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Murals of Tira-Sujanpur (An Old and Rare Book)
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Murals of Tira-Sujanpur (An Old and Rare Book)
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Foreword
In the annals of history of our country, the contribution of the States, known in past as the Hill States of Punjab and now forming a part of modern Himachal Pradesh, have played an important role in promoting Art and Culture. However, collectively they stand taller in their contribution to promoting Indian miniature paintings. During late-seventeenth century and early eighteenth century, the rulers of these States patronised painters irrespective of their political agenda. They welcomed, without any prejudice, the families of painters who moved from one State to another. This liberal approach was undoubtedly the cause for the painters to involve themselves with an undivided devotion to their craft and they created innumerable masterpieces, which are collectively known as the Pahari art, bulk of it are the miniature paintings with a few remains of murals seen in some forts and temples. It is an indisputable fact that this collection of paintings has no parallel in the entire gamut of Indian paintings. Among several sub-schools of the Pahari art, the Kangra School is distinct for its sensual composition of sringara. I need not extol its virtues as there are several richly illustrated volumes written by erudite scholars available in the stands.

I have visited some of the places: - Damthal, Dada Siba, Nurpur Tira-Sujanpur, Sujanpur and Mandi frequently, where the edifices are richly decorated with murals. It was, however, at Tira-Sujnapur, my nostalgic memories of the past were rekindled for the simple reason that the temples (the Gaurishankar and the Narbadesvar and others) were built by Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch, incidentally an ancestor of my family. History tells us that he was a connoisseur par excellence with extraordinary interest in the paintings. It would not been an understatement to mention that the miniatures of Kangra School were the creation of Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch's personal involvement and interaction with the painters on individual basis. The embellishment of the two temples of Tira-Sujanpur and Sujanpur with outstanding murals goes to his credit.

Preface
He study of Pahari School of art, particularly the rich repertoire of miniatures, rejuvenated the researches in Indian art history in the early decades of the twentieth century, which were otherwise focussed on the Ancient Indian sculptural and mural art and the medieval miniature paintings. Once their significance recognised, numerous miniatures were "discovered" in a short period. The Pahari miniatures, particularly those belonging to the Kangra School, became connoisseurs' delight. The sensuous rendering of themes by the Pahari artists in general and Kangra artists in particular were greatly appreciated by the art historians. Not surprisingly, numerous articles and books reflecting outstanding scholarship were written on these miniatures in a few decades just after Independence. The gamut of Pahari paintings did not end with miniatures but includes the few examples of mural remains too. Obviously the miniatures, because of their sensual portrayals received exalted attention of the art historians while the murals of this region received a pedestrian's interest, though they deserved a much better deal.

It is difficult to imagine the intensity of patronage received by the mural artists in the Western Himalayan states via-a-vis the ruler's ardent patronage for the miniature artists. Nevertheless, a variety of buildings were decorated with murals during the late eighteenth and nineteenth century, like the palaces like the one at Chamba, structures like maths at Damatal, Nurpur or temples at Tira-Sujanpur. Among all centres of mural art in the hills like Chamba, Arki, Naduan, Dada Siba, Kulu and the like, the murals executed in the Gaurishankar and the Narbadesvar temples of Tira-Sujanpur are profuse, varied in themes and well-preserved. Though their significance is fairly well-recognised by the scholars like M. S. Randhawa, Mira Seth and others, there is no exclusive account of these murals. None of these publications were richly illustrated in colour.

It was indeed a momentous suggestion by the Humble Minister of Culture Smt. Chandresh Kumari Katoch to bring out a book on the murals of Tira-Sujanpur. This pleasing yet capacious task to prepare the manuscript was entrusted upon to me by Shri Pravin Srivastava, Director General, and Archaeological Survey of India. It provided me an opportunity to study an unfamiliar mural tradition, about which I had just read about in a few publications. I examined the murals with my experience and knowledge in studying the murals of ancient India and not through the prism of miniatures. With all humility and many drawbacks, I have tried my best to turn the focus of the art historians on these murals to study them in depth further and place this book to the remotest shelf at the library of their erudite publications.

