MINIATURE PAINTINGS
April 2006

The miniatures, as the name indicates were small works, which were made on perishable material & hence no definite proof of their birth & development can be traced.


In Bengal, Bihar & Orissa, Buddhist manuscripts were illustrated, mostly paintings of Buddha on palm leaves. They resemble the Ajantha style but on a miniature scale.

In Gujarat, illustrations in Jaina manuscripts can be seen. The style of the Jaina caves at Ellora were followed. Some illustrations were done on paper. In the later stages the fine application of colour diminished. There was also some Persian influence which spread from here to other places such as Mandu & Jaunpur.

The Mughal emperors introduced their own style of miniature paintings with Persian inspiration. Court scenes were depicted in grandeur. The background was usually hilly landscapes. Flowers & animals were also vastly depicted & in these the Indian artists applied their own skill to develop on the Persian ideas. The Rajput paintings can be put under two broad groups, the Rajasthani style & the Pahari style. The subject matter of the paintings were mostly religious & love subjects, based on Lord Rama & Lord Krishna. Court scenes were depicted as also royal portraits. Bold outlines & brilliant colours are characteristic of Rajasthani paintings.

Miniature paintings by Shalini, Delhi