Indian art symbols and motifs stem from the inner life of the people and express thetruths of the Hindi philosophy. Hence in order to comprehend the true meaning andsignificance of the art work, one should have a fair knowledge of the abstractconceptions of the philosophical doctrines of the Hindus.
Ancient Indian art reveals a lot of ancient philosophical and metaphysical tenets ofVedic and Upanishad origin. This is evident from the existence of the Trident symbolson the top of the gateways of Stupahs at Sanchi. Symbols such as the tree of life,Bodhi tree, the wheel, the trident, the lotus throne, the fiery pillar have been usedsince the Vedic times. Symbolism is just inseparable from Indian art. The images thatare depicted in Indian art are thoughts rather than a plain imitation of the person or anobject. The symbolic footprints, the tree and the wheel are the natural links of thesethoughts that are expressed in the paintings.
Some of the images of the Indian art have physical emblems or signs which are ofastrological origin. The images of Buddha, Vishnu, Surya, Shiva and other deities areplaces along with these astronomical signs and symbols.
The tradition of the decorative art of India from which the craftsmen drew theirinspiration had been nurtured by the Hindus for many centuries in the pre Buddhistera. The fundamental and the formal technique employed in the oldest sculpturesshow the transformation of carvings from wood to ivory to stone.