Second largest rock art painting site explored

slice of history:The white and red rock art paintings of human beings and animals. (Right) A view of the rock art painting site at Chintakunta in Kadapa district.– Photos: By Arrangement

slice of history:The white and red rock art paintings of human beings and animals. (Right) A view of the rock art painting site at Chintakunta in Kadapa district.– Photos: By Arrangement  

In all, 200 rock art paintings were found, excluding the partly visible drawings with pigment patches

The rock art painting site at Chintakunta village in Kadapa district is the first one explored in South India and the second largest site in India after Bimbedka in Madhya Pradesh.

Chintakunta is situated on Tadipatri-Renigunta road, seven km. southwest of Muddanur in Kadapa district at the northern edge of low flat-topped hill, an extension of Erramala hills, equipped with quartzitic sandstones intervened by dolerite and underneath with limestone formations.

Ten rock shelters bearing red and white paintings were discovered in the south and southwest of the village, Prof. Sambasiva Reddy, Associate Professor of History and Archaeology in Yogi Vemana University told The Hindu on Tuesday.

In all, 200 rock art paintings were found excluding the faintly/partly visible drawings with pigment patches. They include figures of deer, humped bulls, elephants, fox, rabbit, hyena, reptiles, birds, anthropomorphs, geometric designs and human figures and 10 of them are in white. Some red paintings depicting elephants, elephant riders and religious symbols go well in stylistic and thematic pattern with that of white paintings, probably belonging to the early historic period.

The human figures are holding bows and arrows, facing each other and riding elephants.

The humped bulls are seen in one rock shelter locally known as ‘Eddula Avula Gundu (boulder of bulls and cows) and may be dated contemporaneous with the humped bulls of Neolithic art of Southern Neolithic culture, Mr. Sambasiva Reddy said.

Fifteen important stones on which the rock art paintings can be noticed on Chintakunta hillock are Godugu Gundu, Mabbu Gundu, Yeddula Avula Gund, Peddavida Gundu, Chinnavida Gundu, Chinna Mabbu Gundu, Pidugu Gundu, Padaga Gundu, Dhanam Gundu, Sannasayana Gundu, Vanam Gundu, Chilakala Gundu, Chembu Gundu, Kalam Gundu and Mallelamma Gundu.

The rock paintings at the site can be assigned to three cultural phases, i.e., red paintings of deer and other herbivores, carnivores, reptiles, birds, anthropomorphs and geometric designs to Mesolithic period but may be placed under first sub-phase, due to large size, style of execution, theme and state of preservation which can be well compared to that of paintings found at Ketavaram, Sanganonipalli and Dupadugattu, Mr. Sambasiva Reddy said.

Second sub-phase

The small-sized realistic antlers, deer heads, birds, deer, geometric designs and anthropomorphs belong to second sub-phase.

Red ochre paintings are of Mesolithic and Early Historic period at three rock shelters and Mesolithic scatters at four rock shelters.

The site was explored, identified and analysed by Dr. Erwin Neumayer of Austria in 1981 who wrote “Lines on Stone” (The Pre-historic Rock Art of India), Dr. N. Chandramouli of Pondicherry Central University, Puducherry, who wrote “Rock Art of South India”, and Dr. P.C.Venkatasubbaiah, Dravidian University, Kuppam who wrote an exhaustive book “South Indian Neolithic Culture”(Pennar Basin, A.P).

According to them, Chintakunta site belonged to 8,000 B.C-1,500 B.C. and it throws a welcome light on megalithic period i.e., 1500 to 500 B.C. as well. Further, Dr. Venkatasubbaiah collected artefacts of ancient people who lived in the Central Pennar Basin that includes Chintakunta area during 1.50 lakh years before the Christian era.

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