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On the walls hundreds of images, very often superimposed upon one another, constitute a fantastic canvas that has been many times reused to paint white and red figures. Yashodar Mathpal, who has recently studied most on those sites, has established the following succession for the art (Mathpal 1998), in nine Phases summarily summed up hereafter:
Depicting the Life and Environment of Hunter-Gatherers
Phase 1 Large size animals (buffaloes, elephants, wild bovids and big cats), outlined and partially infilled with geometric and maze patterns; no humans.
Phase 2 Diminutive figures of animals and humans, full of life and naturalistic. Hunters mostly in groups. Deer are dominant. Colours are red, white and emerald green (the latter with humans in S-shaped bodies, dancing) (Photos 81, 82).
Phase 3 Large size animals with vertical strips and humans.
Phase 4 Schematic and simplified figures.
Phase 5 Decorative. “Large-horned animals” drawn “in fine thin lines with body decoration in honey-comb, zigzag and concentric square pattern” (Mathpal 1998: 11).
Beginning of Agricultural Life
Phase 6 Quite different from the previous ones. Conventional and schematic. Body of animals in a rectangle with stiff legs. Humps on bovines, sometimes horns adorned at the tip. Chariots and carts with yoked oxen.
Phase 7 Riders on horses and elephants. Group dancers. Thick white and red. "Decline in artistic merit" (Mathpal 1998: 11).
Phase 8 "Bands of marching and facing soldiers, their chiefs riding elephants and horses (…), equipped with long spears, swords, bows and arrows" (id.). Rectangular shields, a little curved. Horses elaborately decorated and caparisoned. "White infilling and red outlining" (id.) (Photos 27 to 33, 88, 89).
Phase 9 "Geometric human figures, designs, known religious symbols and inscriptions" (id.).
Out of the 817 human figures he recorded, Mathpal identified 779 as men (95.5%), the others being children (16) and women (only 21). The animals (428) are dominated by horses (185, i.e. 43.2%), followed by deer (39; 9%) and bovids (37; 9%)). The other animals are much rarer (dogs, tigers, buffaloes, panthers, monkeys, etc.) (Mathpal 1998: 13).
rock art India rock art India rock art India
Red warriors riding horses Sketchy man kneeling Red archer with bow
In one of the biggest shelters, called Auditorium Cave, Wakankar’s excavations in 1972 brought to light a cupule and a short wavy line under a Middle Palaeolithic deposit, which were only noticed in 1990 and were then attributed to the Acheulian (Bednarik 2000/2001: 40-41, 2001), i.e. to an extremely early period (more than 150,000 years ago) and to an earlier type of humans, a long time before modern man came out of Africa.
rock art India
White warring scene with
elephants and horses
rock art India
Red figures at Auditorium Rock
with a hand and humped bulls
rock art India
White and red big cat
rock art India
Man and humped bulls in different colours
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