Saturday, June 27, 2015

Some Indian miniature paintings

I love Indian miniature paintings of all kinds. the more abstract ones have a marvelous sense of space and color. The romantic ones are charming, often depicting moods so well, I love the ones of the monsoon rainy season, which is considered a time of romance in India, the details and patterns of leafy trees and flowers and the paintings which include animals. 

Below are a few Indian miniature paintings found on the web. It's possible to buy Indian miniatures on eBay. There's a great selection. 

Kangra painting of the Cosmic Sun, 18th century

From a series of Vishnu Avataras: Yagya. Jaipur, circa 1860

Kalki Avatar
Punjab Hills, Guler, c. 1765

Two girls standing on a terrace, clasping hands and holding lotus flowers - Rajput Painting, early 19th century

From the Mary Binney Wheeler Image Collection

Divine Lovers in Moonlight, Kangra style, 1810, Chamba Museum, Himachal Pradesh, India

A miniature painting depicting two lovers watching birds in the sky, 1975-1982

Equestrian portrait of a princess, Guler style, 1790, Chamba Museum, Himachal Pradesh, India

Krishna releases the defeated Rukmi, Guler style, 1770, Chamba Museum, Himachal Pradesh, India

Radha and Krishna, Guler, 18th century, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India

Portrait of a woman, Mughal miniature painting

Indian miniature painting showing a woman with peacocks in a landscape, 1978
Miniature Painting, The Rainy Season, Kangra, 19th century, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India

Miniature Painting, The Rainy Season, Kangra, 19th century, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India

Siva and Parvati, Kangra style, 1815, Chamba Museum, Himachal Pradesh, India

Krishna saving passengers from a shipwreck caused by a nefarious horse-headed deity, 1978-1982

'Divided from her darling,
most unhappy in love,
like a nun renouncing the world,
this Todi abides in the grove and
charms the hearts of the deers.'
(Pal, 1978, 128, quoting Coomaraswamy)
The lone lady, symbolic of love in separation or loss, is a leitmotif of ragamala paintings. Whether gathering flowers, wandering through the forest, or ruefully strumming a musical instrument, the lady yearns for her absent lover. One of the most easily recognisable and common images is that of the Todi ragini, where the lady holds a 'rudra vina' ('bin'), and is surrounded by deer. The physical attraction of bucks for human females has been used as a recurring sexual metaphor in Sanskrit poetry from antiquity. (Pal, 1978, 128) and significantly, in this image as most other Todi ragini, the lady faces the buck rather than the fawn. The musical raga is to be played in the first quarter of the day from sunrise; its expression tender and loving. It is believed that originally Todi was a song of village girls guarding the ripening fields against the deer who became so absorbed in listening, they would stop feeding (Ebeling, 1973, 60).
The delicate drawing of this image, the fineness of detail focussed on the central figure, and the minimal background, is typical of late Mughal styles. Different texts on Todi ragini allude to the lady's limbs being tinged and perfumed with saffron and camphor.
Goddess Durga fighting with Mahishasura (buffalo-demon) - Early 18th century Guler School painting

 Tansen and Swami Haridas in Vrindavan - Jaipur-Kishangarh mixed style, ca. 1750

Miniature Painting, Rukmini sending a message to Krishna, Guler style, 1790, Chamba Museum, Himachal Pradesh, India

Laila, Majnu, Kota, Rajasthan, c 1760, National Museum, Delhi

Saint Musicial Haridas,Akbar and Tansen, Kishangarh, Rajasthan, c 1760,National Museum, Delhi
Miniature from Gwalior, 1978
Bride and Groom, Agra, 1972

Ragini Todi Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, circa 1710 A.D., National Museum, New Delhi
Shri Vishnu Saving the Elephant Gajendra, Pahari region, Guler, circa 1760.

from the excellent Indian Miniature Paintings blog
From the Navin Kumar website,
 Court Paintings of India from the 16th to the 19th Centuries

From the Victoria and Albert Museum website

Hindu hill kingdoms

Nainsukh, 'Mian Mukund Dev of Jasrota riding through a meadow', about 1754. Museum no. IS 7-1973. Opaque watercolour and gold on paper.

In the hills at the edge of the Panjab plains, isolated Hindu kingdoms nurtured strongly distinctive styles of painting. For some of the 17th century and throughout the 18th, Pahari artists - artists 'of the hills' - produced extraordinarily vibrant paintings for the rulers of states such as Basohli, Mankot, Nurpur, Chamba, Kangra, Guler and Mandi. They illustrated the ancient stories of Hinduism and depicted the lives of their patrons, the characteristics of these divine or earthly figures drawn from a large repertoire of conventions.

Their work is stylised, but full of vigour, their subjects often isolated against backgrounds of saturated colour - deep yellow or intense red, or gentler hues of sage green or ultramarine.
Little is known about these artists, but the family relationships of some Pahari masters has come to be established, providing the key to understanding stylistic influences between the different courts. Artists travelled from one to the other over the generations, creating their own individual styles yet working within a recognisable family tradition. One of the most significant families was that of Pandit Seu of Guler, who died in about 1740, and his sons, the remarkable Nainsukh and Manaku.
Pahari artists also worked for Sikh chiefs in the late 18th century and when Sikh rule united the Panjab and the Hindu kingdoms declined, the later generations of Pahari artists increasingly turned to the Sikh courts for patronage.

Attributed to the "Durga Master." Vishnu Reclining on Ananta. From Sage Markandeya's Ashram and the Milky Ocean, c. 1780-1790.

Via: translinguistic other

"Vishnu’s flotation device is Ananta-Shesha, the infinitely-headed serpent on which the god reposes during the endless, timeless period before/between the creation of the universe(s). In Hinduism—as in most mythological systems around the world—the serpent is a complex and multivalent symbol.  Cosmologically speaking, Ananta may well represent the Milky Wayhe is said to wear the planets on his myriad hoods and he is instrumental in the churning of the cosmic “ocean of milk” described in the Samudra manthanepisode of the Puranas.  But he also represents the infinite potentiality of energy and consciousness in all matter."

Bikaner school indian miniature, XIXth century Region: India Period: Bikaner school, XIXth century Collection of the Maharadja of Bikaner Collection Of Pastor H. Maas, The Netherlands. Painting in good condition, framed.

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