Indian Miniature Painting – History and Techniques

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Miniature paintings are one of the many things that make an Indian proud of his country’s rich cultural heritage. Miniature paintings originated long back in the history of India. Indian Paintings can be broadly classified as the murals and miniatures. Murals are huge works executed on the walls of solid structures, as in the Ajanta Caves and the Kailashnath temple.

Miniature paintings are executed on a very small scale on perishable material such as paper and cloth. The Palas of Bengal were the pioneers of miniature painting in India. The art of miniature painting reached its glory during the Mughal period. The tradition of miniature paintings was carried forward by the painters of different Rajasthani schools of painting like the Bundi, Kishangarh, Jaipur, Marwar and Mewar. The Ragamala paintings also belong to this school Industrial Paint .

Indian miniature paintings are renowned worldwide for their beauty, finesse and impeccable detailing. The history of Indian Miniature Paintings can be traced to the 6-7th century AD, the time, when Kashmiri Miniatures first marked their appearance. Miniature Paintings have evolved over centuries carrying the influence of other cultures. The miniature artists gave self-expression on paper, ivory panels, wooden tablets, leather, marble, cloth and walls.

Indian artists employed multiple perspectives unlike their European counterparts in their paintings. The idea was to convey reality that existed beyond specific vantage point. Some of the special Miniature paintings include illustrated manuscripts of Jains and Buddhists, the flowering of the Mughal, Rajput and Deccan miniatures. Themes used were from Indian epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagvata Purana, Rasikpriya, Rasamanjiri as well as ragas of Indian classical music, etc.

A miniature painting, as the name signifies, is an intricate, colorful illuminations or painting, small in size, executed meticulously with delicate brushwork. The colors used in miniatures are generally derived from natural sources and materials. Some of the paintings use pure gold and other precious gems and stones to extract the colors for beautifying these miniature paintings. India has a long and varied tradition of miniature paintings.

Themes of Miniature Art Paintings.

After the Mughal reign, which lasted 200 years, by the second part of the 18th century, the Rajput Maharajahs became independent. They employed these highly skilled artists to replace their own artisans, leading to a sort of painting renaissance in northern India. The whole of Rajasthan divided into numerous princely states, patronized miniature art painting. These states had evolved a characteristic style of their own.The paintings of this era have their own unique style, being influenced by the surroundings- the deserts, lakes, hills and valleys, as the case may.Colorful glimpses of history are provided by these paintings depicting hunting and court scenes, festivals, processions, animal and bird life, and scenes from the Raagmala and Raaslila — Lord Krishna┬┤s life story. Also, courtly lavishness and prosperity have been displayed.

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