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Research Paper | History | India | Volume 10 Issue 5, May 2021
Composite Culture as Reflected in Ancient Art and Architecture of Kashmir
Abdul Adil Paray
Abstract: Kashmir is most rich endowed region in terms of number and types of diversities. In an age when diversities, pluralism and multi-culturalism are celebrated, the unique nature of this region is the greatest asset. Kashmiri culture is a composite culture consisting of elements and influences of various cultures, mainly, from Central Asia, Iran, Rome, Greece and India. Its richness also owes to the fact that it has assimilated elements from some major world religions like Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. It is a fact that since prehistoric times numerous cultures and civilizations have, from time to time, come into contact with Kashmir and have left their imprint on the said culture. Kashmir possesses a rich cultural heritage and this versatile, colourful and unique cultural merge, that is a characteristic of the culture of Kashmir, can be easily depicted by the absolute variety and richness of ancient literature, music, fairs and festivals, rites and rituals, seers and sagas, and languages in general and wealth of art and architecture in particular that thrive amongst the unparalleled cultural cohesion, which is exemplary. This paper will examine the role played by tangible as well as intangible culture in reflecting and preserving composite culture of Kashmir with special reference to art and architecture. The paper will explore cultural transformations seen through various elements on art and architecture of Kashmir and its impact on them. It is an attempted to prove that the variousdesigns, patterns, expressions, motifs depicted in the art and architecture of Kashmir were not merely imitation or influx from various areas and foreign lands, but they were incorporation through conscious efforts as per the Kashmiri ethos. Besides the intellectual achievements, philosophy, treasures of knowledge, scientific inventions and discoveries architectural creations, monuments, material artefacts are also the part of composite culture and heritage of Kashmir. Coins found from the ancient period bear engravings in various scripts and figures of different entities providing evidence of a composite culture on coinage of Kashmir. The sculptures, paintings and crafts of Kashmir are the live examples of art which reflect the intermingling of various cultures. Adaptability has a great contribution in making the culture of Kashmir immortal. The culture of Kashmir has not only always survived but flourished in the process of changing according to time, place and period. It is an essential element of longevity of any culture. The culture of Kashmir has a unique property of adjustment, as a result of which, it is maintained till today. Receptivity is another important characteristic of the culture of Kashmir as it has always accepted the good of the invading cultures. All these characteristic features have made it a composite culture as is reflected from art and architecture of Kashmir.
Keywords: Composite culture, Art and Architecture, Heritage, Artefacts, Monuments
Edition: Volume 10 Issue 5, May 2021,
Pages: 181 - 186