Sunday, 28 February 2016



·        The history of art and painting in India begins with the pre-historic rock painting at Bhimbetka caves (M.P.) where we have drawings and paintings of animals.

·        The cave paintings of Narsinghgarh (Maharashtra) show skins of spotted deer left drying.
·        Thousands of years ago, paintings and drawings had already appeared on the seals of Harappan civilization.
·        The Buddhist text Vinayapitaka (4th–3rd century) describes the existence of painted figuresin many royal buildings.
·        The play Mudrarakshasa (5th Century A.D.) mentions numerous
          paintings or Patas.
·        The 6th Century AD text on aesthetics-Kamasutra by Vatsyayana hasmentioned painting amongst 64 kinds of arts and says that it was based on scientific principles.
·        The best specimens of Gupta paintings are the ones at Ajanta. Their subject was animals and birds, trees, flowers, human figures and stories from the Jataka.
·        Mural paintings are done on walls and rock surfaces like roofs and sides.

Materials used in the paintings :

·        Mention of chitra shalas (artgallery) and Shilpasashtra (technical treatises on art) have been made in literary sources.
·        However, the principal colours used were red ochre, vivid red , yellow ochre , indigo (blue) lapis lazuli blue, lampblack , chalk white  and green.
·        All these colours were locally available except lapis lazuli which came from Pakistan.
·        Mixed colours e.g. grey were used on rare occasions.


·        During the period of Delhi Sultanate, mural painting has been reported from the royal palaces and royal bed-chambers and mosques.
·        During the time of Iltutmish (1210-36) we have references of paintings.
·        During the time of Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316) we have mural painting, miniature painting (of illustrated manuscripts) and paintings on cloths.
·        During the Sultanate period, we notice the Persian and Arabic influences on Indian painting.
·        The decorative paintings of the palace of the Gwalior king Man Singh Tomar impressed both Babur and Akbar.
·        During 14th – 15th centuries A.D. miniature painting emerged as a powerful movement in Gujarat and Rajasthan and spread to Central, North and Eastern India because of the patronage of rich Jain merchants.
·        In Eastern India, in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, during the Pala kingdom in the 9th – 10th century A.D., a new kind of painting developed called the miniature painting.
·        The miniature, as the name suggests, were small works which were made on perishable materials.

·        In this category, Buddhist, Jain and Hindu manuscripts were illustrated, on palm leaves.
·        From the thirteenth century onwards, the Turkish Sultans of northern India brought with them important features of Persian court culture.
·        In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries illustrated manuscripts of Persian influence were produced at Malwa, Bengal, Delhi, Jaunpur, Gujarat and the Deccan.
·        The art of textual illustration got a new look under the Mughals. Akbar and his successors brought revolutionary changes to painting and sensual illustrations.
·        From this period book illumination or individual miniatures replaced wall painting as the most vital form of art.
·        Emperor Akbar patronised artists from Kashmir and Gujarat;
·        Humayun brought two Persian painters to his court. For the first time painters’ names were recorded in inscriptions.
·        Some great painters of this period were Abd-us-Samad Dasawanth and Basawan.
·        Between 1562 and 1577 a series of nearly 1400 cloth paintings were produced representing the new style and were placed in the imperial studio.
·        Akbar also encouraged the art of making portraits.

·        The art of painting reached its climax during the period of Jahangir who himself was a great painter and connoisseur of art.
·        Artists began to use vibrant colours such as peacock blue and red and were able to give three dimensional effects to paintings.
·        Mansur, Bishan Das and Manohar were the most gifted painters of Jahangir’s time.
·        However withdrawal of royal patronage to painting under Aurangzeb led to the dispersal of artists to different places in the country.
·        This helped in the development of the art of painting in Rajasthan and the Punjab hills giving rise to distinct schools of paintings, for example, Rajasthani and Pahari Schools.


·        In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries paintings comprised semi westernized local styles which were patronised by British residents and visitors.
·        Themes were generally drawn from Indian social life, popular festivals, and Mughal monuments.
·        Oil paintings of Raja Ravi Varma of Travancore depicting mythological and social themes became highly popular at this time.

·        Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore, E.B. Havell and Ananda Kehtish Coomaraswamy played an important role in the emergence of the Bengal school of Art.

