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ROCK PAINTINGS OF KHANPUR AND NARYAULI: ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL STUDY

Article number: - IACAN009


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DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO PT. DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA INSTITUTE OF ARCHAEOLOGY ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA.

 

Introduction


Rock Art


Art represents the human endeavor to give visibility to one’s beliefs. As an ancient form of human expression, rock art is the major surviving record of the non-material aspect of prehistoric and protohistoric cultures. The term rock art is generally used to denote paintings, petroglyphs, handprints, and engravings made on rock surfaces in or outside a rock shelter or a cave. The ancient animals, tools, and human activities depicted often help shed light on daily life in the distant past, though the images are frequently symbolic. Sometimes a single site may have art that dates from several centuries.


Interest in rock art among scientists grew, after the discovery of the rock art of Altamira in Spain in the year 1879, when Don Marcelino de Santuola with his young daughter, Maria, visited the cave. Maria due to her small size could manage to get through a narrow crevice into this cave and discovered the painting of bison. The finding of the cave excited many scholars of Prehistory, but unfortunately, no actions were taken until the year 1895, when similar paintings were found in France.


Significance of Rock Art


Rock art has great significance to humanity generally. Its beauty, its symbolism, and rich narrative mean that it is widely appreciated and treasured internationally, regionally, and locally. Its continued existence is important to help global communities recognize and learn about the diverse cultural traditions, their ancient origins, and relationships to the landscapes they have inhabited.


It can be easy to identify rock art images of humans, animals, or natural objects such as the sun. Geometric and abstract images are also common in rock art. What these images were meant to depict and what they were made are questions that archaeologists and anthropologists are trying to find an answer to, by trying to study how the images were made, where they are located, which images occur together, and by trying to identify which group produced them. Sometimes we can trace a relationship between geometric or abstract designs and other more naturalistic motifs that are easier to identify, but many rock art images remain enigmatic and are difficult to interpret.


Rock Art in India


It is significant to note, at this juncture, that almost 12 years before the finding of Altamira, in 1867-68, Archibald Carllelye of the Archaeological Survey of India recorded rock paintings in the Mirzapur district. Carllelye wrote that ‘some of these paintings appeared to illustrate in a very stiff and archaic manner scene from the life of the ancient stone chippers; others represent animals or hunts of animals by men with bow and arrows, spear and hatchet’. Although it was discovered early on, no work was done on rock art. After this, John Cockburn became the first pioneer who first discovered and published a note on the cave paintings of the Kaimur range.


The earliest rock art studies were initiated at Calcutta under the auspicious of The Asiatic Society of Bengal. In 1870, at a meeting of The Asiatic Society of Bengal, H. Rivett Carnac, an officer of the colonial British administration, reported his discovery of rocks with a series of cup marks at barrows near Junapani, a hamlet about eight km west of Nagpur in the then Central provinces (contemporarily in the state of Maharashtra).


Since then, many rock art sites have been discovered and have been published. In India, one famous rock art site is Bhimbhetka, located in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The Motive Behind the Rock Art


Most of the theories are related to the European Upper Paleolithic Art. However, these theories can also be considered for Indian rock art. After over a century of discussion about the 'meaning' of rock art, no complete scholarship consensus exists, and several explanations have been proposed to account for the proliferation of this prehistoric art. What follows is a summary of some of the explanations that have been put forward to account for the meaning of European Upper Paleolithic rock art.


1. Art for Art’s Sake


Rock Art was made for decorating the living spaces of the people so it would be foolish to see any symbolic meanings in them. This term was coined by Edouard Lartet and Christy in 1864. It is also known as ‘art pour l 'art.


2. Totemism


Primarily propagated by anthropologists Sir Edward Burnett Tylor and Salomon Reinach. According to them, a correlation existed between human groups and animals or plants, therefore, rock art motifs are primarily a depiction of artifacts or symbols that are associated or used by a clan’s totem which can either be their ancestor or an animal or plant


3. Sympathetic Magic


Rock art was done to ensure success in a hunt or to effectively challenge those animals that were dangerous.


4. Shamanism and Neuropsychological


The model was proposed by David LewisWilliams and colleagues. This theory was adopted because ethnographic pieces of evidence from communities like San Bushmen of South Africa who still make rock art have associated the making of their rock art as part of shamanistic practices and rituals.


5. Religious


In the Indian context, according to V.S. Wakankar, the earlier paintings of large animals have a religious association.


6. Boundary Markers


Some scholars have claimed that rock art was produced as boundary markers by different communities when climatic conditions increased the competition for territory between Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherer communities. Hatfield and Pittman note that this approach is not consistent with the stylistic unity displayed by some rock art traditions.


Types of Rock Art


There are 2 types of rock art. They are -


1. Pictographs


Pictography is the creation of monochrome, bichrome, or polychrome images through the application of pigments, like carbon, manganese, and various oxides. As pictographs are far less weather-resistant than engravings, most surviving pictography is in the form of underground cave paintings or outdoor markings under an overhanging rock. Prehistoric artists began by painting with their fingers. Later, they used lumpy pigment crayons or brushes constructed from animal hair or vegetable fiber. These cave paintings throughout the world include numerous symbols, ideograms, anthropomorphs, and zoomorphs. Regarding the pictographs, it is worth remembering that they became the basis of the cuneiform and hieroglyphic writing in different countries.



