Ch 1.5 “Indian Achievements” (p. 39-43)
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The Bid Idea: The people of ancient India made great contributions to the arts and sciences.
Main Idea 1: Indian artist created great works of religious art.
Temples
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Early Hindu temples were made of stone, contained one or two rooms, and had flat roofs.
Temple architecture became more complex in the Gupta period.
Some Buddhist temples were carved out of mountainsides.
o Two famous temples are: Ajanta and Ellora.
o These temples were filled with beautiful paintings and sculptures.
Stupa have domed roofs and often covered with detailed carvings.
o These temples contained sacred items from the life of Buddha.
Paintings and Sculptures
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Painting was a greatly respected profession but we do not know the names of many of the
artists.
Artists were paid to create works of beauty for the members of the Gupta society.
Most paintings of the Gupta period are bright and colorful.
The paintings show a glimpse into their daily lives.
Many of the finest paintings of ancient India are found in temples because the artists were lead
by their beliefs.
Hindu painters drew gods on temple walls and entrances.
Buddhist painters covered walls and ceilings with scenes from Buddha’s life.
Many Indian sculptors created great statues for Buddhist cave temples.
Hindu sculptors made statues of their gods.
The walls of some Hindu temples were covered with carvings and images.
Main Idea 2: Sanskrit literature flourished during the Gupta period.
Religious Epics
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The Mahabharata is a story about the struggle between two families for control of a kingdom.
o It contains the Bhagavad Gita which is a passage about Hindu beliefs.
The Ramayana tells a story about Vishnu and his wife Sita.
o It shows how Indians should behave.
Other Works
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The Panchatantra is a book of stories intended to teach lessons.
Each story ends with a message.
Eventually it spread as far as Europe.
Main Idea 3: The Indians made scientific advances in metalworking, medicine, and other sciences.
Metalworking
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Metallurgy is the science of working with metals.
They created high-quality tools and weapons.
Indians were also able to combine two different metals making alloys.
The strongest metal Indians used was iron.
Iron was a valuable trade item because it was hard and pure.
Metalworkers built the famous Iron Pillar near Delhi.
Mathematics and Other Sciences
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Numbers created by Indian scholars and brought to Europe by Arabs are Hindu-Arabic
numerals (we use them today).
Indians also created the number zero.
Around AD 100 doctors were writing their knowledge down in textbooks.
o These books describe how to make medicine from plants and minerals.
Indian doctors know that inoculations helped protect people from diseases.
Doctors also performed surgery.
o They could: repair broken bones, treat wounds, remove infected tonsils, reconstruct
broken noses, and reattach torn earlobes.
Indian astronomers knew seven of the nine planets in our solar system.
They knew the sun was a star and the planets revolved around it.
Astronomers knew that the earth was a sphere and that it spun on its axis.
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Ch 1.5 “Indian Achievements” (p. 39