·        The Bengal School had a great flowering at Shantiniketan where Rabindranath Tagore set up the Kala Bhavan.
·        Talented artists like Nandalal Bose, Binod Behari Mukherjee and Ramkinkar Baij rendered training to aspiring artists. Jamini Roy, another great painter of this period, drew inspiration from Qrissa’s pata painting and Kalighat painting of Bengal.
·        In 1943, during the period of the second world war Calcutta painters led by Paritosh Sen, Niroda Majumdar and Pradosh Dasgupta formed a group who depicted the condition of the people of India through new visual language, and novel techniques.
·        Bombay in 1948 under Francis Newton Souza. The group also included S .H. Raza, M.F. Hussain, K.M. Ara, S.K. Bakre and H.A. Gode. This group broke away from Bengal School of Art and represented the modern forceful art of independent India.
·        The Madras School of Art under Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury and K.C.S Paniker emerged as an important art centre in post independence period and influenced a new generation of modern artists.


·        The designs are called rangoli in the North, alpana in Bengal, aipan in Uttaranchal, rangavalli in Karnataka, Kollam in Tamilnadu and mandana in Madhya Pradesh.
·        Usually rice powder is used for these paintings but coloured powder or flower petals are also used to make them more colourful.



·        Mithila painting also known as Madhubani folk art is the traditional art of the Mithila region of Bihar.
·        They are produced by village women who make three dimensional images using vegetable colour with few earthen colours and finished in black lines on cow dung treated paper.
·        These pictures tell tales especially about Sita’s exile, Ram-Laxman’s forest life, ordepict the images of Lakshmi, Ganesha, Hanuman and others from Hindu mythology.
·        They also show court scenes, wedding and social happenings.
·        Drawings in Madhubani pictures are very conceptual. First, the painter thinks and then she “draws her thought”.

KALAMKARI PAINTING : (2015 prelims)

·        The literal meaning of Kalamkari is a painting done by kalam (pen).
·        These paintings are made in Andhra Pradesh.
·        It is hand painted as well as block printing with vegetable dyes applied on cloth.
·        Vegetable dyes are used for colour in the Kalam Kari work.
·        A small place Sri-Kalahasti is the best known centre of Kalamkari art.
·        This art is mainly related to decorating temple interiors with painted cloth panels, which was developed in the fifteenth century under the patronage of Vijaynagar rulers.
·        Every scene is surrounded by floral decorative patterns.
·        These paintings are made on cloth. They are very durable and flexible in size and made according to theme.
·        The artists use a bamboo or date palm stick pointed at one end with a bundle of fine hair attached to the other end to serve as brush or pen.
·        The kalamkari dyes are obtained by extracting colours from plant roots, leaves, along with  salts of iron, tin, copper, alum etc.

Orissa Patachitra:

·        Similar to Kalighat Pats, one comes across another kind of Pats which are found in the state of Orissa.
·        The Orissa patachitras, mostly painted on cloth are more detailed and more colourful and most of these depict stories of Hindu gods and goddesses.

Phad Paintings:

·        Phad is a type of scroll painting.
·        This type of painting is a most famous painting of Rajasthan, mainly found in the Bhilwara district.
·        The main themes of the phad paintings depict the deities and their legends and the stories of erstwhile Maharajas.
·        The unique features of phad paintings are the bold lines and a two dimensional treatment of figures with the entire composition arranged in sections.

Gond Art:

·        A very highly sophisticated and abstract form of Art works are also produced by the Santhals in India.
·        The Gond tribe of the Godavari belt who are as old as the Santhals
         produce figurative works.

Batik Print;

·        Not all the folk arts and crafts are entirely Indian in their origin. Some of the crafts and techniques have been imported from the Orient like the Batik.
·        But these have now been Indianised and Indian Batik is now a matured art, immensely popular and expensive.


·        Warli painting derives its name from a small tribe inhabiting the remote, tribal regions of Maharashtra.
·        These are decorative paintings on floors and walls of ‘gond’ and ‘kol’ tribes’ homes and places of worship.
·        These paintings are made mostly by the women as part of their routine at auspicious celebrations.
·        Subjects are predominantly religious with simple and local materials like white colour and rice paste and local vegetable glue on  plain contrasting background, made in a geometric patterns like    squares, triangles, and circles.
·        Unlike other tribal art forms, Warli paintings do not employ religious iconography and is a more secular art form.


