About the Book
Indian Miniature Painting – Manifestation of a Creative Mind come out with a new perception of Indian miniature art. The book examines not merely its body but also its inherent soul, underlying unity ethos it represents and factors that shaped it across the period from the century onwards. Here reveals a totally different approach - aesthetic as well as formal and in both cases bold, investigating and analytical. The significance of the conventional line is not subverted but while moving along the ‘conventional’ the book marks, and rather more emphatically a subtle departure from it by exploring many new dimensions of the miniature painting 110t explored ever before, and by re-investigating raise the ‘conventional’. For conceptual clarity the book has been divided into two parts, one, re-looking into its material for its origin, growth, provenance and regional and stylistic distinctions - more or less a conventional approach, and the other, discovering at number of fresh avenues leading to a fuller appreciation and understanding of the width and dimensions of Indian miniature painting.
It distinguishes, and perhaps for the first time, the term ‘style’ from the term ‘school’, the style used for rendering a narrative from the one dramatising a theme or situation, the theme which has a narrative character from the one shaving dramatic thrust; as also different genres or miniature painting, a portrait from a theme- based painting or from a painting of a grotesque form, landscape from a pastoral or natural background occurring incidentally in a theme painting, and even one mode of landscape from the other The book perceives Indian miniature painting using the same set of creative tools as uses literature. It not only defines each one with great clarity but also identifies the role they play in creating a miniature. It is amazingly delightful to see how transcending its lines, colours, anatomy and its entire visible world each miniature reveals a context different from what it has been considered revealing so far Not an element, fiction has in miniature painting a voluminous presence and decisive role, and, so has realism; and a majority of miniatures might be classified on the two lines. A miniature painting does not render so much a divine form as its own image of the ‘Divine`, and, not so much the visible world as its own perception of it. The books visual aspect is as strong. Perhaps no other book on Indian miniature painting might claim to include such a huge number and wide range of visuals, majority of them being published in a work of this stature for the first time. Each of the miniatures used in the book has contextual relevance. The text-visual ratio and art books usual trend these days might lead one to consider it a coffee—table book. Even if so, in the form of a coffee—table book here is a profound academic endeavour revealing years of researching and observation, and combining thus academics with Coffee-tablism the book sets a new trend.
About the Author
Dr. Daljeet An eminent art scholar Dr. Daljeet, is the Curator in—charge of the Department of Painting, National Museum, New Delhi. Several books, catalogues, portfolios and articles on Indian Art and Painting are to her credit. She began her career as an archaeologist, and traveled in India and abroad extensively in connection with her studies and work. Her prestigious volume on the Mughal and Deccani paintings from the collection of the National Museum, New Delhi, has been widely acclaimed by the scholars and art connoisseurs. Her other noteworthy works are Shakuntala, immortal Miniatures and Monuments of India. Shakuntala and Monuments of India are authored jointly with Prof R C. Jain. She was awarded jointly with Prof. R C. Jain Delhi State Award — Vishist Kriti Samman 2002-2005 for their book entitled "Krishna; Raga se Viraga Tak". In i999, she was commissioned by the Government of Punjab to set up a special exhibition on the Sikh Heritage at Anandpur Sahib in connection with the Tercentenary Celebrations of the Birth of the Khalsa. The culmination of this has led to her book "The Sikh Heritage; A Search for Totality “published in 2004. "Sri Harimandar Sahib: the Body Visible of the invisible Supreme", in English and Gurmukhi, another recent work authored jointly with Prof R C. lain, has been well received by art lovers in general and Sikh community in particular.
Her forthcoming publications are Goddess in Indian Miniatures, A Monograph on the Deccani Ragamala Paintings and a catalogue of Pahari Miniatures from the collection of the National Museum.
