Art Traditions of Eastern Rajasthan (a Study of Art & Architecture Up to 12th Century)

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ART TRADITIONS OF EASTERN RAJASTHAN
(A Study of Art & Architecture up to 12th Century)

In the history of mankind Rajasthan has a very important place. The beginning of human history of Rajasthan goes back to as early as the period of the Stone Age. Eastern Rajasthan which comprises mainly Bharatpur, Dholpur, Alwar, Dausa, Jaipur, Tonk and Karauli districts, has special place in the history of mankind. It has one of the oldest geological formations[1] and archeological excavations at different places in the Eastern Rajasthan have given ample evidences of the presence of Stone Age Culture.

Since the later half of the 19th century when Carllyle[2] and Hackett[3] discovered some Paleolithic objects from Dausa and Jaipur district, a number of sites have been discovered in the entire region, of which Harsora, Bhangarh, Bairat (in Alwar) and Moti Dungri, Behari Pura, Jhir (in Jaipur ) are most important.

Stone Age to state formation Eastern Rajasthan has shown the continuity in historical periods. Immediately after the Stone Age Chalcolithic and O.C.P.(Ochre Colour Pottery ) culture has been found in the region. The exploration and excavation at Nandlalpura (Jaipur), Jodhpura (Jaipur), Noh (Bharatpur) have clearly proved the existence of O.C.P. culture. Recent excavations at Noh have revealed the existence of five cultural periods of ceramic industry viz-. I. OCP II. B&R (it is distinctly different from the Black & Red Ware of Ahad culture) III. P.G.W. (Painted Grey Ware),IV. N.B.P.W.(Northern Black Polished) and V. Shung - Kushan Period.

Likewise Bairat has also proved a site of culture continuity from Stone Age to historical period.[4]

The area which is now known as Eastern Rajasthan was known as 'Matsya-Janapad' in ancient period. 'Matsya' as a tribe has been mentioned in Rigved along with other Aryan tribes.[5] Gopath and Kaushitki Upanishads also give references of Matsya. In the Buddhist Era or at the time of 1st state Formation in Indian sub-continent this region was included in "Shodash Mahajanpad" as 'Matsya Sangh'. We find various references of this region in ancient religious texts. 'Manusmriti' refers to the Matsya region as a part of “Bharamarishi Desa”. Regarding the extent of the Matsya settlement Rai Choudhari points out that it lies to the South of Kurus of Delhi and the west of the Surasena of Mathura, Southwards it approaches the Chambal while westward it reaches to the forest skirting the river Saraswati.[6]To be more exact it thus comprises the modern Eastern Rajasthan from Dholpur to Jaipur and from Alwar to Karauli.

Mahabharat also refers to Matsya as most respectable tribe of Kshatriyas. According to Mahabharat the Pandavas also spent 13th year of their exile incognito at Virat which was the capital city of Matsya Janpad, now better known as Bairat. In the Mahajanpath period there are very clear evidences of existence of Matsya as Janpad. Both Buddhist and Jain canons include Matsya in the list of sixteen Mahajanpad. The discovery of Minor Rock Edict of Ashok at Bairat goes to prove that this region was included in Mauryan Empire. At that time it was also a major Buddhist centre - proven by excavated temple and Vihar in the hilly areas of Bairat.

The disintegration of Mauryan Empire was followed by the foreign invasions. It seems that this region was also affected by these invasions. A small jar containing 36 coins of Indo-Greek, discovered at Bairat further lead to the conclusion that the region formed part of the Indo-Greek domination. It is further confirmed by the discovery of Mitra coins from Rairh which is situated in modern Tonk.

After the end of the Indo-Greek invasion in the closing years of 1st century B.C. the rule of Tribal Republics such as Yaudheyas, Arjunayans and to some extent Malvas appears to have emerged in the area. It is further corroborated by the inscription of the Yaudheyas at Vijaygarh near Bayana. Also the Allahabad inscription of...
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