Pictography is the creation of monochrome, bichrome, or polychrome images through the application of pigments, like carbon, manganese and various oxides. As pictographs are far less weather-resistant than engravings, most surviving pictography is in the form of underground cave paintings or outdoor markings under an overhanging rock. Prehistoric artists began by painting with their fingers. Later, they used lumpy pigment crayons or brushes constructed from animal hair or vegetable fibre. These cave paintings throughout the world include numerous symbols, ideograms, anthropomorphs and zoomorphs. Regarding the pictographs, it is worth remembering that they became the basis of the cuneiform and hieroglyphic writing in different countries.
Fig. 1.1 Pictographs of Bhimbetka

a. Hand Stencil-

The hand was placed on the rock surface and paint pigment was then blown through a hollow tube (bone or reed) in a diffuse cloud over it, leaving a silhouette image of the hand on the rock. Alternatively, the hand might have been stenciled simply by spitting the pigment directly onto it from

The hand was placed on the rock surface and paint pigment was then blown through a hollow tube (bone or reed) in a diffuse cloud over it, leaving a silhouette image of the hand on the rock. Alternatively, the hand might have been stenciled simply by spitting the pigment directly onto it from the mouth, or even by painting around it with a pad/brush dipped in pigment. The hand silhouettes are known as "negative hand stencils". Stencils in Australian rock art are made by mixing dry pigments (ochre, clay, charcoal) with water and/or saliva in the mouth and spitting the mixture into the surface of the rock to create a negative image or outline of an object or body part. The most common stencil in Australian rock art is the hand stencil. Lefthand stencils are more common in Stone Age art than right-hand images, because a right-handed person typically uses his stronger right hand to hold the pigment tube.
Fig. 1.2 Red Ochre Hand Stencils in the Cave of El Castillo

the mouth, or even by painting around it with a pad/brush dipped in pigment. The hand silhouettes are known as "negative hand stencils". Stencils in Australian rock art is made by mixing dry pigments (ochre, clay, charcoal) with


water and/or saliva in the mouth and spitting the mixture into the surface of the rock to create a negative image or outline of an object or body part. The most common stencil in Australian rock art is the hand stencil. Lefthand stencils are more common in Stone Age art than right-hand images, because a right-handed person typically uses his stronger right hand to hold the pigment tube.


b. Hand Prints

The hands were painted (typically with red, white, or black pigment) and then applied to the rock surface, creating a crude handprint. Prints are usually referred to as "positive handprints". Hand paintings might appear anywhere in a cave. They might be on their own or clustered in varying groups of left and right hands. In simple terms, the team found that handprints or hand stencils were sometimes made in highly uncomfortable positions, where far more convenient options existed. If handprints are common the world over, in India, and particularly in the region under study, age-old traditions of handprint making are still alive in many places. In certain parts of the State, auspicious handprints are made on both sides of the door or on grain vats. But what of their meaning?

The hands were painted (typically with red, white, or black pigment) and then applied to the rock surface, creating a crude handprint. Prints are usually referred to as "positive handprints". Hand paintings might appear anywhere in a cave. They might be on their own or clustered in varying groups of left and right hands. In simple terms, the team found that handprints or hand stencils were sometimes made in highly uncomfortable positions, where far more convenient options existed. If handprints are common the world over, in India, and particularly in the region under study, age-old traditions of handprint making are still alive in many places. In certain parts of the State, auspicious handprints are made on both sides of the door or on grain vats. But what of their meaning? Was this the signature of the artist, confirming both his or her work as well as his or her self-awareness? Was it the artist, or shaman, touching the rock surface to acknowledge and therefore enter the spirit world, known as the 'sealing' ritual? Where there is a spiral incorporated into the motif, as at La Cienega and Three Rivers, for example, they may be depictions of healing energy that channels through the hands - the ancient practice of Reiki. A site such as Silapuri, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, discovered by Dr. Mashkoor Ahmad Quadri, also has the presence of handprints.
Fig 1.3 Handprints in Silapuri, Madhya Pradesh

Was this the signature of the artist, confirming both his or her work as well as his or her self-awareness? Was it the artist, or shaman, touching the rock surface to acknowledge and therefore enter the spirit world, known as the 'sealing' ritual? Where there is a spiral incorporated into the motif, as at La Cienega and Three Rivers, for example, they may be depictions of healing energy that channels through the hands - the ancient practice of Reiki. A site such as Silapuri, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, discovered by Dr. Mashkoor Ahmad Quadri, also has the presence of handprints.


