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RAINBOW OF COLOURS – THE PAHARI MINIATURE PAINTING"

Dr. (Mrs.) Sonika

Indian miniatures are in the art world a class by themselves. ‘Miniature’ generally refers to a painting or illumination, small in size, meticulous in detailing and delicate in brushwork1 . Indian Miniature Painting has a long history of over thousand years and presents a comprehensive record of the religious and emotional feelings of the Indian people. These paintings show the Indian genius in its pure form. Its inspiration is rooted in the people’s hearts, keeping close to their poetry, music and drama. The great merit of this art is the exquisite delicacy of drawing with decorative details. The artists of these miniatures used bright colours with tempera effect and display an unusual understanding of colour combinations. Miniature art form made its debut in the 10th century. The earliest of miniatures are found painted on palm-leaves and their themes relating to Jainism and Buddhism. The palm-leaf paintings seem to have developed between 10th to 12th centuries. In the 14th century, palm leaf was replaced by paper and to earlier colours were added new mineral colours and pigments. Paper, with its tougher, smoother and better pigments absorbing surface almost revolutionized the entire art scenario2 . Early miniatures are divided as Pala and Jain and later as Rajasthani, Mughal, Pahari and Deccani. The painting style developed around the lower hills of Himalayan range is known as Pahari art school. It found patronage in the Rajput princedoms of the Punjab (now Himachal Pradesh) and Garhwal hills. It developed during the late seventeenth centuries and flourished down to the nineteenth. The precision of a Mughalized realism and a symbolism derived from classical and medieval literature were combined, the sublime and sensuous were lyrically woven together. Besides, the beauty of the local landscape played and important role in some of the great works painted in the Pahari ateliers1 .

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