Portraiture in Indian Miniature Paintings

Sourabh Ghosh

Research Scholar, Chitkara Business School and Sr. Vice President, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd., Chandigarh, India. E-mail: sourabhgh@yahoo.co.in

  Volume 2, Number 1, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/cjad.21.v2n103


The art of miniature painting in India traces its origin to the Buddhist manuscript Illustrations of the Pala period in Nepal and Eastern part of India in the 8th to 11th century. The Jain manuscripts in Gujrat and Rajasthan, as early as 11th century, also point towards a practice of such illustrations. These manuscripts, apart from portraying religious literature, also covered wide ranging topics such as medicine, astrology, etc. They were profusely illustrated, and were mostly inscribed on palm leaves. Apart from serving as important treatises, they were widely used as gifts during royal marriages and accessions. However, the Mughal Rule in India brought a certain degree of sophistication, refinement and finesse to this form of art. Under successive Mughal Rulers, the art of miniature painting reached its zenith. While Babur and Humayun, who were great lovers of art and literature, could not build proper ateliers during their reigns due to their frequent military campaigns and conflicts, they were responsible for bringing to India two versatile artists, Abdus Samad and Mir Sayed Ali from the Safavid Persian Court-whose works would have significant impact on the art of miniature paintings in the Mughal Courts. Humayun’s successors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan built some of the most significant ateliers under their rules, and some of the preeminent miniature artists like Basavan, Manohar, Bichitar, Ustad Mansur, Balchand and Murad flourished under their patronage. Some very significant works like Baburnama, Akbarnama, Razamnama, etc. were also commissioned by the early Mughal Emperors.  With the decline of the Mughal Empire, the miniature painting scene shifted to the Rajput Courts in Rajasthan and the Hill States in Northern India. Various important Schools of painting –like the Mewar, Marwar, Jaipur, Hadoti, Kangra, Basholi, and Garhwal – Schools, to name a few, started flourishing under their respective rulers. While the Mughal influence still prevailed, yet each school had its own distinctive characteristic and feature. The subjects of these paintings and manuscripts ranged from religious literature, court scenes, royal processions, flora and fauna, textiles, jewelry to elaborate equestrian and hunting scenes. However, the most riveting and captivating depictions were in the form of elaborate and brilliant  portraits of the rulers, their nobles and courtiers, which not only throw light on their magnificent reigns, but also open a window to the culture, tradition and practices of those times. This essay makes an attempt to study the fine art of portraiture in miniature paintings in the various Mughal, Provincial and Rajput Courts to bring out their historical and cultural significance.

Key Words: Miniature Painting, Mughal School, Rajput School, Portraits, Hill Schools

The Art of Traditional Painting in Assam: a Critical Study on the Manuscript Paintings of Bhagavata-Purana, VI-VII

Bikramjit Sarkar1, Dr. Rajesh Bhowmik2

1 Research Scholar, Department of Fine arts, Tripura University. Orcid id: 0000-0002-2752-8601. Email id: bikramjitsarkar1983@gmail.com

2 Associate Professor, Department of Fine arts, Tripura University

Received September 12, 2017; Revised October 15, 2017; Accepted October 22, 2017; Published October 25, 2017.

 Volume 1, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/cjad.12.v1n203


The art of manuscript painting Assam mostly developed during the medieval periods in response to the Bhakti-movement headed by the Vaisnava saint Srimanta Sankardeva (1449-1568). The establishments of Vaisnavite institutions so-called Satra in Assam were the major centres of practising manuscript paintings. The subject of the paintings is taken from the Hindu epic and Puranas.  Different stories and events related to Lord Krishna were illustrated using Natural ingredients. The practice of paintings followed traditionally during 16th to 19th century. Especially different parts of Bhagavata-Purana were illustrated with paintings for entertainment and the better understanding of the people. The skill and quality of artists and their aesthetic sense of vision were executed through the paintings. This present paper has been made to highlight the paintings of Bhagavata-Prana VI-VII, which were executed during 1785 A.D. The skill of artists in the arrangement of composition and the simple stylistic representation is the matter of appreciation and understanding. It is very important to study and document the paintings in today’s context of dying traditional knowledge of art practice so that the future generation can attain knowledge of the culture of painting in the development of society & religion and also be aware of the contribution of the antiquities of past art and culture of North-East India.

Keywords: Assam, Bhagavata-Purana-VI-VII, Culture, Manuscript Painting, Tradition, Vaisnavism.


Literary Places, Tourism and the Cultural Heritage Experience –the Case of Kumbakoanm

K. Selvakumar1 & Dr. S.Thangaraju2

1Assistant Professor, Army Institute of Hotel Management& Catering Technology,  Bangalore – 560077. Email: selva_siva@yahoo.co.in.