2. Petroglyphs


The Greek words Petros meaning "stone" and Glyphein meaning "to carve" (it was originally coined in French as pétroglyphe). Petroglyphs are generally made by removing the surface

The Greek words Petros meaning "stone" and Glyphein meaning "to carve" (it was originally coined in French as pétroglyphe). Petroglyphs are generally made by removing the surface of the rock, by carving, scratching, drilling, or sculpting. The markings can be dyed or painted, or enhanced through polishing. Petroglyphs have been discovered all over the populated world. Some of these images have a special cultural and/or religious significance for the societies that created them. Some surfaces on which rock art appears are also evidence of preliminary evidence.
Fig 1.4 Petroglyph known as “Meercatze” in Libya

of the rock, by carving, scratching, drilling, or sculpting. The markings can be dyed or painted, or enhanced through polishing. Petroglyphs have been discovered all over the populated world. Some of these images have a special cultural and/or religious significance for the societies that created them. Some surfaces on which rock art appears are also evidence of preliminary evidence.


i. Grooved Petroglyphs-

These are motifs that are made by first pecking the surface to create a break and then by abrasion to create smooth grooves that are rounded on the bottom.


ii. Incised Petroglyphs-

Incised Petroglyphs often include motifs that have been incised or scratched into the rock surface with a sharp stone tool resulting in a thin line that is V-shaped in profile.


iii. Cupules-

Cupule stones are defined as horizontal, inclined, and vertical rock surfaces with groupings of roughly hemispherical features. Cupules are usually small (<20 cm in diameter), numerous, and may be accompanied by other

Cupule stones are defined as horizontal, inclined, and vertical rock surfaces with groupings of roughly hemispherical features. Cupules are usually small (<20 cm in diameter), numerous, and may be accompanied by other marks. Cupules can be distributed in lines, arcs, circles, grids, or seemingly randomly. They may be densely or scantily distributed but typically not isolated. In contrast to features such as bedrock mortars, cupules do not exhibit evidence for use in grinding (e.g., residues, refurbishment of grinding surfaces, associated hand stones, or placement near key resource areas). Cupules may be associated with linear grooves (U-shaped in crosssection) and closely spaced parallel scratches (deeper and more V-shaped in crosssection).
Fig. 1.5 Cupules in Bhimbetka

marks. Cupules can be distributed in lines, arcs, circles, grids, or seemingly randomly. They may be densely or scantily distributed but typically not isolated. In contrast to features such as bedrock mortars, cupules do not exhibit evidence for use in grinding (e.g., residues, refurbishment of grinding surfaces, associated hand stones, or placement near key resource areas). Cupules may be associated with linear grooves (U-shaped in crosssection) and closely spaced parallel scratches (deeper and more V-shaped in crosssection).




iv. Geoglyphs-

Geoglyphs are handmade features created on the surface of the earth. These have been made by removing or clearing sand or stones or sometimes adding stones. This creates a contrast between the figure and the ground, enhancing visibility. Geoglyphs, nevertheless, also occur in a range of different

Fig 1.6 Nazca, Peru Geoglyph

forms worldwide. Despite the similarities that can be found between regions, it is clear that geoglyphs have independent origins and development


in time and space. The most famous geoglyphs are in Nazca, Perú. Recently, some geoglyphs have been found in the Thar Desert of India. The ones found in the


Indian deserts are the largest discovered worldwide and for the first time in the Indian subcontinent. Researchers said that these drawings are also unique as regards their enigmatic signs.

Fig 1.7 The Thar Desert, India Geoglyph

Researchers also include other types of work under the term rock art-

i. Lichenoglyphs-

Created by scratching the surface of a rock covered in lichen to create, by contrast, a more or less complex motif.



Created by scratching the surface of a rock covered in lichen to create, by contrast, a more or less complex motif
Fig. 1.8 Lichenoglyph

ii. Sgraffito-

Motifs are produced on the surface of rock by removing the top layer to reveal the contrasting layer underneath. These motifs are typically in lighter hues, as the rock surface acquires a darker patina over time.


iii. Petroforms-

Rocks are laid out in lines or circles on the ground or piled on top of each other – such as an Inuit inukshuk – to form a figure. Petroforms have several purposes: practical or related to the cosmology of the groups who created them.



Fig. 1.9 Petroform at Whiteshell Park, Manitoba, Canada

Previous Work


In the case of the site of Khanpur, previous work regarding rock shelter has not been done, but the presence of rock shelter has been mentioned by S. K. Pandey. Other work regarding the temple architecture in this region has been done. In the case of the site of Naryauli, we find the works of M. G. Dixit, the then Head of the Department of Dr. Hari Singh Gour University and the work of S. K. Pandey. The site of Naryauli has also been mentioned in the ‘Madhya Pradesh District Gazetteers of Sagar’, 1967. In the book ‘Sagar Through the Ages’, 1964, S. K. Bajpai has also mentioned the site of Naryauli and its rock paintings. S. K. Bajpai in his article ‘Archaic Rock Paintings of Sagar District’ also mentions the sites of Naryauli and Khanpur. In the article, he describes the different shelters of both these sites. Other than that, he also mentions the different rock art sites present in the Sagar district.


Aims and Objectives


The rock shelters of Khanpur and Naryauli have art ranging from many periods. The aims of this dissertation were


1. Detailed Documentation of the sites

2. Comparison of the sites and

3. Typology on both the rock art sites regarding the frequency of the rock art in the shelters and their periods.


Hypothesis


By doing this dissertation I wanted to prove the similarities and differences between these sites based on the art present in these rock shelters. Methodology


Methodology

The data regarding the rock art sites, studied in this dissertation, are not only primary but also secondary. A field survey of the rock art is very important, for until the survey is done, understanding of the geological condition cannot be understood. While doing a field survey we must make sure to document the rock art properly and its locations.


