Rock Art of Pachmarhi Biosphere
Mesolithic to Historic Times
Meenakshi Dubey Pathak
• B.R. Publishing Corporation, 2013, xviii, 266 p,
• ISBN : 9789350500729
One of the largest concentrations of painted rock shelters in central India is found in the Pachmarhi Hills, in the folds of the Satpura ranges. The subject matter of the Pachmarhi paintings is rich and varied; dance and music, religious rites, and domestic scenes, as well as depictions of hunting and gathering. The more recent paintings tend to depict fighting scenes. The human and animal figures are also found with Brahmi and Nagri scripts.
Bradshaw Foundation - Editor’s Review
Rock Art of Pachmarhi Biosphere is an important publication in the field of rock art because it highlights a rare phenomenon; it documents a prehistoric practice in the Pachmari Hills which is directly linked with current ethnic practices. ‘The tribes living in these hills are the Korku, Muwasi, Bhariya and Gond. The Korku have wooden memorial boards on which the carved horse and its rider is similar to those painted by their predecessors in the past on the walls of their rock shelters . They also decorate the walls of their houses and this activity seems to have its roots in the cave dwelling traditions of their ancestors. Men and horses of geometric construction are randomly spaced across the walls. Such paintings are done during the rainy season and on festive occasions, and bear a close resemblance to those found in the painted shelters’. In other words, this publication identifies and conveys a living tradition born from very deep roots.
Found within the jungles of this region are the numerous rock shelters, with paintings that belong to three main periods - Mesolithic, Neolithic/Chalcolithic & Historical times. Dubey-Pathak describes the early archaeological and anthropological research undertaken here, as well as the current research of the present-day tribal communities. She then establishes the Distribution & Classification of the Painted Rock Shelters, followed by an expansive account of the rock art Themes - ecosystems, food gathering, hunting, cultivation, fighting, myths, beliefs and ceremonies. Analytical and Comparative studies help define and quantify the Pachmarhi rock art, setting it within a global context.
Perhaps inevitably, the author concludes that the Pachmari rock art - with its antiquity, density, quality, variety, and current ethnic manifestation - must be preserved. Where the remoteness of the region can no longer be relied upon, and where the most obvious cause of destruction of the rock art is due to the lack of awareness, a co-ordinated program of preservation can be easily and effectively implemented.
The India Rock Art Archive
The Bradshaw Foundation Book Review
|Dr Meenakshi Dubey Pathak is known for her passion for ancient rock art in India.
She received her Masters of Arts degree in Paintings in 1985, with first position in the order of merit from Government College of Home Science under Maharani Durgawati University, Jabalpur. In 1986 she gained her National Eligibility Test from the University Grants Commission of India., and the following year a Junior Research Fellowship to carry out research work on the prehistoric rock paintings of the Pachmarhi Hills in Central India under the guidance of the late Padma Shri Dr Vishnu Shreedhar Wakankar. Her research there was to continue into the 1990’s, when she was awarded her Ph.D. in 1996 by Indira Arts & Music University, Khairagarh.
Further research on the petroglyph sites in Leh, Ladhak in 2002 established the Petroglyph Park at Karu near Leh. In 2006 she became a Member of the Rock Art Society of India (RASI), the Indian Society of Prehistory and Quaternary Studies, and the Australian Rock Art Research Association.
Dr Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak has also held exhibitions based on her oil on canvas reproductions of the rock paintings of the Pachmarhi Hills, in Kathmandu, Nepal 1988, Ujjain 1989, Milan, Italy 1990, Bhopal 1991, Pune 1992, Shillong 1995, Jhodpur 1998, Pachmarhi 2000, Agra 2004, Mathura 2005, Delhi 2006 and Siliguri Subhna Cantt 2007. She also gives guided tours in the Satpura National Park.