Tag-Archive for » Mughal art «

Historical Medieval Manuscripts

Saturday, June 06th, 2009 | Author:

One of the basic trait as well as strength shown by India was its willingness and inclination towards accepting multiple ethnic groups. Think about Arabs, Afghans, Aryans, Persians and you will find they all have been incorporated in Indian culture. The result was a truly ethnic and diverse country where each region has its own culture and yet as a combined whole, Indian thrives and shines. All the different cultures in India brought their own art and culture. Few of them particularly, Mughals were great patrons of art and literature. Mughals promoted arts in all forms and Hindu, Muslim as well as Persian artists thrived during Mughals reign.


Talking about Medieval manuscripts, Mughals produced illustrated manuscripts that were wonderfully calligraphed. Two of the best known manuscripts of the era were Akbarnama and Baburnama. Akbarnama as the name suggests is an illustrated manuscript of the life of Emperor Akbar. It is a wonderful chronicle of the history of Mughal Empire and the great events of the era. Written by Abul Fazl, the book has several paintings in typical miniature style. Baburnama gives us an insight of first Mughal emperor Zahiruddin Mohammad Babur. One of the most unique manuscripts, it is also termed as first real autobiography in Islamic literature.


The books is revealing in not only political and military sense but also talks about agriculture, hunting, flora and fauna. The illustrations were done in Persian miniature style. European culture also produced wonderful illustrated manuscripts during medieval era. Numerous manuscripts of the European era gave historians an insight into subjects as diverse as theology, music, poetry and architecture. The illustrated manuscripts of medieval era are no less than treasure trove of information about cultural, political and economical aspects.  

Rajput paintings

Friday, May 29th, 2009 | Author:

frescoes_samod_palaceThere are many styles of painting that evolved, developed and flourished in the 18th century in the royal courts; one of it being the Rajput paintings. Rajput paintings have tinge and shades of Mughal painting in them along with shadows of Persian miniature painting. In fact, each small kingdom of Rajput had evolved their own distinctive style of painting all of which are classified under the nomenclature Rajput paintings. However, inspite of the distinctive features, there were some common elements in all these paintings that bind them together. Out of the numerous themes that are depicted in these paintings, some of the common themes were description of events from the great epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, azure skies and beautiful landscapes, events from the life of lord Krishna, human figures in various dance poses etc. All of these paintings found their place in manuscripts or single sheets that were well preserved. Some of the Rajput paintings can still be seen on walls and chambers of old forts in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur. Characteristically, the havelis of Shekhawati, the forts and palaces built by Shekhawat Rajputs are a manifestation of the ever enchanting Rajput paintings.


The colours that are used in these Rajput paintings were extracted from certain minerals, from plant shells, from precious stones after processing them, from plant sources etc. A lot of adornment of the paintings was done with gold and silver. The richness and the elegance of these paintings came out through the use of these colours. The strokes of the brush used in these were very fine bringing out the fine detailing done in the paintings. However, painters took a long time in preparing the colours used in this painting because of the elaborate process used in olden days to prepare the paint.


miniature_painting_kotaRajput paintings have a history of around 300 years, beginning from the 16th century, different schools of Rajput painting emerged, during this period; – some of them being notable among them are Mewar School, Jaipur School, Bikaner school, Kishengarh School, Marwar School, Bundi-Kota kalam and Raagamala style of painting.