After the survey of the sites, it is important to collect as much data as possible, which will help us to identify the area of study. After the identification, we must start a further study which will help us in our research. An analysis needs to be done after the collection of material, which will then help us in writing our conclusion. While researching rock art, a systematic form of methodology should always be present. The methodology shown above helps not only in the research about rock art but also helps us understand our topic for research well.



 

GEOGRAPHICAL CONDITION


“All art, from the paintings on the walls of cave dwellers to art created today, is autobiographical because it comes from the secret place in the soul where imagination resides.” -Gloria Vanderbilt

The sites of Khanpur and Naryauli are in the state of Madhya Pradesh in the Tehsil Sagar. Sagar district is located in the north-central part of the state of Madhya. The district extends between the latitude of 23º 10’ N and 24º 27’ N, the longitude of 78º 04’ E and 79º 21’E. Both sites are formed of Vindhyan sandstone and are in the northwest of Sagar city. These are sites that have rock art from Mesolithic- Historical periods. These are the parts that are full of Vindhyan hills. Other than rock art, the remains of microliths are also found in the sites.



The sites of Khanpur and Naryauli are in the state of Madhya Pradesh in the Tehsil Sagar. Sagar district is located in the north-central part of the state of Madhya. The district extends between the latitude of 23º 10’ N and 24º 27’ N, the longitude of 78º 04’ E and 79º 21’E. Both sites are formed of Vindhyan sandstone and are in the northwest of Sagar city. These are sites that have rock art from Mesolithic- Historical periods. These are the parts that are full of Vindhyan hills. Other than rock art, the remains of microliths are also found in the sites.
Map2.1 Site map of the rock art sites in the state of Madhya Pradesh

3D 2.1 Satellite view of the rock art sites in the context of Sagar city

Drainage


There are five main drainages of this district from west to east- Bina, Dhasan, Bewas, Sonar, and Bamner. The site of Naryauli lies in the Dhasan basin. Dhasan emerges from the south of the district and flows initially in the south but later on, it flows towards the north. It also forms a boundary with the Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh. There is also a presence of a small stream near the site of Khanpur but, that stream is mostly made up of waste of the city. At present, to support the water requirement of the city and agriculture, a plan of a dam has been put forward to be made near this site. Soon, this area will be submerged. Near the sites are the small villages of the same name. Since these villages lie in the valleys, it gets filled up with a lot of rainwater. Therefore, the site of Khanpur has become the ideal place for the dam project.


The rainwater helps people living in these areas for their agriculture. Throughout the years, many Hydrogeological studies by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) have taken place in the district of Sagar. They are


1. CGWB (Indo-British) Betwa Project- 1976-81

2. Normal Exploratory Drilling Program- 1992-93

3. Re-appraisal Hydrogeological Surveys- 1997-98



In 3D 2.2 the topographical view of the rock art sites and their surrounding area can be seen. Near the city of Naryauli, a river can be seen. This is the Dhasan river near which the city lies. Other than this river many small lakes provide water in this region of Sagar tehsil. The biggest lake of this tehsil is the Banjara Lake, which lies at the center of the main city of Sagar, around which the whole city settled. The drainage pattern is of dendritic type. In a few places especially around Sagar town and near Khimlasa and Jaisinagar, a radial drainage pattern is also observed.
3D 2.2 Topo plain view of the rock art sites in the context of Sagar city

In 3D 2.2 the topographical view of the rock art sites and their surrounding area can be seen. Near the city of Naryauli, a river can be seen. This is the Dhasan river near which the city lies. Other than this river many small lakes provide water in this region of Sagar tehsil. The biggest lake of this tehsil is the Banjara Lake, which lies at the center of the main city of Sagar, around which the whole city settled. The drainage pattern is of dendritic type. In a few places especially around Sagar town and near Khimlasa and Jaisinagar, a radial drainage pattern is also observed.


Map 2.2 Status of Sagar District, 2013

Rainfall and Climate


The climate of the Sagar district can be classified mainly into three seasons. The Winter season starts from the middle of November to the end of February. March to May constitute the summer season and the monsoon season starts from the second week of June to the end of September. There are six rain gauge stations in the Sagar district. Maximum rainfall occurs along the southwestern boundary of the district and decreases towards the north and slightly towards the east. The normal annual rainfall of the district is 1197.6 mm. About 90% of the annual rainfall takes place during the southwest monsoon period i.e., June to September only 5.5% of annual rainfall takes place during the winter months and about 4.5% of rainfall occurs during the summer months. During the winter season, January is the coldest month with the temperature falling as low as 11.6º C and max up to 24.5º C. During the month of May, the temperature goes up to 40.7º C (max.).


Special Weather Phenomena


Heavy rain and strong winds are caused by the depressions originating in the Bay of Bengal during the monsoon months and occasionally in association with post-monsoon storms and depressions of October. Thunderstorms occur throughout the year but are more common in the summer and monsoon months. The thunderstorms of the winter and pre-monsoon months are at times accompanied by hail. Fog may occur occasionally during the winter season.


Water Availability


The main source of water supply is the wells. The compact Vindhyan formation and the Deccan Trap rocks have little water-bearing capacity. There is an acute shortage of water during the summer months. It is reported that open wells have a depth of 8-20 ft. Only two wells having a depth of 56 and 83 ft. have been reported.


