Indian frescos (wall paintings)
Indian paintings can be broadly classified as murals and miniatures. Miniature paintings are paintings on a smaller scale for books or albums on paper and cloth, While Murals are large works executed on the walls of solid structures, as in the Ajanta Caves and the Kailashnath temple.
The history of Indian murals can be traced back to the ancient and early medieval times i.e.2nd century BC to 10th century AD. Murals can be found in the natural caves or the rock cut chambers.
During the Mesolithic period, the caves were decorated with rock-cut art. The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (a World Heritage Site) of the Mesolithic era is one such example. Ancient tools used for the frescoes were discovered in the caves. The frescoes depict the interaction of humans with nature.
The oldest frescoes of historical period have been preserved in the Ajanta Caves from the 2nd century BCE. The most significant frescoes of the ancient and early medieval period are found in the Ajanta, Bagh, Ellora, and Sittanavasal caves. They depict mainly religious themes of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu religions.
The first Chola fresco paintings to be discovered were in 1931 within the circumambulatory passage of the Brihadisvara Temple. Mural paintings have also been found in Kerala on the temple walls in Pundarikapuram, Ettumanoor and Aymanam.
For the paintings, smooth batter of limestone mixture was applied over the stones, which took two to three days to set. Within that short span, the large paintings were painted with natural organic pigments.