The paintings were done by prehistoric man with white kaolin

Rock art showing bulls with humps and without humps, deer, line drawings of a human being and jungle fowl and men celebrating perhaps after a successful hunt or a cattle raid have been found in two rock shelters in Tamil Nadu. Prehistoric man did them with white kaolin.

While one group of paintings can be dated to the Iron Age (circa 1500 BCE to circa 500 BCE), the second one may belong to the early historic age (circa fifth century BCE to circa third century CE).

P. Balamurugan, research scholar, Department of History, Pondicherry University, discovered them in March. He found them on the right bank of the river Vaigai, near Arugaveli village, seven km east of Mayiladumparai, in the Kadamalaikundu region of Andipatti taluk, Theni district.

The two rock shelters are in different locations on a small hill, forming part of the Western Ghats.

K. Rajan, Professor of History, Pondicherry University, said the two rock shelters are called “Chitrakalpudavu” in Tamil. ‘Chitram’ means painting, ‘kal’ is rock and ‘pudavu’ means shelter, he explained.

On the ceiling and inner wall of one shelter are painted bulls with and without humps, a bull lying on the ground, deer and jungle fowl. They have been depicted in a circular manner around a human figure.

While the bulls have been fully painted with white pigment, the human being and the jungle fowl are line drawings.

Dr. Rajan estimated that this group of paintings belong to the Iron Age.

The paintings in the other shelter show men with upraised hands, as if they are celebrating after a victorious hunt or a cattle raid. Among the paintings here are a deer and an animal with a long tail.

This group of rock paintings could belong to the early historic period, he said.

An Iron Age habitation mound, littered with black and red ware, is situated at the foothill of this site, suggesting that these paintings could have been executed by a proto-historic community, Dr. Rajan says.

Rock paintings were found during a recent field work in a rock shelter, Kutiraikattiputavu, that is, a shelter where horses are tied.

There are more than 120 rock art sites in Tamil Nadu. depicting hunting scenes, various animals, birds and geometric designs.

More In: Science | Sci-Tech