Soil


The major part of the Sagar district is covered by black cotton soil. However, clay loam soils occur in the northern parts of Banda block, north of Malthone, west of Sagar town, Kesli and Deori blocks.


Geology


A geological survey of the district was first undertaken by W. L. Wilson in 1867. Although he could not publish his work, his original maps can be found in the Geological Survey of India in Calcutta. Subsequently, in 1869, F. R. Mallet published a memoir, titled ‘On the Vindhyan series, as exhibited in the North-Western and Central Provinces of India’. Though not much information regarding the Sagar district is given, the accompanying map in the memoir gives a piece of information about the rock formation in the district. Thereafter, no record of any geological work being done here is present. But recently, Dr. Harisingh Gour University has taken up the investigation of the geology of the country around Sagar and the Geological Survey of India have taken up the re-survey of the geology of the district per modern lines. As known, the sites of Khanpur and Naryauli both lie towards the northwest of the main city of Sagar. Both have the same form of Vindhyan sandstone. The Vindhyan sandstones and shales show ripple marks, current bedding, and other characters pointing to shallow-water and sub-aerial deposition. In the Vindhyan sandstones, primary porosity varies from negligible to as high as 30% depending on the degree of compaction. The storage and movement of groundwater in these formations is controlled mainly by the secondary porosity and permeability created due to weathering jointing and fractured. A complete hydrogeological formation of the district can be seen in Map 2.3. Deccan Traps are the most important formations in the district due to their large aerial extent. The weathered jointed, fractured and vesicular units of basalts form moderately potential aquifers. The zeolitic basalt in weathered form also makes a good aquifer. The red bole bed, which is predominantly clay, is non-productive and acts as a confining layer also.



Map 2.3 Hydrogeology of Sagar District, 2013

Mineral Wealth


The district is not much endowed with mineral wealth. However, it has abundant construction materials and several occurrences of limestones that are used in the manufacture of lime. The Vindhyan sandstones are quarried for building purposes and at Atta, north of Malthone, sandstones are split into plant-like sheets.


Flora


The forest of the Sagar district belongs to the ‘Northern Tropical Dry Deciduous’ according to Champion’s classification, since, the average annual rainfall in the district is between 40-50 inches. A large portion of the district is covered with the Deccan Trap. On the Trap, the climax vegetation under the existing climate is pure teak forest. The sandstones give rise to sandy loams which support a mixed forest. Teak appears as the predominant species on the Trap Hills, especially in Sagar and Rehli Tehsil, its occurrence is more on the flat tops than on the slopes. The descent of teak can be traced by the older trees and a larger proportion of teak from the top to the younger and fewer trees on the lower slopes. Of late the effect of grazing and fire have been more visible in the preservation of teak and similar fire-resistant species like Tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon), Seja (Lagerstroemia parviflora), Amla (Emblica officinalis), etc.


Mixed forests appear on the Vindhyan sandstone which appears in different parts of Sagar tehsil. The quality and density vary on the depth of the soil and the degree of the slope. On the deeper parts of the forest, where the amount of rainfall is higher than other parts of the district, the trees grow up to a height of 60 ft. Some of the chief species are Tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon), Seja (Lagerstroemia parviflora), Amla (Emblica officinalis), Saj (Terminalia tomentosa), Bel (Aegle marmelos), Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), etc.


Fauna


The old Gazetteer of 1906, gives an account of game animals of the district known to the shikaris of that time. These mostly included mammals and birds. Since then, various reports have been published on the animal surveys of the old Madhya Pradesh. Department of Zoology in Dr. Harisingh Gour University has also taken up the work of recording the number of animal species and their genus present in this district. 37 species of mammals have been reported in the district. In the category of mammals, different orders like Primates, Chiroptera, Carnivora, Rodentia and Ungulate have been found. In the case of Primates, Rhesus or Bengal Monkey and Langur or Hanuman Monkey is found. In the order of Chiroptera, beings like Flying-fox (Pteropus giganteus giganteus), Horseshoe bat (Rhinolopus lepidus), Leaf-nosed bat (Hipposideros lankadiva), etc., are found.


Among the Carnivora, the Tiger (Felis tigris) and Panther or Leopard (Felis pardus) are the most common. The tiger is usually found in larger blocks but often migrates for food in smaller blocks, during the winter season. This magnificent beast is usually found in the areas of Abchand ravines, Khanpur, Hanamatpadadi, Patrikota, Ghoghra, Madaiya, etc. The Hyaena (Hyaena hyaena), Civet-cat (Paradoxurus Crossing Gray) and Jackal (Canis indicus kola) are common, but Wolves (Canis pallipes) are rarely seen and Wild dogs (Cuon dukhunensis) are often met with. The Indian Sloth bear (Melursis ursinus) is usually confined to rocky country and dense forests. A few animals that are found here from the order of Rodentia are Squirrel (Funambuslus pennanti), Rat (Rattus rattus rufescens), Hare (Lepus reficaudatus), etc. All of these are common animals that are found very easily. In the case of the order Ungulate, animals such as Nilgai or Blue bull (Boselaphus tragocamelus), Antelope or Blackbuck (Tetracerus quadricornts), spotted Deer (Axis axis axis), etc., are found in this district. Moss King has described 153 species of birds as permanent residents of this district, in his book ‘The Resident Birds of the Saugor and Damoh Districts’, 1912. Some of these birds are crows, sparrows, woodpeckers, munia, myna, cuckoo, etc. As seen above in the whole chapter, it can be seen that the city of Sagar is made up of all the river drainage. Banjara Lake has become the reason for people to settle there and start a settlement. Other than this the weather of the city and its nearby area all have a moderate climate and a moderate amount of rainfall, except for areas that have forests in them. The type of forests depends on the type of soil that the Sagar district as a whole and Sagar Tehsil has. These soils not only have different types of forests but the weather and climate have also helped in determining the kind of minerals that are found in different regions of the Sagar district. These forest areas house a lot of flora and fauna. Many of the flora and fauna have not been mentioned here.


