Hand In Hand: Art and History

mughal painting

Art forms a major part of the way we perceive history today. Early history is drawn from the interpretation of prehistoric cave and rock art, as we have little other sources for this time period. For a long time, art formed a major way in which history was transmitted. History was orally transmitted and art was a major source of that transmission. From the Dancing Girl and the intricately carved stamps of the Harappan period to the headless statue of Kanishka and the cave drawings of Ajanta-Ellora, the history of Ancient India, as we know it today, would not be the same without art and sculpture.
In Europe, the Renaissance, was exhibited by the huge change in paintings and sculpture. The object changed from being the Gods and the Heaven to the portrayal of Man. This is especially seen in the works of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci.
The birth and spread of Buddhism and Jainism is also sourced a lot from the detailed pillars inscribed with sermons, the most important of them being from Ashoka.
The Mughal miniature art paintings are also of great significance. They used a style that was a mixture of Persian and Indian, including Jain, Buddhist and Hindu and depict the emperors in various situations, both relaxed and at work, providing us insight into their life.
The relationship of art and history is thus, centuries old. It is an inseparable relationship in which one cannot survive without the other.

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