Introduction
During the medieval and the modern periods, there were many small states spread all over the Western Himalayan hills ruled by different clans of Rajputs'. A common denominator among these states is that almost all of them patronised paintings and painters. In spite of their meagre resources, the rulers of these states maintained ateliers and patronised families of celebrated painters, perhaps taking the cue from the court practice of the powerful Mughals. Obviously, the art of painting flourished, the best creations were cherished and possessed by the rulers of these states. In a short span of about a century from the middle of the eighteenth to the early nineteenth century, thousands of miniatures were produced. Even though these states are politically, socially and culturally intertwined, artists of each state produced stylistically distinctive paintings'. Yet they are grouped together as the Pahari School by the art historians. This is an unparalleled contribution to the Indian art.

The wonderful collection of paintings collectively identified as the Pahari School came to the limelight with publications of specimens by the doyen of art history Ananda Coomaraswamy. The sublime beauty of every painting in this assemblage soon attracted the attention of the scholars, art historians and even art collectors, who began to add into their collection the works of this school. Within a few decades, hundreds of miniatures were examined and their artistic value was duly evaluated and appreciated. This kind of active researches resulted in the publication of a wonderful body of literature by several eminent art historians with illustrations of the specimens. Soon, the art historian recognised the pre-eminent position of the Pahari School in the art history of India vice versa the Pahari School was placed in a deservedly exalted position among various schools of art of India, particularly in the realm of miniature paintings. Among the many sub-schools, the Kangra School' gained special status for the sensual depictions of themes and rhythmic integration of the portrayals with the background, inspired by the physical landscape of the region.

Simultaneously, art historians took interest in the mural remains of this region. Several murals centres like Tira-Sujanpur, Nadaun, Chamba, Arki, Dada Sibba et al. were examined by them. The numbers of publications on murals vis-a-vis miniature paintings of this region are very few. The information published in them was brief with few specimen illustrations. This is also the case of murals of Tira-Sujanpur in spite of their enormity, thematic significance, expansive profusion and delicate execution.' This volume attempts to fill this void by publishing them comprehensively for the first time.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages










Murals of Tira-Sujanpur (An Old and Rare Book)

Item Code:
NAX413
Cover:
HARDCOVER
Edition:
2013
ISBN:
9789350863985
Language:
English
Size:
12.00 X 10.50 inch
Pages:
290 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 2.55 Kg
Price:
$100.00   Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
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Foreword
In the annals of history of our country, the contribution of the States, known in past as the Hill States of Punjab and now forming a part of modern Himachal Pradesh, have played an important role in promoting Art and Culture. However, collectively they stand taller in their contribution to promoting Indian miniature paintings. During late-seventeenth century and early eighteenth century, the rulers of these States patronised painters irrespective of their political agenda. They welcomed, without any prejudice, the families of painters who moved from one State to another. This liberal approach was undoubtedly the cause for the painters to involve themselves with an undivided devotion to their craft and they created innumerable masterpieces, which are collectively known as the Pahari art, bulk of it are the miniature paintings with a few remains of murals seen in some forts and temples. It is an indisputable fact that this collection of paintings has no parallel in the entire gamut of Indian paintings. Among several sub-schools of the Pahari art, the Kangra School is distinct for its sensual composition of sringara. I need not extol its virtues as there are several richly illustrated volumes written by erudite scholars available in the stands.

I have visited some of the places: - Damthal, Dada Siba, Nurpur Tira-Sujanpur, Sujanpur and Mandi frequently, where the edifices are richly decorated with murals. It was, however, at Tira-Sujnapur, my nostalgic memories of the past were rekindled for the simple reason that the temples (the Gaurishankar and the Narbadesvar and others) were built by Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch, incidentally an ancestor of my family. History tells us that he was a connoisseur par excellence with extraordinary interest in the paintings. It would not been an understatement to mention that the miniatures of Kangra School were the creation of Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch's personal involvement and interaction with the painters on individual basis. The embellishment of the two temples of Tira-Sujanpur and Sujanpur with outstanding murals goes to his credit.