The important question is why do we need to know the geographical condition of the Sagar district and the rock art sites? The answer is plain and simple. By knowing the geographical condition of the area are we able to determine the condition of the prehistoric humans and their reason to live in these caves and draw the paintings? An idea can be deducted regarding their subject of rock paintings. While studying the geological conditions of the district, and understanding can be reached regarding, when the rock shelters came into existence, to date the period, from when humans started living here.

 

ROCK SHELTERS


“The cave you fear to enter holds the greatest treasure you seek.” -Joseph Campbell

Nature of Indian Rock Art


In the beginning, there were a lot of misgivings regarding the nature, antiquity, authorship, motive, etc., of rock art. But gradually the picture started getting clearer when archaeologists started taking an interest in the study of rock art. Rock art studies in India is not only restricted to the Paleolithic period, it extends even beyond it. In the Indian subcontinent, the caves and rock shelters were inhabited and used by people over many periods, throughout which the rock walls were used as a convenient canvas to visually express and transmit their idea, ethos, aspirations, and messages. In India, the rock art sites of prehistoric and early preliterate societies sometimes coexist with the extensively painted caves that were cut into the rock by Buddhist monks during the historic past. Therefore, the study of rock art, at least in the Indian subcontinent, has a wider historical background, scope, and meaning. Rock art has been found widely in India from Kashmir in the furthest north, to the southern peninsular region spreading over Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh. In the northern Himalayan region, sites are also common in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. In western bordering areas, selected rock art sites exist in Gujarat. But the maximum concentration is in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh as also in the adjacent areas of Rajasthan in the west.


Khanpur


Khanpur (23º87'15.63"N 78º64'51.37"E) is a village situated 11km away from the Sagar city in the northwest direction. Here rock art is found in numerous rock shelters. These shelters are found in the Vindhyan sandstone formation, with slight evidence of the presence of the Deccan Trap. The elevation of these hills is 560-600 m.



Khanpur (23º87'15.63"N 78º64'51.37"E) is a village situated 11km away from the Sagar city in the northwest direction. Here rock art is found in numerous rock shelters. These shelters are found in the Vindhyan sandstone formation, with slight evidence of the presence of the Deccan Trap. The elevation of these hills is 560-600 m.
Topography, Elevation and Relief of Khanpur

In the previous works, we find a description of rock art sites in Phase 1 (red tag), which lies near the temple complex. There is another phase present regarding the rock shelters, which is present in the adjacent hillock of Phase 1. Not much information regarding the rock art sites of Phase 2 (purple tag) has been found. In this dissertation, information regarding the Phase 2 rock art sites has also been given. In Phase 1 rock art site, only two shelters have been found. In the Phase 2 rock shelters, twelve shelters have been found. However, in Phase 2 rock shelters, no rock art is available from Shelters 1-4. In shelters 5-12, rock artwork has been found. The shelter complex from 6-12 is also known as Nahar Khoi.

Art Present

​Art not Present

Total

Phase 1

2

-

2

Phase 2

8

4

12

Grand Total

14

Table 3.1 Number of Rock shelters in Khanpur



3D 3.1 Rock shelters of Khanpur


As mentioned before, S. K. Bajpai and S. K. Pandey have done work in the rock art sites of the Sagar district. Both of them have also done work in the sites of Khanpur and Naryauli, respectively. Although both have still mentioned the other rock art sites of Sagar district too. The rock shelters of Khanpur in Phase 1 are-



Fig 3.1 General view of Shelter 1 of Khanpur

Fig 3.2 Depiction of different scenes

S. K. Bajpai, in his book, has mentioned the color white in the paintings of this rock shelter. But in a recent survey, the white color paintings are not visible anymore. This could only be when lime patination has taken place. Therefore, white-colored paintings are not mentioned in the context of these rock shelters. At the top of Fig 3.2, on the roof, we find paintings in red ochre color, where two men, a horse rider, a huge man with a bow and an arrow, and a man with a sword and a shield, can be seen. On the right side of the picture, a man in red ochre color can be seen, sitting on the horse and holding a sword with one hand and holding the bridle of the horse with another hand. In front of him, a slightly faded figure of a man can be seen. Below, a tiger, with its tail erect is shown. Just below the tiger, another scene is visible, where the animal is with two men. The inner body of the animal is filled with color. These are paintings drawn in the historical period.



Fig 3.3 Warriors getting ready for war

Fig 3.4 Collective scenes of Humans and Animals

This is a closeup of shelter 1 with different animals and activities of humans. Here, it is visible that the animal in the lowest part of the picture is a bull, with two men. It is a cattle rearing scene.



