Also, the spray painting ranges from explanations of delight, affirmations of affection, discourse, curses, regrets, journal sections, or simple articulations of visit. Further, many exhibit an elevated level of education and profound enthusiasm for workmanship. Moreover, the verses on it are in varying languages such as Sinhalese, Sanskrit, and Tamil. Thus, there is no harm in introducing it as a spotlight for the harmonious entanglement of Sri Lankan culture as well.
Finally, the contours were outlined in black or brown. Though the techniques for obtaining light and shade relief were not known to the Indian painter at this time, by the 5th century, at least, he was using a method of surface relief, an effect he obtained through scraping or boring. It is remarkable how the Indian artist managed to give an illusion of depth, in spite of his flat painting technique; he achieved it solely through the amazing exactitude and sensitivity of his drawing. There is no one who can surpass the Indian artist at conveying, with the help of simple curves, the idea of fullness and plenitude, a sense of weight or the frailty of the female body.
The Ajanta paintings are thus the expression of a religious belief and a general cultural tradition; they also reveal details of Indian life during the Gupta period. We can imagine it carefree and patriarchal, refined and bucolic. We see the delicate architecture of their frail wooden palaces, their inner courts, where life was lived out in all its luxury and simplicity. Princes and princesses are adorned with jewels and surrounded by innumerable servants, orchestras and dancers; they travel on the backs of elephants or in decorated chariots, drawn by elegant Asian horses. Yet their furniture is of the most rustic kind, and only the presence of a few utensils of precious metals, placed directly on the ground, indicate the wealth of the masters of the house. In the same way, costumes are very simple, men and women in striped loincloths, their chests naked. Probably the women draped themselves with that extremely fine, transparent material which is made in Northern India and which has always been very popular. We shall come across this gossamer-thin material in later paintings from Northern India. We should point out, while on this matter, that neither nakedness nor physical love has ever been a forbidden subject in India. On the contrary, womanhood, a woman's body, are exalted as symbols of the feminine essence of the universe and, later on, a woman's love became an important means of gaining salvation. We should also note the favourable position women occupy in painting and in Indian society of this time, a position which is confirmed by Indian literature.
The manuscripts were executed on palm leaves, long and narrow in format and kept together by threads running through the pages, the whole bound between two pieces of wood. The illustrations are scanty and are done in small frames 3-inches by 2-inches inset within the text. As in wall-paintings, the outlines of this book illustration are done in red or black and colours are filled in afterwards; the colours are white, red, yellow, green and indigo-blue. The composition is simple and usually includes a god (Buddha or a Bodhisattva) surrounded by pupils, or their female alter ego (shakti); the latter sometimes take pride of place in the paintings. Here we touch on Tantric Buddhism, and while these paintings do give an impression of calm and dignity, there is a hint of this Mahayana tendency towards eroticism and magic.
By their finesse, their serenity and rather languid grace the Polonnaruva paintings show a definite return to pure Buddhist classicism; this was possibly a simple reaction against the attempted Brahman hegemony, or it may have been the stagnation of an inspiration limited by the continued repetition of the same themes. The perfect drawing techniques make us regret, all the more, the loss of these secular compositions. 153554b96e