·        Kalighat painting derives its name from its place of origin Kalighat in Kolkata.
·        Kalighat is a bazaar near the Kali temple in Kolkota. Patua painters from rural Bengal came and settled in Kalighat to make images of gods and goddesses in the early nineteenth century.
·        These paintings on paper made with water colours comprise clear sweeping line drawings using bright colours and a clear background. Subjects are images of Kali, Lakshmi, Krishna, Ganesha, Shiva, and other gods and goddesses.
·        This painting form has its roots in the culture upheavds of 19th century colonial Bengal.
·        Kalighat paintings became the best mirror of this cultural and aesthetic shift.


Friday, 26 February 2016



·         Monumental structures over graves of rulers and royalty was a popular feature of medieval India.
·         Some well known examples of such tombs are those of Ghyasuddin Tughlaq, Humayun, Adur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, Akbar, and Itmaduddaula.
·         The idea behind the tomb was eternal paradise as a reward for the true believer on the Day of Judgment. This leads to the paradisiacal imagery for tombs.
·         Beginning with the introduction of Quranic verses on the walls, the tomb was subsequently placed with paradisiacal elements such as garden or near a water body or both, as in the case of Taj Mahal.
·         They were not only intended to signify peace and happiness in the next world, but also to showcase the majesty, grandeur and might of the person buried there.

1.Taj Mahal

·         Taj Mahal was built in Agra by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum (a kind of large tomb) for his deceased wife Mumtaz Mahal.
·         It was commissioned in the year of 1632 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
·         Taj Mahal was the apogee of the evolutionary architectural process in medieval India.
·         The Taj complex is entered through a monumental red sandstone gateway, the opening arch of which beautifully frames the mausoleum.
·         The tomb is laid out in a Chahar Bagh (garden), crisscrossed with paths and water courses, interspersed with pools and fountains.
·         The structure is placed on the northern extremity of the bagh instead of the middle to take the advantage of the river bank (Yamuna).
·         The straight path through the bagh reaches the plinth of the tomb.
·         At the corners of the terrace stand four tall minarets, one hundred and thirty two feet high.
·         The main body of the building is topped with a drum and a dome and four cupolas forming a beautiful skyline.
·         Towards the west of the white marble faced tomb lies a red sandstone mosque and a similar construction in the east to maintain balance.
·         The marbles for the building was quarried from the Makrana Mines, Rajasthan.
·         The inner arrangement of the mausoleum consists of a crypt below and a vaulted, octagonal tomb chamber, with a room at each angle, all connected by corridors.
·         Light to every part of the building is obtained by means of carved and perforated Jalis, set in the arched recesses of the interior.
·         Four types of embellishments have been used with great effect for the interior and exterior surfaces of the Taj Mahal.
·         These are stone carvings in high and low relief on the walls, the delicate carving of marble into jails and graceful volutes (spiral ornament on the pillars), and the creation of arabesque with pietra dura on walls and tombstones and geometric designs with tessellation.
·         The art of calligraphy is used with the inlay of jasper in white marble to unite Quranic verses.
·         Calligraphy provides a decorative element on the walls and a continuous connection with the almighty.

2. Gol Gumbad, Karnataka :

·         It is situated in the Bijapur district of Karnataka.
·         It is the mausoleum of Muhammed Adil Shah, the 7th sultan of the Adil Shahi Dynasty of Bijapur (1498-1686).
·         Built by the ruler himself, it is a striking edifice in spite of being unfinished.
·         The tomb is a complex building such as a gateway, a Naqqar Khana, a mosque and a sarai located within a large walled garden.
·         Gumbad is a square building topped with a circular drum over which rests a majestic dome, giving the building its nomenclature.
·         It is built of dark grey basalt and decorated plaster work.
·         The dome of Gol Gumbad is the largest in the world.
·         The building has an amazing acoustical system. Along with the drum of the dome, there is a whispering gallery where sounds get magnified and echoed many times over.
·         While its structural peculiarities of dome, arches, geometric proportions and load bearing techniques suggest Timurid and Persian styles, it is made of local material and is decorated with surface embellishments popular in Deccan.

