Indian Miniatures - Painting Secular Lifestyle of Medieval India

       By: Naval Langa
Posted: 2009-11-03 05:13:03
Where would the history of Indian painting, especially of it medieval period, stand without the broad mention of Mughal Miniatures? It would be hard for an art critique to paint a complete picture of cultural and artistic journey of India without putting the miniature paintings on record; these were the exotic and beautiful pieces of art that the artist did under the helping umbrella of the Mughal emperors who ruled most part of India from sixteenth to eighteenth century. Mughal Emperor Humayun had injected artistic flavour into the art of Indian painting when he had welcome two miniature artists from Persia. By the passing of time this miniature art has percolated up to the deep corners of Indian states which were ruled by the Rajaput Kings and other princely states of northern and southern India. On seeing the mughal miniatures we would think that this must be a Persian painting; such heavy was the influence of the Persian painting style on the minds of the Indian artists of that time. But the Mughal style of painting concisely narrates the life and choices of the people of medieval India. On close scrutiny, we would find that there is elaborated depiction of the lifestyle of contemporary Indian society; May it be the costumes that the men and women in the paintings put on, or may it be the ornaments of the male and female figures have on their bodies: these articles were the clear witness what the life of people was in those centuries. Strangely enough for the historians, too, the paintings commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar were the clear witness of a great endeavour to integrate two different cultures of Hindu and Muslim into one and create a peaceful Indian state. The paintings of Lord Krishna fall under this category. The miniature artworks of other deities of Hindu religion were the proof of the will of the great Emperor. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the mughal miniature paintings are symbol of cultural and religious tolerance that had developed in India during the medieval period.
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