2Associate Professor, Department of Indian Culture and Tourism, Government Arts College (Autonomous), Kumbakonam ,Tamilnadu.

 Volume 1, Number 1, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/cjad.v1n1.v1n104


Purpose –Literary locations may be defined in diverse methods, however principally they gather that means from links with writers and the settings of their novels. Such locations magnetize vacationers and form part of the landscape of heritage tourism. Numerous key standards regarding heritage are applicable to literary places, and empirical research sanction a extra preponderant information in their pertinence how applicable problems of authenticity and conservation are to this revel in on area . Recognising the articulated aims, we explore how a cultural festival, and more specifically contemporary art, may positively influence the residents and visitors. paper examines, whether the city educate visitors about Indigenous cultures of the Tamils. The paper argues Further, aspects of infrastructure and hygiene are also reviewed.

Methodology -The research study includes both the primary and secondary data sources. The major data and information pertaining to the research study have been accumulated from the primary sources. The main sources of primary data were used is content and descriptive analyses of archival documents, contemporary  literary works and inscriptions, in the Tamil language related to the social history of Tamils in classical period, personal visits to Kumbakonam and their observation.

Findings – The paper concludes by arguing that festivals’ engagement with tourism needs to be carefully managed in the interests of promoting the socially sustaining function of festivals and of encouraging sustainable approaches to tourism development.

Originality/value –The paper explores spirituality and tourism in the context of kumabkonam city where there is very little formal research in this area. The paper serves as a stepping stone towards future research on overlooked religious site and their management

Keywords:  Tourism, Culture, heritage ,Religion, Temple, Mahamagam

Understanding Colour in the Human Culture with Special Emphasis on the Indian Subcontinent

Olga V. Galustyan, Elena V. Papchenko, Southern Federal University, Russia

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The paper examines the role of color vocabulary in the world culture with special emphasis on that of the Indian subcontinent. The aim of the article is to substantiate color codes depending on the cultural experience that you can already see in the origins of different culture. Color is an equivalent to the word and color vocabulary is widely used in rituals, everyday life, and color attributes are regarded as magical, sacred forces. Cultural feature in the perception of the color space is often unfairly ignored while the ratio of color is largely determined by the historical and cultural traditions and customs. Examining color in the world culture and in the culture of the Indian subcontinent reveals that the semantic field of sensation is one of the most extensive in different cultures. The authors come to the conclusion, that the color vocabulary is a specific socio-cultural marker.

Keywords: color, vocabulary, culture, symbol, color terms, world culture, Indian subcontinent, semantic field of sensations

Long history of the development of philosophy and science passed from the first attempts to understand the mechanisms of human sensory interaction with the world deployed to the theories of color perception. Reliance on modern science has led researchers to the conclusion that understanding of sensuality is impossible without taking into account the features of the cultural experience of humanity. Culture saves, translates and generates program of activities, behavior and communication of people as a system of historically developing over-biological programs of human activity, of behavior and communication, representing the condition of reproduction and changing of social life. (Stepin 2001, 271). It forms a social experience due to the dynamics of these programs. That is why cultural heritage is not only an indicator of the level of cultural development of past generations but also a key to understanding many of the modern processes.

Iconography and Visual Culture of Bengal

Ruma Chakravarti

Independent Researcher

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 Iconography is a field of study that concerns itself with the evaluation of symbols and their significance in religion. It aids in establishing context and helps to link the beliefs and myths of the past to the practices of the present. Any attempt to discuss iconography of temples needs to start with a look at why icons are created. The need for religious iconography is multifold in nature. First, it seeks to make the intangible concept of the gods real through physical presence. Religious iconography has a language of its own which seeks to make the god visible through a certain set of characteristics that are predetermined by rules that originated in ancient times. Secondly, religious icons in the days prior to the industrial revolution provided a unifying effect by their occurrence in temples across a region or a kingdom. Even though the actual mode of worship may differ from region to region within India, the icons themselves are pan-Indian. Icons associated with temples may also be a sign of the wealth or social standing of the person who finances the temple building process. Removing the icons makes religion itself a vague concept which is not as easily disseminated. One other function icons perform is as a record of a certain period in history. The intentional removal of icons during certain historical events can provide clues to the socio-political climate of the time and be reflective of invasion or change of patronage.

The Mystery of Indian Floor Paintings

Swarup Dutta

Dean Academics, Indian Institute of Crafts and Design

 As a child one of my fondest memories is of Lakshmi Puja. The whole household seemed transformed. There was activity all around the household. I could sense a joyous mood in everyone. But the most remarkable reminder of this day to me was alpona – the beautiful floor decorations which my mother and sisters made on the threshold of our household, on the doorsteps leading to the prayer alter…”, remembers Narayan Sinha, a renowned sculptor, who has spent his childhood in rural Bengal.