An imperative part of Indian art culture is dominated by sculptures in India. Indian sculptures started from bronze and other stones. Sculpture of India has its roots from the planet’s oldest Indus Valley Civilization to globally celebrated modern Indian sculpture art. Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Islam in later centuries, the sculptures of India went on a new path. Their impact added beauty to complex carvings, caves, Stupas and other sacred buildings. Amongst the most magnificent examples of Indian sculptures are Taj Mahal of Agra and Khajuraho of M.P. History of Indian sculpture is as vast as their variety.
History of Sculpture in India
Records of sculpture of India are as old as Indus Valley Civilization. The most excellent example of this sculpture is the 3rd millennium Great Baths of Mohenjo-Daro. At that time Terracotta and mud bricks were used for sculptures. The time changed and so the forms of Indian sculpture and architecture. When the new religious faith- Buddhism emerged, the brick constructions and terracotta works were gradually replaced.
It was during the reign of Maurya dynasty when characters and scenes were carved from Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism to a lesser extent.
The appearance of these sculptures seems as if the figures are posing for a photograph. With all themes from the beginning, there are instances of Hindu art’s most enduring image: superb young women, full-breasted, nude and frequently in some noticeably athletic pose. Such type of images can be seen in famed temples of Khajuraho, of about 11th century AD. Seldom are they only feminine attendants, but mostly they are legendary characters.
Indian Sculpture in Early Centuries
Hindu and Buddhist art fell into the same tradition. The splendid Buddhist carvings on the Great Sanchi Stupa give the impression of completely being Hindu. But Buddhist sculpture holds a nature of its own when the faith moves from India to the northwest part of planet.
A school of Buddhist sculpture is now in northwest Pakistan. It existed since1st century AD. Its ancient name was Gandhara. This region of northwest Pakistan is open to overseas influences incoming along the recently opened Silk Road. The Roman and Greek practicality in art is one impact of this kind from the west. This realism in Gandhara sculpture is delicately pooled with the confined traditions of India to fabricate Buddhist images of a gracefully conventional type.
Kingdoms in south like Chola, Pallavas, Cheras, Pandyas, Nayaks and Chalukyas gave more impetus and patronage to Indian temple sculpture. In Northern part of India, the scenario was the very same. Though, there was difference in the basic style. The North Indian temples have bee-hive shaped towers; the South Indian forms follow the expressions of Dravidian art and sculptures. The ancient Indian sculptures, consisted of religious buildings above all. Temples in ancient India were heart of culture, art and knowledge.
Sculpture by Muslims
Muslim sculptures pioneered India to a completely different form of sculpture and architecture. Thus, Medieval Indian Sculpture observed the creation of dome shaped buildings. Other architectural components that augmented the beauty of the religious places include chhatris, chaajas, jharokhas and the like.
Modern Indian sculptures entirely drifted away from the Muslim sculptures. A variety of Indian sculptures has survived in India. This variety consists of Bronze, wooden, sand, stone and marble Indian sculptures. History of Indian cultures has therefore went through numerous changes over the ages. While some of the sculptures have endured the test of time, others stay behind just in form of carcasses. The contemporary Indian sculptures pursue more international expressions but the sources are intensely rooted in the Indian history of sculpture and art. History of Indian sculpture is illustrious and broad and is still creating new vocabulary.