Ancient art offers valuable insights into the evolution of hairstyles. In India, archaeological discoveries showcase the use of combs and mirrors for hairstyling. Examples include the coiled hair of the Dancing Girl and the neatly trimmed hair and beard of the Priest-King from the Harappan period. Mauryan art displays intricate hairstyling, as seen in the Didarganj Yakshi. The Shunga period introduces indigenous Indian hairstyles, with women depicted with neatly tied hair and loose knots at the back in Bharhut sculptures.
The Satavahana and Kushana periods of ancient Indian art showcased unique hairstyles. In the Satavahana period, men had short haircuts while women kept their hair long. The Kushana period presented two distinct art styles - Gandhara, influenced by Greek art, and Mathura, which incorporated elements of folk art. These periods reflected the influence of foreign cultures on Indian artistic styles due to connections with countries like Rome and China. Examples of hairstyles from these periods include wavy hair neatly arranged backwards in Gandhara art and vertical Jatas of twelve bands tied around a terracotta head of Siva in Mathura art. Studying ancient art helps in understanding the cultural and societal changes that shaped Indian hairstyles over the centuries. From the Harappan period to the Satavahanas and the Kushana period, these representations offer insights into the history of Indian hairstyling.