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  • History of Marwar School of Painting (Part 2)

    History of Marwar School of Painting (Part 2)

    History of Marwar School of Painting (Part 2)

    Salient Features of Jodhpur style

    हमारी नई वैबसाइट - भारत का इतिहास -

    In Marwar, we have to satisfy ourselves with only medieval period works from three active centers of this region- Bhinmla, Pali and Jodhpur. The Jodhpur style is the principal style of the Marwar School, but today a large number of paintings in this style are not available, and whatever is available belongs to the early part of the 19th century. Despite being influenced by the Mewar School, the Jodhpur style has its own striking features, and as a result its separate constitution comes to light. Males in this style are stoutly built and tall. Their curved mustaches, touching their throats, raised turbans and dress decorated with royal splendour are very impressive. The limbs of females are shapely and plump. Besides local influences, the impact of the Mughal style also deserves special consideration- Application of folk art, combinations of red and yellow, depiction of feudal splendourand of simple life are also highlights of this style. Where drawings of palaces and palatial buildings were made extensively, in respect of scenery, paintings were created to suit the tastes of the capitalists of Marwar. Principal artists of this style whose names have been identified include Virji (1623), Narayan Dass (1700), Bhatti Amar Dass (1750), Chhajju Bhatti, Kishen Dass (1800), Danna (1810), Bhatti Shiv Dass, Dev Dass, Jit Mal (1825), Kalu Ram (1831).

    Infulance of Vaishnavism on Marwar Painting

    Vallabha infulance is quite obvious in the morals and miniatures of the Marwar because of Maharaja Jsawant Singh's association with Shri Nathji. During his time Chopasani became the centre of Vallabha art. According to the statement of Lama Tara Nath, the tradition of miniatures and murals is very old. Nagaur painting of ShantinathTemple is dated 1605 AD. Pali is nearby town of Jodhpur was a prolific Thikana of the painting work during the time of Maharaja Gaj Singh (1610-1630).

    Infulance of Nath Sect on Marwar Painting

    Maharaja Man Singh due to his unconscious faith in the Nath cult, accorded to the Kanphata Yogies a partial treatment. Painting of Jhalandar Nath is clear proof of it.  Mansingh founded "Pustak Prakash" - the library and commissioned many sets of paintings. Many of his portraits show him worshipping Guru Nathji— or in the company of Guru Ayas Nath. Ramayana, Durgapatha, Shiva Purana, Suraj Prakash, Bhagwata, Panchtantra and Dhola Maru are some important works of his time.

    Wall Paintings in shreenath Ji Temple in Mehrangarh

    Wall paintings of Shreenath ji temple situated in the Zenana Deodi part of Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur. Major part of the Zenana Deodi is adorned with lyrical paintings executed from top to bottom. The temple room of Shreenath ji, which lies in the eastern part of Zenana Deodi, is also having this kind of art works. However it looks more like a living room, it is considered a temple because of the three idols present in this room.  Painting seems to be made all over the temple room; including the arches, ceiling, pillars and walls. Most of the paintings are visible at southern wall of the room. But rest of the room might also be having such art work hidden beneath the plastered area. Paintings on the arches are having different figural treatment and themes from painting on the pilllars. Simiary, the paintings on ceiling are different in their composition and design when compared to the paintings executed on walls of Shreenath ji temple.

    These paintings are prolific examples to learn and decode the art and aesthetics of Marwar. The room is having more than usual number of pillars, with adoration of paintings resembling to the traditional art of Marwar school of painting. The composition, theme, figure drawing, architecture, flora fauna, landscape and rest other elements of these paintings are so similar to traditional miniature painting of Jodhpur that they seem to have been copied from them. 

    From a comparative glimpse of these compositions, the subject matter and colours seem to have been derived from the miniature paintings, though the miniature paintings have richer palette and varied themes. The themes of these paintings have got a wide spectrum, with depiction on ceiling varying from those on the walls and pillars. Vishnu in various incarnations and episodes dominate the themes. Other subject matter includes Gods, Goddesses, local deities, king's court life, scenes from Indian mythology & epics, various historic episodes that have affected the state and the valorous deeds of the Rajput  icons and kings.

    The themes selected for the ceiling seems quite different from the subject portrayed below. Other than these themes, figures of celestial beings and imaginary unreal figures are abundant which gives a quality of uniqueness and divinity to the room. Other characteristic common to Jodhpur miniature painting and the wall paintings of' Shreenathji temple is the 'Khanjan nayan' typical of Marwar and the pearl ornamentation with figures are bejewelled.  Even the male figures are ornate with pearl strands through their turbans, kundals 

    in ears and such. As far as the costumes are concerned, there are striped non-transparent garments painted over the figures in Shreenath ji temple room. And they also go in hand with the apparel treatment of figures from the miniature painting of early 17 to later 18th century.   Then there are influences from the Mughal painting also. This amalgamation of Persian-Mughal impact is quoted at many places as Irani Kalam  also. Frequent use of Mughal turbans and use of the typical floral depiction brought in by them exemplifies the above point.

