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  Indian Art and Culture

"India is the cradle of human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most astrictive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only! "

Mark Twain 

The roots of Indian art lies  in the cultural heritage of Indian people and  folk cults and Vedic thoughts as interpreted and reinterpreted in Vedic texts, Upanishads,   Buddhists, and Jain and various other literatures.

Indian culture has been the product of two streams of thoughts and practices - one is classical, belonging to the sophisticated literary traditions. The other is the folk concept that belongs to the oral traditions operating at the folk levels in villages. The roots of the higher traditions lay in little traditions.

Our history says that sanctuaries of religious art and literature had sprung into existence in villages from earliest times, when religious teachers, poets, painters, musicians and epic performers sought recluse in the countryside. These sanctuaries made possible, survival of archaic myths and history and art rich and colourful. Historic development of professional village craftsmanship, like its content, tends towards Indian classical art.  

The most interesting characteristic of Indian art is the variety of racial elements with different degrees of social development resulting in emergence of different cultures, customs and manners, coming from outside or developed within the country. Since about five hundred years, India possessed the rudiments of a more advanced social and political development. This early phase of development known as the Harappan culture named after the place where the first finds were made.  A process of which in urban art, was to become even more marked and give birth to many specialized crafts.  Indian plastic and pictorial arts of unimaginable antiquity evidenced a continuity that has survived very historical, social – economic and political development to produce an art that is especially Indian. These living traditions intrinsically linked with the historic cultural settings from which they arise and ultimately nurtured the local people. Despite this diversity India has always exhibited the great example of one in many.

Folk is an uninterrupted tradition extending back more than twelve millennia.

Collectively it is called  Indian cultural heritage.