[Model Answer QP2022 GS1]How will you explain that medieval Indian temple sculptures represent the social life of those days?

A breakdown of the Gupta type of sculpture is indicated from the 7th century onwards. From the 7th to 18th century the sculptures developed novel elegance, richer decorativeness, the style became harder and angular and the figures were sculpted with a lot of jewellery.

Medieval Indian temple sculptures represent the social life of those days:

1. Devotion: The temples of Rajasthan represent Jainism themes which displayed their devotion towards Tirthankaras and the teachings of Jainism. Same is true for Chola Sculptures which display sculptures resembling Shaivism.
2. Duty Bound: The sculptures of this period were dynamic and mimics the character sculpted to be performing certain activities. For ex: Kings in Battle field or Devadasis dancing. 
3. Respecting Diversity and Tolerance: The sculptures in the cave temples of Ellora and Badami display diversities in religious themes. We have Buddhist, Shaivism and Vaishnavism sculptures. 
4. Sexual: The most common theme in temples, especially central India is Errotica or sexual postures which resembles the union of men and women. 
5. Assimilation of different cultures: The sculptures of Vijayanagara assimilate Indo-Islamic influence and the sculptures in Puri Jagannatha temple resemble assimilation of hindu and tribal gods.
6. The importance of motherhood: The sculptures of Khajuraho displays the heroic character of Hemavathi, who raises her son though the child is born out of wedlock.
7. The feminine nature of Humans: The Ardhanarishwara Sculptures in south India displays the importance of feminine values such as caring, loving and compassion. 
8. Good vs Evil: The Sculptures show how good always triumphs over evil. Ex: Nataraja sculptures of Chola age.
9. The Importance of River (water), Plants and Animals: Most of the sculptures in the temples signify the importance of these elements. Ex: Giant Lion statues of Puri Jagannatha temples or the sculpture of Descent of the Ganges.
These sculptures not only reflected the political system of the day but also reflected the economic activities of the time. For instance the sculptures of Virupaksha temple displays the horse trade taking place in the Vijayanagara empire

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