through the media of stone, bronze and clay. These art objects show a
growing tendency towards a general heaviness of form also characteristic of
the other contemporary art creations. But the medieval images of the
principal sectarian deities came to be smothered with heavy decorative details
not so obtrusively noticeable in classical art. The Deccan and the Tamil Nadu
witnessed an important outburst of sculptural art in the late ancient and the
early medieval periods, clearly indicating a heightened aesthetic
consciousness of the people. The groups of rock-cut sculptures of
Mahabalipuram, Ellora and Elephanta, for instance, typify the distinct phases
of this artistic consciousness. The Mahabalipuram reliefs (with their intense
naturalism and disciplined vitality), the Ellora sculptures (with their vivid,
dramatic and dynamic presentation of epic themes), and lastly Elephanta
carvings (exemplifying in a superb way stories connected with Shiva) show
how the noble artists of South India could raise the art of sculpture to
magnificent heights of aesthetic achievement.
Indian Classical Music
The Vedic age, particularly the Samaveda period, is considered to be the
period of origin of Indian classical music. All the seven notes of the raga
karaharpriya, in the descending order, are found in the Veda. Though it is
based on speculations, it is said that the earliest Raga is the "Sama Raga". It is
believed that the primitive sound "Om" gave rise to the various notes. Experts
in this field started writing theories during this period. The earliest reference
to music was found in the works of Panini (500 BC), while the first reference
to musical theory was made in Rikpratisakhya (400 BC). A fourth century AD
creation, Natya Sastra, by Bharata, which is apparently the first work that
clearly elaborated the octave and divided it into 22 keys, contained a few
chapters on music. Natya Sastra was followed by the next major work on
music, Dathilam. This not only endorsed the existence of the 22 srutis per
octave, but also went on to suggest     that these 22 srutis were the only ones a