Fig 3.5 General view of Shelter 2 of Khanpur

In this rock shelter, the human figures are easily visible. They are either stick-shaped forms or anatomically developed forms. The figures are drawn in ochre, dark tan, and yellow colors. In this rock shelter, the painting period ranges from Mesolithic to Chalcolithic.



In this rock shelter, the human figures are easily visible. They are either stick-shaped forms or anatomically developed forms. The figures are drawn in ochre, dark tan, and yellow colors. In this rock shelter, the painting period ranges from Mesolithic to Chalcolithic.
Fig 3.6 Anatomically Developed Forms

The anatomically developed human forms are of the Chalcolithic period. In Fig 3.5, they are shown in different postures doing different activities.



In Fig 3.7, stick-shaped figures with wavy lines, of the Mesolithic period doing different forms of activities are visible. Most of them are running in one direction. Chalcolithic painting is also visible here, where anatomically developed forms are present.
Fig 3.7 Stick-shaped Figures (Original)

In Fig 3.7, stick-shaped figures with wavy lines, of the Mesolithic period doing different forms of activities are visible. Most of them are running in one direction. Chalcolithic painting is also visible here, where anatomically developed forms are present.

In Fig 3.8, a square-shaped tiger is shown in dark tan colour. Its body has wavy, triangular, dark tan-coloured lines. This figure belongs to the late phase of the Mesolithic period.
Fig 3.8 Stick-shaped Figures (Filtered)

In Fig 3.8, a square-shaped tiger is shown in dark tan color. Its body has wavy, triangular, dark tan-colored lines. This figure belongs to the late phase of the Mesolithic period.

Fig 3.9 Square shaped Tiger

The rock shelters of Phase 2 have 12 shelters in them. As mentioned before, rock shelters 1-4 do not have any form of rock art in them. Therefore, they will not be discussed here. The rock shelters of 5-12 will be discussed here, mentioned in Table 3.1. The rock shelters here have been numbered from east to west, accordingly. They are



Fig 3.10 General view of Shelter 5 of Khanpur

In the painting of this rock shelter, a stick-shaped human can be seen. Since most of the painting has chipped out, therefore, anything in the painting is difficult to be seen, due to which the dating of the painting is not possible.



Fig 3.11 Deer presence in Shelter 6 (Original)

Fig 3.11 Deer presence in Shelter 6 (Original)

In rock shelter 6, five red ochre-colored deer can be seen. The inner body of the deer is filled with clear and features are fleshy and clear. There is another deer, near the color-filled deer, whose only outline has been drawn. This kind of painting has been found in the Chalcolithic period.


Fig 3.13 Faded painting of Shelter 6 (Original)

Fig 3.14 Faded painting of Shelter 6 (Filtered)

It is a faded painting of the Chalcolithic period. Although the figures are not visible clearly, the painting technique and the color used to give us a general understanding of the period.

Fig 3.15 Two scenes in Shelter 6

In the above shelter, there are two scenes visible, adjacent to each other. From the left side, cattle rearing is seen and on the right side, a hunting scene is visible, which has become a little faded. In the hunting scene, the man is shown holding a sword. This gives us proof that it is of the Historical period.

Fig 3.16 Running humans in Shelter 6

In here, three stick-shaped figures are shown running, with a harpoon in their hand. From the color used and the style, it can be concluded that the paintings belong to the Chalcolithic period.

Fig 3.17 Superimposed Painting in Shelter 6 (Original)

In this Fig 3.18, paintings of Chalcolithic is visible, through superimposition. The first Chalcolithic paintings are done in dark red ochre colour and the later Chalcolithic painting is done in red ochre. The first Chalcolithic paintings show stick-shaped human figures in front of the cattle rearing head. One man looks like in a jumping position, with his knees folded. Another human is shown in a falling stance. The superimposed red ochre-coloured squareshaped animal has been drawn later on. The animal is filled with designs in the inner part. Although it is a superimposed painting, the period is the same. All the paintings are of the Early Chalcolithic period.
Fig 3.18 Superimposed Painting in Shelter 6 (Filtered)

In this Fig 3.18, paintings of Chalcolithic is visible, through superimposition. The first Chalcolithic paintings are done in dark red ochre colour and the later Chalcolithic painting is done in red ochre. The first Chalcolithic paintings show stick-shaped human figures in front of the cattle rearing head. One man looks like in a jumping position, with his knees folded. Another human is shown in a falling stance. The superimposed red ochre-coloured squareshaped animal has been drawn later on. The animal is filled with designs in the inner part. Although it is a superimposed painting, the period is the same. All the paintings are of the Early Chalcolithic period.

Fig 3.19 Deer with Human in Shelter 6 (Original)

Fig 3.20 Deer with Human in Shelter 6 (Filtered)

In this Fig 3.20, three deer is present, with a standing human at the top, in red ochre colour. The deer are filled with colours. Even the human is not stick-shaped, rather nearly an anatomically developed human. Along with it, yellow patination is visible in the painting. The painting is of the Chalcolithic period.

Fig 3.21 General view of Shelter 7 of Khanpur

In shelter 7 of Khanpur, varied scenes can be seen. These scenes show different activities of humans, animals and their engagement with each other. The paintings are of the Mesolithic to early Historic period.

