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Prehistoric rock paintings

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: A Mesolithic period rock painting depicting a person tilling a piece of land has been found in Orvakallu village in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.


Prehistoric rock paintings:

  • The term ‘Prehistory’ refers to the distant past when there was no paper or language, and hence painting and drawing were the oldest art forms practised by human beings to express themselves, using the cave walls as their canvas.
  • The first discovery of rock paintings was made in India in 1867–68 by an archaeologist, Archibold Carlleyle, twelve years before the discovery of Altamira in Spain.



PeriodUpper Paleolithic (40000 – 10000 BC)Mesolithic (10000 – 4000 BC)Mesolithic Rock Painting in Guntur
PaintingsLinear representations of animal and human figuresSmaller in size with hunting scenes predominatingMade with natural white kaolin and red ochre pigments
Prominent LocationsVindhya ranges of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar PradeshLanghnaj (Gujarat), Bhimbetka, AdamgarhGuntur
ThemesDaily life events to sacred and royal imagesThe naturalistic style for animals, stylistic for humansDepicts social life and culture, man tilling the land