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Pictures Worth A Thousand Years: Rajputana Paintings, The Cultural Essence Of Rajasthan

Pictures Worth A Thousand Years: Rajputana Paintings, The Cultural Essence Of Rajasthan

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Rajputana Paintings

Ads of Rajasthan tourism that we see now and then often miss out on putting in the word about the Rajputana Paintings, another wonder of Rajasthan.

Straight from the heart of ‘Dharti Dhauraan Ri’ (The Land of Kings), these brilliant art pieces can make anyone rethink their opinions around artists, artworks and paintings!

  1. What is Rajputana Painting?
  • The form of Indian painting originated and flourished in the ‘Land of Kings’ Rajasthan.
  • Earlier known as Rajputana, it is also known as Rajasthani Painting.
Rajputana Paintings
  1. Where did it all begin?
  • The origin of this art has been a topic of debate for a long time.
  • Many people believe that Rajputana Paintings came into existence in the 17th century between the walls of the royal palaces of Rajputana by the artists trained in making Mughal miniatures.
  • Another particular section of people believes that they were founded before the Mughal invasion in India.
Rajputana Paintings
  1. Hoga kya inn tasveeron mein?
  • These paintings cover a wide variety of subjects.
  • There used to be paintings about the royal family and their daily activities like hunting.
  • On many other occasions, the artists made paintings inspired by Hindu scriptures and epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata and the folk tales of Rajasthan at that time.
Rajputana Paintings
  1. Camlin colours are okay, but ever heard about Camel brushes?

Shahi log, Shahi Andaz!

  • The painters used superfine brushes made out of the hair of squirrels and camels.
  • The colours were derived from plant sources, conch shells, and even the most precious metals like gold and silver!
Rajputana Paintings
  1. Mewar School of Painting:
  • ‘Mewar’ reminds us of South Rajasthan (Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Dungarpur, and Banswada). It fought against the Mughals for a long time while patronizing regional art simultaneously.
  • Earlier paintings were by the artist, Shahibdin, based on literary texts like Rasikpriya, Ramayana and Bhagavata Purana. After his death, paintings of Mewar changed.
  • Artists started making paintings about the Mewar Fort and royal lives.
  • A special kind of paintings, known as Tamasha Paintings, became popular in this process. This one used to depict the proceedings of the royal court and the city view of Mewar.
Rajputana Paintings
  1. Kishangarh School of Painting:
  • It came into existence in the 18th century in the Kishangarh province of Central Rajasthan.
  • Distinguishing Feature: The pointed nose and chin of the males and females. The most popular themes were depictions of Radha-Krishna.
  • The development of this art form happened rapidly under the rule of Raja Savant Singh. A very famous piece of work, Bani Thani, was made by taking inspiration from Raja Savant Singh’s beloved lady. It resembled Radha due to the Odhani, big eyes, sharp nose, and thin lips of the lady in the painting.
  • The chief painter of the Forth, Nihal Chand, became the medium through which all of these artistic inspirations came alive as artworks.
Rajputana Paintings
  1. Bundi School of Painting:
  • This school influenced the Kota and Bundi regions, became the prime for Rajputana Paintings from the 17th to 19th century.
  • Its Bundi was a huge devotee of Lord Krishna. He had a belief that he was ruling the province under His guidance.
  • This made Lord Krishna one of the most important themes of Bundi paintings. The other themes included hunting, court scenes, animals and the local vegetation.
Rajputana Paintings
  1. Dhundar School of Painting:
  • This one had the regions of Jaipur and Amber.
  • The rulers of Amber were known to be close associates of the Mughals. The Mughal style of clothing being worn by gents in the paintings of Dhundar School further solidifies the statement.
  • Their paintings were seen primarily on the walls of the royal fort.

Under the rule of Sawai Jai Singh (18th century), the depictions of Bhagavata Purana, Ramayana and Raagmala were among common themes in Dhundar Paintings.

Rajputana Paintings
  1. Marwar School of Painting:
  • Artworks of the regions like Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, are combined under this school.
  • Their paintings had a huge Mughal influence in the earlier stages and a Rajput dominance in later stages. This is why, in the Marwar paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries, one can see the colourful clothes of the Mughal style worn by the men and women.
  • But after the 18th century, the Rajput traditions became dominant. The use of bright colours became primary. The initial paintings of Bikaner, made by Patshahi Painters from the Mughal Courts, were known for their excellent colour choices.
Rajputana Paintings

Even after many years of their creation, the Rajputana paintings are still mesmerizing people from India and abroad, with their deep-rooted cultural essence and beauty of expression. So next time when you visit Rajasthan, you know what you have to explore.

Blog Edited By Ritika Gupta

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