Sarais :

·         Sarais were largely built on a simple square or a rectangular plan and were meant to provide temporary accommodation for Indian and foreign travelers, pilgrims, merchants, traders, etc.
·         They were public domains which thronged with people of varied cultural backgrounds.
·         This lead to cross cultural interaction, influence and syncretic tendencies in the cultural mores of the times and at the level of people.

Structures for common people :

·         One of the architectural features of medieval India was also a coming together of styles, techniques, and decorations in public and private spaces for non-royal sections of the society.
·         These include buildings for domestic usage, temples, mosques, Khanqahs and dargahs, commemorative gateways, pavilions in the buildings and gardens, bazaars, etc.

Jama Masjid:

·         Large mosques spanning huge spaces also dotted the landscapes of the Indian sub-continent in medieval times.
·         Congregational prayers were held here every Friday afternoon, which required the presence of minimum of forty Muslim male adults.
·         At the time of prayers, a khutba was read out in the name of the ruler and his laws for the realm were also read out.
·         In medieval times, a city had one Jama Masjid which, along with its immediate surroundings, became the focus of the lives of the people, both Muslim and Non-Muslim.
·         This happened because a lot of commercial and cultural exchanges were concentrated here besides religious and indirect political activity.
·         Generally, such a mosque was large with an open courtyard, surrounded on three sides by cloisters and the Qibla Liwan in the west.
·         It was here that the mihrab and mimbar for the Imam were located.
·         People faced the mihrab while offering prayers as it indicated the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca.

Additional Note: Architecture in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh = Provincial Style ;

·         The city of Mandu is located in Madhya Pradesh, at an elevation of over 2000 feet and overlooks the Malwa Plateau to the north and the Narmada valley to the south.
·         Mandu’s natural defence encouraged consistent habitation by Parmana Rajputs, Afghans, and Mughals.
·         As the capital city of the Ghauri Dynasty (1401-1561) founded by Hoshang Shah, it acquired a lot of fame.
·         Mandu was associated with the romance of Sultan Baz Bahadur and Rani Rupamati.
·         The Mughals resorted to it for pleasure during the monsoon season.

Art and Architectures of Mandu :

·         Mandu is a typical representation of the medieval provincial style of art and architecture.
·         It was a complex mix of official and residential-cum-pleasure palace, pavilions, light and airy, so that these buildings did not retain heat.
·         Local stone and marble were used to great advantage.
·         The royal enclave located in the city comprised the most complete and romantic set of buildings, a cluster of palaces and attendant structures, official and residential, built around two artificial lakes.

Eg: 1.  The Hindola Mahal, Mandu :

·         It looks like a railway viaduct bridge with its disproportionately large buttresses supporting the walls.
·         This was the audience hall of the Sultan and the place where he showed himself to his subjects.
·         Batter was used very effectively to give an impression of swinging (Hindola) walls.

Eg: 2. Jahaaz Mahal, Mandu :

·         It is an elegant two storey Ship Palace’ between two reservoirs, with open pavilion, balconies overhanging the water and a terrace.
·         It was built by Sultan Ghiyasuddin Khilji and was possibly used as his harem and the ultimate pleasure and recreation resort.
·         It had a complex arrangement of watercourses and a terrace swimming pool.

Eg: 3.Rani Rupamati’s Pavilion, Mandu :

·         Rani Rupamati’s double pavilion perched on the southern embattlements afforded a beautiful view of the Narmada valley.
·         Baz Bahadur’s Palace had a wide courtyard ringed with halls and terrace.

Eg: 4.Hoshang Shah’s Tomb, Mandu :

·         It is a majestic structure with a beautiful dome, marble jail work, porticos, courts, and towers.
·         It is regarded as an example of the robustness of Afghan structures, nut its lattice works, carved brackets and torans lend it a softer hue.

Eg: 5.Jama Masjid, Mandu :

·         It was built on a large scale to accommodate many worshippers for Friday prayers.
·         The building is faced with red sandstone.
·         The Mimbar (where Imam stands to deliver sermons) in the Quibla liwan (a long narrowed hall) is supported on carved brackets and the Mihrab has a lotus bud fringe.