What are the Shadanga and Chitrasutra traditions of ancient India in connection with ancient Indian Paintings?

Shadangas or six limbs of Indian Painting are as follows:

  1. Rupabheda: The knowledge of appearances.
  2. Pramanam: Correct perception, measure and structure/proportion.
  3. Bhava: Action of feelings on forms.
  4. Lavanya Yojanam: Infusion of grace, artistic representation.
  5. Sadradhyam: likeness or verisimilitude.
  6. Varnikabhanga: Artistic manner of using the brush and colours.

Since early times, the art and technique of painting were carefully studied and put down in the Chitrasutra of the Vishnudharmottara Purana. This was an oral tradition, which was recorded on paper around the fifth century A.D. It is the oldest known treatise on painting in the world.
Chitrasutra says that the paintings are the greatest treasure of mankind as they have a beneficial influence on the viewer. Chitrasutra contains the rules and suggestions on how to depict different themes effectively, the proportion of human figures, use of colours to help in the communication of ideas, the fine details of movements and stances of the human body in different situations and in different moods and so many other ideas and details to instruct the painter.

Published: May 1, 2016 | Modified:June 22, 2019

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