5th century paintings of India, SE Asia and China linked: study

October 02, 2014 12:00 am | Updated May 24, 2016 12:59 pm IST - Singapore:

There is a strong similarity in the fifth century classical arts in India’s Ajanta Caves, Dunhuang Caves in China and across South East Asia, says a new research by two Indian artists spanning over five years.

“We did research for five years about the origin of Indian arts and its influence on South East Asia and realized these were based on Buddha and Ramayana, dating back to the fifth century,” said Kumuda Krovvidi, a chartered accountant from Hyderabad, who now devotes full time to art work in Singapore.

The paintings in Ajanta Caves near Aurangabad in Maharashtra are also found in Dunhuang Caves outside the Great Wall in China’s northwestern Kansu Province, said Shivali Mathur, a commercial artist from Jaipur now settled in Singapore.

Similarly, paintings based on Buddha and Rama have also influenced and inspired people of South East Asia, said Mathur.

Their five–year research led to the discovery of such paintings in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Both Krovvidi and Shivali run ‘Stroke Arts’, which works towards creating awareness about Indian folk art as well as teaching art in Singapore.

The research took the artists back to the fifth century, also called the ‘Golden Period of Indian Art and Culture’ during the Gupta Dynasty.

It is about the same time when Valmiki Ramayana was written.

The artists have done two series of paintings. While the first 18 classical paintings are based on Buddha, the other 14 on Ramayana are folk art in Madhubani–style, which originated from Mithila, the birthplace of Sita.

It took them five years to complete the paintings in two series.

Comparatively, such works in Ajanta caves must have taken generations spread over 300–400 years.

“We have done the paintings close to the originals and we would not claim these were replicated or reproduced. We can only say we have brought a slice of that experience for the global art world,” said Krovvidi, daughter of Indian artist Usha Devi.PTI

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