Sunday, June 07th, 2009 | Author:

sikh-paintingsContinuing the series of illustrated manuscripts, this time we will be talking about Sikh illustrated manuscripts. Sikhism has made a great contribution in the evolution f rich Indian culture. Illustrated manuscripts of Sikhism has been demarcated in three ways; Nisans, Illumination and illustrated manuscripts. Nisans refer to earliest sikh manuscripts. These were mainly written by hand of a Guru. The handwriting of Guru was used to enhance the sacredness of the manuscripts. The foremost proof of this type of manuscript is Adi Granth and several other manuscripts of that era. The handwriting was used on the folios. The couplets of Adi Granth were included in the folios before mentioning Japu. The later term refers to first composition of the Adi Granth text.  



The era of Nisans begins with 17th century. The color combination was blue and gold geometric pattern which later on gave way to blue, gold and yellow. The second type was illuminated manuscripts that were in vogue from 17th century to 19th century. Also known as belbuta or minakari, the illuminated changed shape during 18th century when indic pothic form was introduced. The decoration used was in floral and vine style. Many parts of northern India including Jammu, Punjab, Patna, Malwa and even Pakistan have been found to have illuminated manuscripts.


The famous illuminated manuscripts include Bano recension and Damdami, both having historical importance. Last in the sequence were illustrated manuscripts. First made visible during 19th century, these manuscripts have been found in many parts of northern India. Kashmiri style execution has been found in the manuscripts with several depictions of ten Sikh gurus and other Indian gods and goddesses. The tradition of all the three types of manuscripts started to decline at the end of the 19th century. The reasons include arrival of new technologies and decreasing number of artists.


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