All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Cathleen Cummings

Advisory Committee Members

Heather McPherson

Lucy Curzon

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2017

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

"Chaturbhujnath Nala, located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, is the longest" "rock art gallery known in the world today. It consists of open-air rock shelters found in a" "rift valley, along an ephemeral tributary that pours into the Chambal River. The shelters" "are composed primarily of Vindhyan sandstone, which has metamorphosed to quartzite" "over time. Because the site is located within the state protected Gandhi Sagar Wildlife" "Sanctuary and safeguarded by the Archaeological Survey of India, the majority of the" "rock shelter paintings are still in immaculate condition. However, these artworks have yet" "to garner much attention by art historians, as they are studied almost exclusively by ar-" "chaeologists as evidence of regional cattle domestication during the Neolithic period." "There are a number of fascinating images throughout Chaturbhujnath Nala por-" "traying horse-drawn chariots with armed warriors. While these are common motifs found" "at this particular site, such depictions are uncommon among other rock art galleries in" "South Asia. One particular painting of interest features a fiery-looking humanoid figure," "armed foot soldiers, and a horse-drawn chariot with two charioteers. This thesis contextu-" "alizes this painting, and by extension similar artworks, within the broader scope of the" "technological advancements of the Chalcolithic era and the Vedic period, during which" "time the most ancient of Hindu texts were composed. I will argue that the artists of Cha-" "turbhujnath Nala strategically created images such as this for ritual evocation, territorial" "demarcation, and as a means of self-defense; to identify, protect, and bless the lands upon" "which they thrived. My work reveals the extraordinary level of complexity and self-" "awareness found within the prehistoric artworks at Chaturbhujnath Nala."

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