Fig 3.22 Style of Enjoying Life and War (Original)

Fig 3.23 Style of Enjoying Life and War (Filtered)

This is an unfinished painting in red ochre color. From the left corner, three fleshy humans can be seen holding each other and running around. They must have been laying around. Just below them, two stick-shaped humans are seen in lateral view. One of them is larger in height than the other. It may be a man and a woman or a father or mother talking to their child. There are many interpretations of this scene. The rock art area is covered with algae, resulting in its damage. This is an early Historic period painting. There are even scenes of humans in war. The algae-covered area shows the stick-shaped humans with weapons and one human is also shown with a wounded leg. It looks as if two groups of people are in a war with each other

Fig 3.24 Scene with different activities (Original)

Fig 3.25 Scene with different activities (Filtered)

Fig 3.24, shows different activities of different periods. The rock art is of the Mesolithic to Chalcolithic period. To understand the different periods of the painting, the different colors and their periods need to be known. Here, when the dark red ochre color is seen, then it means that it is of the Mesolithic period. When a light red ochre color is seen, then it is of the Chalcolithic period. In this rock shelter, superimposition can be seen on different parts. The description of the painting is done from top to bottom and from left to right. At the top left corner, a deer is seen. The neck of the deer is filled with color, whereas, the body of the deer is left empty. The hind legs of the deer are thick, whereas, the front legs are thin. This painting is of the Mesolithic period. Right below its leg, a deer group is seen, of the Mesolithic period. In it even a ‘Bara Singha’ is present. In light red ochre color, a hunting scene is superimposed. In it, a deer, whose inside is filled with line designs is shown being hunted by a group of fleshy-looking human figures, who have surrounded the deer. The figures all have weapons in their hands, supposedly a spear. This is a Chalcolithic period rock art. Just below the above scene, a Mesolithic period painting is visible, where, a group of stick-shaped human figures has surrounded a deer, whose inside is filled with wavy designs. Another hunting group scene of the same period is present there, just below this scene. It has faded a lot. Below the above scene, a faded line of stick-shaped shaped human figures is visible. They look like men who are ready for war. It is a painting of the Early Historic period. Below this painting, another animal is visible, with designs on its inside. From this view, it looks like a painting of the Mesolithic period. On the right side of Fig 3.24, at the top, two filled figures are visible. One is taller than the other. The taller one’s hands are open, in the form of showing fingers. The smaller figure has something in its hand, which seems like it's carrying something on its shoulder. This is a mother-daughter duo. It can be said from the style of clothing. At the side of this rock art, a group of fleshy humans can be seen hunting a deer, with a long neck, wavy designs, and a stick-shaped body. Right below it a monkey is visible, in somersault position. The body of the monkey is filled with a wavy design. All the paintings are of the Mesolithic period.


Below the whole above scene, an outline of a bull is visible, which has superimpositions on it. The face of the cow has the presence of slight yellow color patination. Inside it a small outline of another animal is visible. It may be showing the pregnant cow. Just beside it, another long-necked animal is drawn, with its neck being a superimposition above the monkey figure. This is a goat. These are rock art of the Mesolithic period. On the lower part of the superimposed bull outline, a group of stick-shaped human figures is visible. These humans look as if they enjoying themselves, by dancing around in a circle. This painting looks like that of the Mesolithic period. This scene has superimposed a bull with triangular designs on the inside of it and yellow color is used to fill it. The bull figure rock art is of the Early Mesolithic period. Just below this whole scene, another figure can be seen. This figure will be discussed further.

Fig 3.26 Deer Group and War Scene (Original)

Fig 3.27 Deer Group and War Scene (Filtered)

Fig 3.27 Deer Group and War Scene (Filtered)

Fig 3.29 War scene (Filtered)

The scene in Fig 3.28, shows fleshy humans, ready for war. These humans have bows and arrows as their weapons. In the center, a patination is visible. Another, faded group of fleshy humans are visible coming towards them with their weapons. This is rock art from the Historic period. This scene is a superimposition of a Mesolithic period scene. In the area of patination, the lower layer has become visible. And the Historic period painting has fallen off.


Fig 3.30 War scene and the Bull

In the panel, at the bottom, a bull is visible that has a design on its inside. Far-left to it is an animal figure. It seems that this shows a panel with a group of animals. Some of them have faded away. This is rock art of the Mesolithic period.


Fig 3.31 Mother-daughter duo (Original)

Fig 3.32 Mother-daughter duo (Filtered)

Fig 3.33 A life of Entertainment (Original)

Fig 3.34 A life of Entertainment (Filtered)

Fig 3.35 Masked Human (Original)

In Fig 3.35, a stick-shaped human is visible, in dark red ochre. It is a very naturalistic painting. The figure is wearing a mask and has something on its shoulder. The knees are folded, which denotes that the figure is walking somewhere. Patination has destroyed the remaining part of the painting. The figure is in S-shape. This is a Mesolithic period rock art.


Fig 3.36 Masked Human (Filtered)

The rock shelter 8 of Khanpur is divided into two parts. They are1. Rock shelter 8A 2. Rock shelter 8B


Fig 3.37 General view of Shelter 8A of Khanpur