NCERT Class 11 Indian Culture Chapter 5: Later Mural Traditions in India YouTube Lecture Handouts

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NCERT Class 11 Indian Art & Culture Chapter 5: Later Mural Traditions in India

What It Meant?

  • Reconstruct the traditional paintings
  • Plaster & paint sculptures
  • Traditions of cave excavations
  • A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surface. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.


  • Chalukyas
  • Pallavas
  • Pandyas
  • Cholas
  • Vijayanagara
  • Nayakas
  • Kerala

Badami (Karnataka)

  • Capital of the western Chalukyan dynasty (after decline of Vakatakas)
  • Chalukya king, Mangalesha (son of Pulakesi I & brother of Kirtivarman I) patronized excavation of the Badami caves
  • Cave No. 4 – image of Vishnu (Vaishnava affiliation) – known as Vishnu Cave
  • Fragment of the painting has survived on vaulted roof of the front mandapa

Badami (Karnataka)

  • Palace scenes with Kirtivarman, his wife and feudatories watching dance scene
  • At corner of panel – Indra and his retinue
  • Extension of mural paintings from Ajanta
  • Sinuously drawn lines, fluid forms and compact composition – exemplify proficiency and maturity
  • Graceful faces of kings and queens – eye sockets are large, eyes are half-closed, and lips are protruding. Volume was created with simple line treatment.

Murals under Pallavas

  • In South India
  • Pallavas succeeded Chalukyas in South were art lovers
  • Mahendravarma I in 7th century built temples at Panamalai, Mandagapattu and Kanchipuram.
  • Mandagapattu mentions Mahendravarman I with titles such as Vichitrachitta (curious-minded) , Chitrakarapuli (tiger among artists) , Chaityakari (temple builder)
  • Now only fragments remain

Murals under Pallavas

  • Panamalai figure of female divinity is drawn gracefully
  • Kanchipuram temple were patronised by the Pallava king, Rajsimha
  • Somaskanda- Faces are round and large. Lines are rhythmic with increased ornamentation with elongated torso

Murals under Pandyas

  • Tirumalaipuram caves (fragmented layers of paintings) and Jaina caves at Sittanvasal (on cielings, shrine, verandas and brackets)
  • Dancing figure of celestial nymphs
  • Contours of figures are firmly drawn and painted in vermilion red on a lighter background – yellow body with subtle modelling, Supple limbs, rhythm in swaying movement with elongated eyes

Murals under Chola Kingdom

  • 9th to 13th century, maximum power in 11th century
  • Temples of Brihadeswara at Thanjavur, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Darasuram were built during the reigns of Rajaraja Chola and his son, Rajendra Chola
  • Natramalai – paintings on narrow passage of shrine with 2 layers of paint) ; upper layer in 16th century Nayak period)
  • Narrations and aspects related to Lord Shiva, Shiva in Kailash, Shiva as Tripurantaka, Shiva as Nataraja, a portrait of the patron Rajaraja and his mentor Kuruvar, dancing figures

Vijayanagara Murals

  • After decline of Chola in 13th century; capital brought under its control Hampi to Trichy with Hampi as capital
  • Paintings at Tiruparakunram, near Trichy (14th century)
  • In Hampi, Virupaksha temple with paintings on the ceiling of its mandapa narrating events from Ramayana & Mahabharata
  • Panels revealed Vidyaranya, spiritual teacher of Bukkaraya Harsha, being carried in a palanquin in procession and incarnations of Vishnu
  • Large frontal eyes and narrow waists

Vijayanagara Murals

  • In Lepakshi, near Hindupur, in Andhra Pradesh on walls of Shiva temple
  • Pictorial language wherein the faces are shown in profile and figures and 2-D objects. Lines become still but fluid, compositions appear in rectilinear compartments.
  • Adopted by south artists in Nayaka period.

Nayaka Paintings

  • 17th & 18th century – Thiruparakunram (14th to 17th century with life of Mahavira) , Sreerangam and Tiruvarur (story of Muchukunda) .
  • Episodes of Mahabharata, Ramayana, Krishna-leela
  • In Chidambaram there are panels of paintings narrating stories related to Shiva and Vishnu; Shiva as bhikshatana murti, Vishnu as Mohini
  • Sri Krishna temple at Chengam in Arcot District there are sixty panels narrating Ramayana
  • Extension of Vijayanagara style with modifications. Male figures are shown slim-waisted but with less heavy abdomen

Kerala Murals

  • 16th -18th century – pictorial language of own with stylistic element from Nayaka and Vijayanagara School
  • Evolved a language taking cues from contemporary traditions like Kathakali and kalam ezhuthu using vibrant and luminous colors with 3-D human figures
  • Walls of shrines of temples and palaces
  • Narrations on episodes of hindu mythology in Kerala; oral tradition and local version of Ramayana and Mahabharata

Kerala Murals

  • 60 sites with paintings in 3 palaces
  • Dutch palace in Kochi, Krishnapuram palace in Kayamkulam and Padmanabhapuram palace
  • Pundareekapuram Krishna temple, Panayanarkavu, Thirukodithanam, Triprayar Sri Rama temple and Trissur Vadakkunathan temple
  • Interior of houses and havelis by women for ceremonies or festivals to decorate home
  • Pithoro in Rajasthan and Gujarat, Mithila painting in northern Bihar՚s Mithila region, Warli paintings in Maharashtra

✍ Manishika