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The Arts in Ancient India

Indian art is very intimately associated with Indian religion and philosophy. There is always an irresistible urge to find an expression for spiritual longings. Beauty to Indian artist was something subjective. E.B Havell an eminent critic art is all praise for the ideals of Indian art and the underlying spirit behind it. He says that great art brings out national character and thought in a revealing manner and such art can only be appreciated if the ideals animating it are sympathetically understood. Indian art was not meant to cater to the aesthetic taste of a small elitist society. It was meant to propagate religious ideals and reach as large as audience as possible who for the most past were not literate. The masses of India though not considered to be well educated have reacted through the ages in the most enthusiastic manner to art and revealed their essential culture.

Practically the entire remnants of art of ancient India which have survived the ravages of time are of a religious nature or with some religious motif. Secular art also existed as for example in the wall paintings and sculptures in the palaces of kings proclaiming the transitoriness of human splendour. There are also few critics who hold the view that Indian art did not emphasize spiritual and religious ideas to the exclusion of everything else but also was an expression of the vitality of life of the people and their sense of pure joy in life. In Indian art the temple towers though tall are firmly based on earth. The figures represented are beautiful and a smile on the face is quite common. It is also worthy of note that female forms are depicted with decorative often voluptuous motif and often are made to appear strikingly beautiful. While religious literature in ancient India was the work of learned Brahmans and ascetics religious art was the work of expert craftsmen who were secular in their outlook and who enjoyed thoroughly their life without any thought of asceticism. It is their view of life that is prominently depicted in art and literature.

1. Ancient Architecture
2. Cave temples
3. Ancient Temple
4. Ancient Sculpture