Earliest surviving Hindu painting unveiled in Mumbai

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Earliest surviving Hindu painting unveiled for world in Mumbai

In an epochal event marking the revelation of the lost traditions of ancient Indian art, the earliest surviving Hindu painting, photographed and digitally restored by Benoy K. Behl, was unveiled before a global audience here, the organisers said here on Saturday.

Behl enlightened top international dignitaries including over two dozen global ambassadors, historians and experts, the significance of the Badami Cave Temple 6th century painting – Queen and her attendants – in what is a UNESCO World Heritage site in northern Karnataka.

Behl explained how India has a continuous tradition of paintings, coming through ancient and medieval times and he himself had documented Indian paintings from the 2nd BC till 13th AD, and the lost ancient Indian mural painting styles.

The online event on Friday evening saw a galaxy of personalities like ICCR President Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and India’s Sherpa to G7 and G20 Suresh Prabhu, ex-Cabinet Minister of Guyana Manniram Parshad, Guinea Bissau Minister Rajeshwar Prasad, UITV Chairman Balkrishna Choolun in London, Sapio Analytics CEO Ashwin Srivastava, authors, corporate and media bigwigs, among others.

According to Behl, the ancient murals are the foundations of the manuscript paintings and miniatures of the medieval period which was significant as until now the world has been studying the tradition of Indian paintings starting from the medieval era.

Prabhu discussed “the dependence of the progress of a nation on its culture, and art being the manifestation of its culture”, while Sahasrabuddhe pointed out that “one can know who we are through ancient Indian art”, and the need to create academic courses to prepare experts in digitization and ancient art preservation.

Behl said much of the Badami paintings, as described in the 1950s, was lost when he went to photograph it in 2001, and seven years later, the National Geographic magazine could hardly even see anything in 2008 when its team went there for a major story.

“Therefore, this photography (of Badami) and the restoration are of considerable importance in the documentation of the tradition of Indian paintings,” Behl pointed out.

Sapio Analytics will now show these path-breaking pictures and their restored digital versions to the world at exhibitions around the world starting next year, marking the 75 years of India’s Independence, informed Srivastava.

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