Cave Art The First Paintings
Vishakha Chanchani
age group: 
7+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Adventure stories for boys
picture book, non-fiction,


The world of the earliest Homo Sapiens more than 200,000 years ago is still quite an enigma. Life for them must have been pretty challenging – finding edible food, hunting, protecting themselves from the elements and dangerous carnivores.

Luckily for us, amongst the myriads of discoveries that they made, including fire, usage of flints as weapons and others, they had also discovered the magic of colour. Mud, flowers and minerals were pulverized to reveal the hues hidden within. Soon they got busy decorating the walls of their caves with scenes from their daily life as well as the birds and beasts that they saw around them; bison, tiger, rhinoceros, wild boar, elephants, monkeys, antelopes, lizards, peacocks and others.

Today, it is the remnants of their art etched on walls that enables us to get a glimpse into the lives of our earliest ancestors. Cave art has so far been discovered in many parts of the world France, Libya, Brazil, Spain, Indonesia, Argentina, Australia and also in Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh, India.

Kudos to Tulika for bringing out this well-articulated book as part of its Looking at Art series. It has effectively brought out the beauty of cave art through actual photographs, interspersed with colour renditions with just the right amount of information being provided.

The author has skillfully expressed this fascinating subject in simple lucid language that children will easily comprehend. It is sure to pique their curiosity enough to make them head towards an encyclopedia or browse the net for more information on the wonderful world of cave art in general and that of the Bhimbetka Caves, in particular.

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee