Humans always looked for different ways to express themselves. Prehistoric people were no different. Rock paintings were one of the ways through which prehistoric people expressed themselves.
In the case of India, two pre-historic rock painting sites which are worth mentioning are:-
1> Lakhudiyar Painting
2>Rock art of Bhimbetka
Location:-On the banks of river Suyal, Uttarakhand.
a>Superimposed painting is found:-New painting is painted on the top of an older painting. The earliest paintings are in black then Red ochre and in the end white painting.
b>Hand linked dancing human figure.
c>Humans are painted in a stick-like form.
d>Colour Used:-Black, Red and White Ochre.
The rock painting of Bhimbetka
Location:-Vindhya hills at Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh.
Rock Painting on caves of Bhimbetka is classified into groups and periods based on Style, Technique and superimposition.
Period categorization contains two important Periods Upper paleolithic period and Mesolithic period.
Prehistoric rock painting of Upper paleolithic period
a>Painting of big Animals:-Linear representation of big animals like Elephant, Rhinos, Bison, Tigers in Green and Dark Red.
b>Stick like human figures.
c>Dancers painted in green and Hunters painted in Red.
d>Wash painting mainly filled with geometrical patterns.
Prehistoric rock painting of Mesolithic period
a>More themes than the Paleolithic period.
b>Paintings are smaller in size than the upper paleolithic period.
c>Loved painting animals:-Painting of both fear and affection towards animals.
d>Both Economic and Social activities depicted:-The hunting scenes depicting people hunting in groups, community dancing, People gathering fruit or honey from trees, Women grinding and preparing food, family life, etc.
e>Animals painted in naturalistic style but humans were painted in a stylistic manner.
f>Many colours were used:-The artists in Bhimbetka used many colours including White, Yellow, Orange, Red ochre, Purple, Brown, Green, and Black.
g>Inclusivity in Painting:-Young, Old, Animals, etc all found space in Bhimbetka paintings.
The prehistoric rock paintings are of great quality and depict the artist’s passion for painting and storytelling.
Reference:-NCERT Class XI, An Introduction To Indian Art