Author: R D Choudhury
Photographer: Tejbir Singh
Publisher: National Museum
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/A
Assam, like the rest of India, had its cultural roots in the Old Stone Age, giving back in time to more than half-a-million years. It also passed through the Late Stone Age and New Stone Age or Neolithic, but it did not witness the emergence of Bronze Age comparable to the Indus Valley Civilization of the third millennium B C, No pre-historic rockut cave painting s reported from some regions, is noticed in Assam, nay in the North East India,. In ancient period, Assam was known as Pragjyotisa and its is mentioned in the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Later on Assam came to be known as Kamarupa, of which Pragjyotispura i. e., present Guwahati, was the capital. In the late medieval period, Kamarupa came to be known as Assam, which included in the entire North-East.
The art of stone sculpture in Assam was, however, still later, not earlier than the 1st century BC or even 1st century Ad when at a place called Sri Surya Pahar some votive stupas, I e, small sized stupas in round, were carved out of solid rocks. We have no evidence of Mauryan (3rd century BC), works of art in this part of the country, so far. The Bhaitbai remains, after excavation though studies by scholars, the claim to be the remains of a Buddhist stupa dating back to 200 or 300 B C made by some Scholars is yet to be conclusively proved. But it is proved that western Assam witnessed Buddhist settlement in the past.
The first, and the most impressive, example of monumental art in stone in Assam is located at DaParvatia near Tezpur. It has come down to us as reliefs on the door frame (Dvara) for a temple, now otherwise completely in ruins. It is dated to the 5th-6th century A D on the basis of the style of the figures, which share all the characteristic features of the Classical Art of the Gupta period. It is generally related to the late mature phase of Sarnath School of Indian Art. This piece of splendid work of art with great details and the elegant figures of Ganga and Yamuna must have been imported from Ganga Valley. This type of high class ornate door way of a temple depicting Ganga and Yamuna is not seen anywhere in the country.
3. Erotic Scene
4. Plague showing Stamped Buddha figure
6. Khadiravani Tara
9. An Aristocratic lady
13. Bust of Buddha