Prof P. C. Jain, an instinctive poet, linguist and aesthetician, began his career in 1961 as a lecturer of English literature and accomplished some outstanding research work on Hindi linguistics. Some of his poetry, short stories and a translation of an introduction to Logic and Scientific Method' (two vols.) by Cohen and Nagel are amongst his early publications. He then shifted to journalism and active politics, though despite busy political life he continued his academic pursuits. He edited for over two decades a Hindi daily ‘Lokpath’, a weekly ‘Sahi Disha’ and a number of books and has been contributing stories and articles to several other leading news papers and periodicals. He had recently written an outstanding book on the life and thought of Mahatma Gandhi based on the stamps released by over eighty nations expressing their reverence to the Mahatma and his world vision. The book is entitled ‘Gandhi in Stamps. His another outstanding recent work is Hindi Prayoga; a Shaikshika Vyakarana a book of Hindi grammar published by Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishvavidyalaya, Wardha.
Prot lain and Dr. Daljeet are now working on various aspects of aesthetics, arts, architecture, monumental heritage and Indian culture. Their next publication "The tourney of Thread", a book on Indian textiles and costumes, is coming out shortly. Their other forthcoming publications are on Ramayana and Tantra.
‘Indian Miniature Painting; Manifestation of a Creative Mind' is an attempt at exploring some of the unexplored aspects of Indian miniature paintings. The usual perception that a painting captures a moment does not define miniature painting. The miniature painting is a running tale, not in the sense that it serializes a theme, illustrates a text or was discovered primarily as an instrument of narration; it is a running thing because it reveals a mind — an ethos, a thought, a character, a creative endeavour, in its entirety and unbroken continuity Whatever its own lifespan — a millennium, or a millennium and a half, or its meager means — small canvas and few colours derived from plants and minerals, its vision is vast and massive extending from around us to the times and worlds unknown. It melts with woes and glows with triumphs of ages, not of man alone but all. On its canvas reveal cosmic mysteries and myriad faces of the Formless. Though not endowed with strings, it sings and dances, colours emitting melodies, and lines, rhythm. it registers an incessant struggle of good against evil, as also the mans best and the worst, glory and S gloom, pride and humiliation, love, hatred, vengeance, versions and perversions, defining life in its generality and across ages, not individually or on a point of time. its seventeenth century sensuous harem or lustrous court is also the picture of the tenth or eleventh century harem or court. Miniature painting is as vivid and vigorous in its style. It is sometimes a camera, instrument of authenticity and realism, creating an exact likeness, and at other times, a fantasy, product of pure fancy. it sometimes mythologises the ‘real’ and at other times presents mythology as something true to the soil happening around our neighbourhood. it is both, the fact and the fiction, the epic when narrating a tale, and the drama when portraying its characters sportive tricks and lighter moods, the elegy when on its canvas a broken father Rustam bows over the dead body of his son Sohrab he killed with his own hands, and the ballad when narrating a folk —Ban-bhed-ro-patra or Kadambari-ro-patra. Whether illustrating a text or translating its own mind, miniature painting has its own image of man, woman, gods and even animals - its own perception of whatever emerges on its canvas. It paints a cub feeding on its mother’s breasts as carefully and with the same affectionate concern as it does the child Krishna and mother Yashoda or the infant Jesus and Madona.
With such unique width and dimensions miniature painting is as representative a form of expression as literature. it has the same ability as has literature to encompass all major concerns of mans mind, aesthetic merit to delight and spiritual strength to inspire, and as wide a range of genres and creative tools - imagination, fancy, assimilation, synthesis, tradition, innovation, simplification, generalisation, symbolism. .. At times, literature and painting even rivaled each other if a miniature aspired that its can- vas breathed lyrics, the lyric aspired that it emitted pictures. Like literature, miniature painting has its own conventions, traditions, models, prescriptions, scope, formative principles and a fully evolved world, though not as widely explored. Miniature painting drew art-historians attention around the beginning of the last century. With whatever meager material before them, these founders of T art aesthetics not only attempted at deciphering the date, provenance and theme of each piece but also generated worldwide interest in it and won for it a place amongst the art styles of the world — an admirable service. Subsequent studies have pursued mostly the prior lines. The material was sometimes re-classified but the basis was still a paintings provenance, not its genre or an aesthetic principle. Such aspects are still unexplored. It is yet to evolve what exactly a style denotes. The terms style and school are often confused with each other. Type of costumes, ornaments, terrain, anatomy, facial features, choice of theme and colours- factors contemplated in these studies as determining a style, define more often a regions cultural geography and hence provenance, not style of its art. Portrait of Raja so and so in procession, or ‘jharokha portrait of Jahangir’, the commonly used expressions, club together diagonally opposite terms; ‘portrait’, representing likeness, and ‘procession’ and jharokha, representing event and location. Nature is invariably termed as landscape, though in majority of miniatures it comprises mere background, not main theme, and the two aspects are widely different.
