La India

Uploaded by artehistoriacom on 09.01.2008

India, the second largest population country after China.
It’s the cradle from an ancient culture of the oldest languages ​​known in the world
and with many different religions and different ways of thinking still in force.
Its vast territory has hosted a multitude of peoples, ethnicities and religions,
which for centuries have learned to live resulting in a splendid culture.
India civilization covers a real particular geographical area,
the peninsula of Hindustan,
which currently includes three different countries:
India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Shaped like an inverted triangle, Cape Comorin, the southernmost point,
separates the two coasts of India:
Malabar, bordered from the Arabian Sea and the Coromandel Coast,
opened to the Bay of Bengal.
To the north, the grand Himalayas,
which closes the peninsula with the Karakoram and Hindu Kus.
Large rivers cross it, as the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Godavari or Kistna.
Its waters fed by the monsoon,
help grow large cities such as Calcutta, Kanpur, Delhi or Bangalore.
The story of the origins of the civilization of India is a great enigma.
From the third millennium,
the Indus Valley developed a very flourishing civilization,
comparable to the one in Mesopotamia.
This culture had important settlements such as the Mohen-jo-Daro, Harappa and Lothal,
which gives name to the whole culture.
The city of Mohenjo-Daro is striking for its complex network infrastructures
and high urban development.
Probably from the year 1800 BCE begins the invasion
from the Aryan peoples of origin discussed.
Between the seventh and sixth centuries,
many tribal principalities were along the Ganges, Magadha being the most important.
In the sixth century were born Buddha and Jina,
founders of Buddhism and Jainism respectively,
two religions that will play a key role in Indian culture.
Alexander the Great 's expedition to India in 326 BC,
was the entry of Greek influence in the region.
The Maurya dynasty, who ruled India between 322 and 187 BC,
formed the first well documented empire.
The emperor lived in Pataliputra,
from where he ruled over the provincial capitals, Taxila, Tasali, Ujjain and Suvarnagari.
Mauryan’s rulers are the first creators of the original Indian art.
Its official religion, Buddhism,
served as art to convey graphically to all inhabitants of the empire the ideals
and standards of government.
But the main contribution of Mauryan art is the stupa,
a type of funeral monument that commemorates the death of Buddha
and at the same time it's a cosmic symbol
and a representation of the structure of the universe.
Among the most famous stupas,
the N. 1 from Sanchi is one of the most representatives of Indian art.
The next big moment of Indian civilization is called the Gupta empire,
between the fourth and fifth centuries AD.
The empire, originated from a small nucleus in the Ganges valley,
spread over most of today’s Northern India.
Social stability, religious tolerance and the continued peace and economic enrichment
led to one of the most brilliant periods of human history in which Ajanta paintings,
the Sistine Chapel of the East, were made,
In the school of Sarnath, the intellectual capital of Asia,
the Buddhist plastic reached its peak,
while the rich literature written in Sanskrit produced gems such as the Kama Sutra,
philosophical and symbolic representation of carnal love.
At the beginning of 510, the Huns made their entrance in India,
imposing cruel domination of Punjab, Kashmir, Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh.
This means the loss of hegemony --
Gupta in the north and a little after, the Vakataka in the south.
The fall of the great patterns of Buddhism is confined to just three small areas,
Kashmir, Bihar and Bengal.
At the same time, the rest of India is witness to the triumph of Hinduism.
From the seventh century,
India appears divided into many regional kingdoms with diffuse borders --
the most important dynasties being Pala and Sena dynasties in the north,
and Cola, in the south.
During this period, sometimes called Medieval Indian,
Indian art is set and reached its highest expression of sculptural technique,
mainly used to decorate temples,
initially dedicated to the terrible figure of the god Siva.
Also, Jaina art reaches its most prolific and glorious moment.
At the end of the twelfth century, the Muslim era begins in India.
The Qutb minaret in Delhi is one of the first Islamic buildings on Indian land.
Cultural contacts with the Arab world led to incorporate Indian numerals
in Arabic mathematics,
including number zero, as well as the decimal system.
In the early sixteenth century, the Mughals come to India,
from the steppes of central Asia and originating in Mongolia.
In 1605, the Mughal Empire controlled nearly half of India,
extending the control to almost the whole Inidial by 1700.
The era of the Mughal Empire left important monuments in India,
such as Humayun's Mausoleoum in Delhi,
or the Mausoleum of I'timur al-Dawla, in Agra.
But the real jewel of Mughal art in India is the Taj Mahal.
Built in white and translucent grain marble,
the building reflects the desire of Shah Jahan
to build a mausoleum in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal,
with whom he was madly in love.
China jade, chalcedony from Egypt and pearls and amber from Damascus,
were used for twenty thousand workers, working, day and night and over twenty years
in the construction of this authentic "Love Poem in stone."
The Mughal decline begins from 1700.
For awhile, the rich and prosperous India sees that in their coasts,
Portuguese, French, Dutch and British settle their commercial enclaves.
In 1857, the Mughal Empire ceased to exist and India started to be controlled by England.
The crown jewel of the British finally gained independence in 1947,
thanks to leaders like Nehru and Gandhi.
India, a diverse and complex country,
where traditional languages, religions and cultures coexists,
has also managed to be a world thrown into sensuality
and with an amazing talent for lush temple construction.
In short, it is a civilization in which past and present coexist,
Making men and manners acquire a tolerant mood,
always open to the arrival of new influences.