Preface
He study of Pahari School of art, particularly the rich repertoire of miniatures, rejuvenated the researches in Indian art history in the early decades of the twentieth century, which were otherwise focussed on the Ancient Indian sculptural and mural art and the medieval miniature paintings. Once their significance recognised, numerous miniatures were "discovered" in a short period. The Pahari miniatures, particularly those belonging to the Kangra School, became connoisseurs' delight. The sensuous rendering of themes by the Pahari artists in general and Kangra artists in particular were greatly appreciated by the art historians. Not surprisingly, numerous articles and books reflecting outstanding scholarship were written on these miniatures in a few decades just after Independence. The gamut of Pahari paintings did not end with miniatures but includes the few examples of mural remains too. Obviously the miniatures, because of their sensual portrayals received exalted attention of the art historians while the murals of this region received a pedestrian's interest, though they deserved a much better deal.

It is difficult to imagine the intensity of patronage received by the mural artists in the Western Himalayan states via-a-vis the ruler's ardent patronage for the miniature artists. Nevertheless, a variety of buildings were decorated with murals during the late eighteenth and nineteenth century, like the palaces like the one at Chamba, structures like maths at Damatal, Nurpur or temples at Tira-Sujanpur. Among all centres of mural art in the hills like Chamba, Arki, Naduan, Dada Siba, Kulu and the like, the murals executed in the Gaurishankar and the Narbadesvar temples of Tira-Sujanpur are profuse, varied in themes and well-preserved. Though their significance is fairly well-recognised by the scholars like M. S. Randhawa, Mira Seth and others, there is no exclusive account of these murals. None of these publications were richly illustrated in colour.

It was indeed a momentous suggestion by the Humble Minister of Culture Smt. Chandresh Kumari Katoch to bring out a book on the murals of Tira-Sujanpur. This pleasing yet capacious task to prepare the manuscript was entrusted upon to me by Shri Pravin Srivastava, Director General, and Archaeological Survey of India. It provided me an opportunity to study an unfamiliar mural tradition, about which I had just read about in a few publications. I examined the murals with my experience and knowledge in studying the murals of ancient India and not through the prism of miniatures. With all humility and many drawbacks, I have tried my best to turn the focus of the art historians on these murals to study them in depth further and place this book to the remotest shelf at the library of their erudite publications.

Introduction
During the medieval and the modern periods, there were many small states spread all over the Western Himalayan hills ruled by different clans of Rajputs'. A common denominator among these states is that almost all of them patronised paintings and painters. In spite of their meagre resources, the rulers of these states maintained ateliers and patronised families of celebrated painters, perhaps taking the cue from the court practice of the powerful Mughals. Obviously, the art of painting flourished, the best creations were cherished and possessed by the rulers of these states. In a short span of about a century from the middle of the eighteenth to the early nineteenth century, thousands of miniatures were produced. Even though these states are politically, socially and culturally intertwined, artists of each state produced stylistically distinctive paintings'. Yet they are grouped together as the Pahari School by the art historians. This is an unparalleled contribution to the Indian art.

The wonderful collection of paintings collectively identified as the Pahari School came to the limelight with publications of specimens by the doyen of art history Ananda Coomaraswamy. The sublime beauty of every painting in this assemblage soon attracted the attention of the scholars, art historians and even art collectors, who began to add into their collection the works of this school. Within a few decades, hundreds of miniatures were examined and their artistic value was duly evaluated and appreciated. This kind of active researches resulted in the publication of a wonderful body of literature by several eminent art historians with illustrations of the specimens. Soon, the art historian recognised the pre-eminent position of the Pahari School in the art history of India vice versa the Pahari School was placed in a deservedly exalted position among various schools of art of India, particularly in the realm of miniature paintings. Among the many sub-schools, the Kangra School' gained special status for the sensual depictions of themes and rhythmic integration of the portrayals with the background, inspired by the physical landscape of the region.

Simultaneously, art historians took interest in the mural remains of this region. Several murals centres like Tira-Sujanpur, Nadaun, Chamba, Arki, Dada Sibba et al. were examined by them. The numbers of publications on murals vis-a-vis miniature paintings of this region are very few. The information published in them was brief with few specimen illustrations. This is also the case of murals of Tira-Sujanpur in spite of their enormity, thematic significance, expansive profusion and delicate execution.' This volume attempts to fill this void by publishing them comprehensively for the first time.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages










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