‘Indian Miniature Painting; Manifestation of a Creative Mind’ addresses some of these aspects, though it only initiates a dialogee and is thus a mere beginning, not a final word in any matter whatsoever. The authors humbly pray that they have drawn the contents of the book not so much from their study of books as from what they have felt during their year’s long survey of miniatures in various museums and private collections. They felt that miniature painting has wider dimensions than ordinarily site expects a painting to reveal. Thus, besides the conventional also emerged some unconventional aspects of miniature painting vision adequate emphasis on both the book has been conceived with two parts; Book One, comprising origin, growth and schools miniature painting, a conventional line, though not treated conventionally; and, Book Two, comprising seven chapters, covering some unconventional aspects. The first chapter of the Book Two discusses ‘medium’, ‘style’ and ‘theme’. It seeks to define these essential components of a miniature and at the same time investigates how one shapes the other and their over—all mutuality. The second chapter attempts at identifying different genres of miniature painting. The third and the fourth chapters discover in Miniature painting ‘realism’ and ‘fiction’, and the character and various modes of both. The fifth chapter explores miniature painting’s vision of the Divine, and the sixth, its width of emotions. It examines miniatures emotional world also in context to India’s over two millenniums old classical theory of rasa and bhavas besides other things. The seventh and the last chapter Aesthetic of miniature Painting defines terms like assimilation, tradition, innovation, element, influence, imagination, fancy, line»work. Simplification of form, symbolism, chiaroscuro, rhythm, lyricism ..., the creative tools that the miniature painting has used.
The visual side of the book is as strong. It includes over two hundred sixty visuals which represent various painting traditions. modes, phases of growth and over-all continuity of the art of painting in India. Many of these objects are beings published here for first time. The early seventh century wooden book-covers of the Buddhist texts from Gilgit and seventh-eighth century paper t;.1iings from the Central Asia are perhaps the earliest examples of miniature format in Indian art. lf a fragment of a fifteenth century fresco, rendered pursuing Chaurapanchasika style, reveals here a wide-spread transition from the old to the new, folios from Sikandarnama, Shahnama and other Islamic texts, being published here for the first time, suggest that pure undiluted Persian idiom Of Safavid Iran was one of the streams of Indian painting during fifteenth-sixteenth century and even after. Paintings used in book Two reveal some of the unexplored aspects of miniature art besides their aesthetic beauty.
We feel highly indebted to various museums and their officers whose liberal cooperation made this work possible. Majority of the visuals in the book are from the collection of the National Museum, New Delhi, for which we are thankful to this institute and it’s Director General. We have no words to thank Dr. V K. Mathur for his multifarious help and moral boosting, as also Deepak Vashistha and Prem Chand for their invaluable assistance. We also thank Rajeshwari Shah, Dr Deepa Mathur, Rajbir Singh. J.C. Arora and Nitin Goel for helping us from time to time. We are grateful to our mother Maa Anand Bharti, a great friend xii brother Atul Anand, Prem Bharti, Himani, Vinit and our all children for their loving concern and support which greatly helped us in accomplishing this book. We also thank our maid Basanti for her ail—time care, concern and attendance. In the last, we thank Suraksha and Yogesh Gajwani and their entire team for book’s excellent designing and Mr Saurabha Garg of Brijbasi art Press who in this age of coffee—table books discovered relevance of a conceptual academic study.
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