Arty-Facts about Indian Handicrafts

  • Intricate, colorful and mesmerizing - Indian Miniatures

    We’re halfway through a series of commissioned Miniature Rajasthani Paintings, and this week we’ll be bringing you snippets of history of this highly intricate form of art & work in progress pictures from our artists from Rajasthan who are busy working on these.

    We’ll also be sharing some pictures for sale. You’ll be thrilled to know we’ll be happy to produce these for you on Home décor articles and accessories if you’d like as well. So stay glued.

    Breathtaking due to the contrast of colours, and mesmerizing due to the intricacy and attention to detail; Miniatures are another proof of India’s rich varied heritage of art & culture.

    While the Mughal and the Rajasthani miniatures are known mostly, miniatures actually date back to the 7-8th Century AD first practiced by Buddhists and then Jainism followers. These were first painted on text scriptures on palm leaves depicting Lord Buddha and later other deities and thus the size – miniature. The famous Talachitra ‘Painting on Palm leaf’ practiced even now in Odisha seems to flowed from the miniature styles practiced back then.

    Later, from the 15-18th century, actually in 1555 Humayun, returning from exile in Persia, brought painters along with him. His son, Akbar, established an atelier where serious work of painting began. Hindus joined in, bringing their own style - the particular Rajasthani Miniature which came into being after the sixteenth century. Under Humayun and consequently Akbar, miniatures flourished. Influenced largely by Persian art, the Mughals depicted scenes from their lives at the Palace, hunting or during recreation in mostly aquamarine hues embellished with gold. Around Aurangzeb’s rule the art form started declining and most artists moved to neighbouring princely states of Rajasthan and that’s how the Rajasthani Miniature form became popular with Rajput Kings. 

    The Rajput kings got artists to depict stories of their valour and the beauty of Rajasthani women and Ranis through these paintings.

    Shown here is the work in progress picture of a King entering his Kingdom with his procession.

    While in most of the Rajasthani states, painting had come to a close by the end of the eighteenth century, a new school of painting emerged in the small state of Kishangarh. Its ruler Raja Sawant Singh (1748-1757) was well versed in Sanskrit, Persian and Marwari languages, and had also studied music and painting. He played an important role in the establishment of the Kishangarh form and school of Miniature art and in creation of Kishangarh masterpieces. 

    The court artist at that time Nihal Chand went on to create many Kishangarh masterpieces. But the famous ones remain those painted around the Kishangarh nayika who had a narrow high crowned head, arching eyebrows, elongated nose and most evocatively large curvaceous eyes which went all the way to the ear, well dressed with glittering jewelry and a nathani on her nose. This became the signature of Nihal Chand. Read about these in our next blog coming up soon. 


    If you'd like to own such miniatures and make history a part of your living room, do get in touch. We undertake orders for commissioned art work and have trained artists working with us from Patachitra artists in Odisha, to Gond artists in Bhopal, to Madhubani artists in Bihar and of course artists in Kishangarh, Rajasthan itself. 


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