The Story of Indian Art: An Overview links you to many different essays, some with illustrations. It is divided into three time periods: Ancient India, Art of Medieval India and Modern Indian Art. There are 37 essays in all, a great resource.
The Ancient Indus Valley The first great culture on the Indian sub-continent grew up in the Indus River valley. Archeologists have uncovered fascinating works of art - powerful animal sculptures, geometric designs on graceful pottery and even children's toys. Start with the 90 slide tour of art from the major city of Harappa then check out special sections giving more indepth information about selected artworks.
Devi: The Great Goddess This web site was developed by the Sackler Gallery. It looks at six aspects of the Indian goddess, Devi - who she is and how to understand her. It is illustrated with many beautiful artworks celebrating the spiritual powers of this major Hindu goddess.
Art of Ajanta The Buddhist religion began in India in the 6th century BC. There are many sacred sites around India. One of the more spectacular is the cave complex at Ajanta. There are 29 temple/caves, each carved and painted with stories about the life of Buddha. This web site gives you information about how the caves were built and decorated, with artwork from the temples.
The Creative Eye The Asia Society invited artists, architects and writers to select an item from their collection of Indian, Japanese, South East Asian and Chinese art then write comments about the art. Some of the texts are scholarly, some poetic, some personal and some all three. Choose some of the 75 artworks yourself and see if you and the commentator agree.
- One author says that there are 1,820 shrines and temples of importance in the Indian sub-continent. Here are a few examples from the web site Sacred Sites of Asia.
- Shiva temple of Rameshvaram and Badrinath This page shows you three Indian temples that are sacred to the god, Shiva. Each is spectacular in its own way and shows you a sample of the many styles of Indian Hindu temples.
- Pushkar, India Puskar was the beginning point of an ancient pilgrimage route around India. You'll enjoy the photos of the city high in the mountains and some of its artwork. The site is dedicated to Brahma, source of all creation. His consort Saraswati was manifested out of him, and from their union were born all the creatures of the world. He is the inventor of theatrical art, and music and dance were revealed by him.
- Tiruvanamalai, India The Arunachaleswar Shiva temple in Tiruvanamalai, situated at the foot of the Arunachala hill, is one of the largest (25 acres) and oldest temples in all of south India. The era of its founding is unknown; the complex grew over several thousand years. The large towers, called gopurams, were erected between the 10th and 16th centuries. The photos will surprise you.
- The Golden Temple The temple's architecture draws on both Hindu and Moslem artistic styles yet represents a unique coevolution of the two. Buddha was known to have meditated in the forest that was originally at this site 2,500 years ago. Now it is a temple for the Sikh religion.
Oriental Architecture If you are interested in seeing more examples of architecture from the Indian sub-continent, visit this web site then click on the link to India, Nepal, Bhutan or Pakistan. You will have a choice of many architectural examples to explore. Photographs are donated by generous people so quality varies, but it is fascinating to see many details and get an idea of the size of a building or temple.
Power & Desire: South Asian Paintings The Asia Society teaches us about the paintings made for the Muslim and Hindu rulers in the northern and western parts of pre-modern India The paintings range from the delicate realism of the court scenes of the Mughal emperors, to brilliant color compositions of love narratives of Krishna, made for tiny Hindu courts in the Punjab hills. Together, these small paintings create a kaleidoscopic view of the world that is at once rich in everyday details and cosmic allusions.
Taj Mahal: Memorial To Love "Now there was one among them, known as "King of the World," whose heart's passion burned like fire, and who built a monument for the sake of love that would capture the imagination of the world." Prince Khurram who later became the Indian Emperor Shah Jahan, married Mumtaz Mahal and she became his lover, confidant and wise counselor. When she died, he was overcome with grief and built one of the world's most magnificent tombs for her. Read more about the exquisite Taj Mahal at this web exhibit.
Buddhist Art and the Trade Routes Thanks to the Asia Society you can use the introduction to learn about Buddhism, its art and how it traveled the Silk Road. There are many interesting examples and you'll see how Buddha's image changed as the religion spread from India to Tibet, China, Southeast Asia and Japan.
Buddhism: Introduction is a good source of concise information. There are nine short essays on the major beliefs and sects of Buddhism.
The Muslim Heritage This website will link you to articles and information about Muslim art and architecture and its influence on Western art. Click on "Home" at the top right of this page to learn more about many other topics, explaining this faith of millions of people world-wide. You can learn about the beginnings of the Islamic faith 1,400 years ago and about issues vital to Muslims today.
Islam: Introduction is a source of concise information. Start with the essay on the Five Pillars of Faith and then explore the other ten essays.
The Hindu Religion Hinduism grew out of native religions on the Indian subcontinent and then blended with the religion of Aryan invaders about 1,500 BC. This brief essay will give you more information about its beliefs and links to many other sites with other information about Hinduism.
Love and Yearning In this interactive web exhibit you will enjoy the detailed Persian paintings from the "Seven Thrones" illustrated manuscript. You can zoom in for incredible details of these colorful painting. A short essay tells you the story that is illustrated.
The Symbols of Shiva Nataraja This beautifully illustrated short essay explains all the symbols on the Shiva, Lord of the Dance sculptures. It also shows a sculpture as it appears in a temple, dressed in finest silks with offerings of flowers - marvelous. Shiva Myth and Meaning Another essay on Shiva, in more depth.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a wonderful feature, the Timeline of Art History. There are hundreds of beautifully illustrated articles on special topics organized chronologically, or from the oldest to the newest, as art developed around the world. Here are topics and artworks of interest for Indian Art.
- Life of the Buddha Read about the life of the Buddha. Through 10 artworks you will see how the artists of India and Pakistan created images of him for worship. There are also five artworks from Cambodia, Japan and Korea.
- The Art of the Mughals before 1600 AD The first Mughal emperor, Akbar, was a great patron of the arts. You'll enjoy the bright paintings and royal architecture at this link.
- The Art of the Mughals after 1600 AD Akbar's son and grandson were also great patrons of the arts. This was when the magnificent Taj Mahal was built and individual artists rose to fame.
- Islamic Art of the Deccan In the Deccan region of south central India, the royal courts followed the styles of Persia to the west. Painters used vivid colors and fantastic backgrounds. Artists also created masterpieces in cast metal and carved stone.
- Indian Textiles Spices and textiles were the principal international trade goods before the Industrial Revolution. India was famous for the quality, fine details and lush colors of its textiles.
- Nepalese Painting Nepalese painters created intricate and colorful religious works. They were known throughout Asia for the high quality of their workmanship and they had tremendous influence on Chinese and Indian artists.
- Nepalese Sculpture Nepalese sculptors worked in wood, stone, metal and terra cotta. Their graceful Buddhist and Hindu deities were important in religious ceremonies.