    Through a technical survey and study of these paintings it come in view that the walls and ceilings are having a traditional lime based plaster, commonly called Kaudi  plaster. The same plaster is applied on ceilings too. Paintings were made over this very smooth and shiny plaster without preparation of any ground. The technique of painting could be tempera. But since the paintings have lost their pigment due to losing ground adhesion, so the technique could be more of tempera than any other.   

    The paint layers are carried out directly on the kaudi plaster. The paint generally consists of pigments and binding material that occurs in water soluble as well as water resistant condition and is applied to wet (fresco) and dry (secco) plaster. The secco parts seem to be done in tempera technique. This also leads to conclusion that the technique had been tempera; however the paints have not been analyzed yet . Another important evidence to trace the technique of wall paintings in Shreenath ji temple is that the painted surface with los't pigment is almost as shiny and smooth as the plaster itself, which mean the paintings had been made only after the plastered surface was finished. A detailed analysis of painting tells that perhaps there was no provision of preliminary sketch or drawing for the design part of composition, while the figures were firstly drawn and then coloured. Analysis by conservation team proves that the walls of Shreenath ji temple room were formely layered with kaudi plaster which can be found in fragments on walls underneath the actual lime plaster.

    But it is not known by today whether entire plaster surface was painted or only parts of it because too little is left. Most of the rooms on second floor had been lavishly painted at some point of time. The remains of paintings are combined with mirror work. The paintings conserved and recovered out of the over paint and plaster are quire well in condition to be visible in contrast to punting on the door panel of Shreenath ji temple. This is a vague impression of an image of Radha- Krishna. It is still under an over painted layer and may be from an earlier period than paintings of the same room.

    Paintings in Other towns of Marwar

    The Jodhpur style was followed in the Thikanas of Pali, Ghanerao and Pokhran. In town like Kuchawan, Nagaur and Jalore, Rathore nobles also encouraged painting after buildinf Galleries.


    Bhinmal was an important cultural and religious centre of medieval Marwar and enjoyed peace and prosperity for long. Kanhaddeo Prabandh, a trxt composed in V. S. 1512 (1455 AD), speaks highly about the scholerly activities and learned men of this town. 
    A copy of Kalpasutra of V.S. 1563 (A.D. 1506) in the collection of Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute (RORI), Jodhpur, is a remarkable contribution of Bhinmal. The colophon in the end reads that Lola Sravak and his family, inspired by the preaching of Bhanumeru, got this copy made for the use of Vivekshekhar, a giver of religious recitations. It has 136 folios and 36 illustrations. Long paper folios have seven lines on each and on 36 scenes from the life of tirathankars are painted in slightly elongated panels. As the Kalpasutra mentions acts of only four tirathankaras, the other twenty are shown in two miniatures (nos. 27 and 28)— ten seated in each. Gold, red and blue dominate the palette and black touches make each more show a good number of decorative motifs. Clothing also demonstrates medieval pat¬terns— geese, rosettes, etc., found especially on printed fabrics from Gujarat.  


    The most remarkable and the earliest dated example, known to us so far, from Pali is a Ragamala series in the Collection of Kunwar Sangram Singh, Jaipur. It was executed by Virji in 1623 during the reign of Vitthal Das. It is a simple but attractive set. While describing this series, Douglas Barrett observed, "These simple but by no means artless drawings are set down without fumbling. There is no sign of an uneasy shifting to taste. It is difficult to be¬lieve that they were not following a tradition current in the sixteenth century in the desert region. Nor does this Ragamala stand alone; a manuscript in the Motichand Khajanchi collection in the same style is dated 1634.  Though folkish in nature it is a well done work, for exam¬ple musical instrument is carefully drawn and shows the artist's command over lines. It seems that the art of painting flourished at Pali and the neighbouring areas in late 16th and early 17th. Authors of the Khajanchi Collection Catalogue labeled one painting- "lady and a boy" in their work "probably Marwar, "Now the question arises what were the reasons behind this nomenclatures?

    A plausible explanation would be- the stylistic similarities- the male face with wide open eyes and forearms full of bangles are close to Pali Ragamala of 1623 and colours are bright. Six folios from another Ragamala series, very similar to Pali set is in the Coll-ection of M.S. Man Singh II Museum. The RORI Jodhpur has some manuscripts from Pali. Two of them have dates - V.S. 1845 (A.D. 1788) and V.S. 1853 (A.D. 1796). These works were produced for the elite of the town and are not royal copies. Though the calligraphy is good, illustrations are not of high quality. They have characteristic coarse colours of that period and lines are carelessly drawn. Human figures are short and static; they give toy-like effect. Trees are highly decorative but as book illustrations they are good. Artists seem more successful in drawing birds and animals, & in depicting social customs and manners of that period.


    Nagaur was also an active centre, where a number of Jain and Hindu illustrated texts were executed. Bhakat Singh (1724-49 A.D.) was independent ruler of Nagaur. He executed some wall paintings in the buildings like Hawa Mahal, Badal Mahal and Shish Mahal at the Nagaur Fort. Both in quality and quantity in atelier of the Maharaja, soon a sub school of Marwar mural sprang up. These paintings reveal that the Maharaja got them painted under the influence of Vaishnava Cult. By painting Shri Krishna and Radha the Maharaja actually took immense delight in seeing women in the different poses and theme of so called Vaishnava cult. 

    हमारी नई वैबसाइट - भारत का इतिहास -

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