the mainstream Western tradition have all crawled bit by bit; making Indian sculpture what it is.
The native Indian sculptures have immortalized themselves in the temples and ancient cities. There was a constant influence of foreign art and culture that enriched Indian sculpture and architecture. The history of Indian sculpture is steeped in details. Mauryas introduced a new idiom of temple building. Religious buildings were constructed to spread Buddhism
like Stupas, viharas, caves and pillars. As Hinduism once again revived itself Indian temple sculptures came into existence. The credit lies with those prolific royal builders who commissioned some of the most exquisite pieces of temple sculpture. As one beholds the beauty of the figurines at Veerabhadra Temple
or Khajuraho Temple
, it will seem as if those stone statues will break their silence to address the beholder. Whether it is eroticism or simply spirituality these stone sculptures from both North and South Indian are unrivalled.
The grandeur that the Islamic art brought to India has been embossed in marbles and red sandstones. The floral motifs, the spatial dimensions, miniature art were introduced on a large scale. A set of new features were introduced for Indian sculpture and architecture. When the British reigned over India, the lavish style of the Mughal emperors
was replaced by colossal monuments. These structures and the sculptures in them were reminiscent of the European Gothic style. British era even introduced major trends where infusing individualism in art was manifested. It was the first time when Indian artists started getting recognition as individuals and as a result left indelible water mark in their artistic exploits. After 1947 Indian gained freedom and thus there was a revival of the ancient and original identity in the sphere of sculpture. Realism arrived into Indian art phases as a documentation of the ephemeral abstracts, firstly perhaps in the 3rd century BC when Alexander of Macedone had invaded India and left behind Greek kingdom.
With the Indian economy gradually liberalized over the past two decades starting from 1991 for foreign investments into Indian industries, and portfolio investments into Indian stock markets consequently a new noveau riche or emerging class with financial power grew up in urban centres with huge purchasing powers. However the modern age brought with itself not only the geometric trends and abstractions and minimalism but even the movements Communism and Socialist Realism thus taking art and sculpture to common man.
Features of Indian Sculpture
Newer modes of expression and newer forms of art evolved as India was well connected to the outside world through both sea and land routes the influence of culture of other lands have always been felt in the art map of India. Stunningly intricate designs, sculptural artefacts, mark the archetypal feature of the lost history, of the quintessential Indian overtones. When it comes to Indian cultural abode, a major portion is indeed formulated by the sculptures.
Today Indian sculpture has gone international with the unflinching traits of globalization and Cultural Revolution far across and far away, inland and outland. Several artisans from the sub-continent are recognized for their flair. Amidst the urge to conform to the new forms and shapes glimpses of the old ideas, forms and the love for the ancient is still visible. This is one of the reasons why one would still come across a statue of the Hindu gods amid hordes of Indian sculptures that represent the modern man and his environs. However, Post modern age compliments post modern patterns in sculptural rendezvous with the nadirs of various influxes in the idealistic and social zone. The tumults of Impressionism, Cubism, Dadaism and Avant Garde trends and tendencies have silhouetted the artistic penumbra. They have coaxed and cajoled their ways into the spectrum, the confines of the sculptural artistry.
Three dominant features cloud the paramount sky of the Indian sculptures. They reiterate with time in the crescendos of art and sculpture. Firstly, there is an unquenchable quest for identity that continues to dominate the artistic minds which are again materialized through the use of objects and materials which are truly Indian. The second is the use of computer graphics, photography and modern techno buzz and an amalgamation of other media in the threshold of the creation of sculptural art amidst the Indian artistic canvas. Again last but not the least, the exploration for individualist language of expression, the affirmation of pseudo realism, an art genre, which solely originated in India. The stalwarts of Indian arts carried forward their nationalistic ideas which were born in British era.
Though modern Indian sculpture walks the journey of international vocabulary, yet the sources are ingrained in Indian history and Indian culture.