Posted on: 6 October 2013

PAHARI Painting In India

Pahari painting in India largely dwelt on the symbols and themes from mythology and literature. Pahari painting is an umbrella term. It is used for the form of Indian painting which originated from Himalayan kingdoms of North India during 17th-19th century. Remarkably several schools of Pahari painting were mostly done in miniature forms. A characteristic composition of Pahari painting of India embraces numerous figures grouped dexterously and full of movement. Each and every painting is unique in terms of hairstyle, clothing and even pigmentation. Pigmentation may be white, blue, grey or pink.

Origin of Pahari Paintings in India

The Pahari School of painting flourished during 17th-19th centuries. The region of this painting stretched from Jammu to Almora and Garhwal, in sub-Himalayan India, through Himachal Pradesh. Each creates deserted variations within the genre and ranges from bold and passionate Basohli Painting of Jammu and Kashmir to the delicate and poetic Kangra paintings. It turned tantamount to the style prior to other schools of paintings developed which attained its peak with paintings of Radha and Krishna, motivated by Jayadev's Gita Govinda. It dawned a new-fangled idiom in Indian painting and turned out of the Mughal painting, though it was mostly patronized by Rajput kings who ruled scores of parts of the region.

Themes and Motifs in Pahari Paintings

Pahari paintings showcase the subjects of love and dedication. They are distinct from Rajasthani Paintings. As they bloomed around the same time as the Bhakti Movement, both the themes frequently interlinked. Therefore, a lot of Kangra Paintings portrayed the life and times of Krishna and Rama. As a matter of fact, they were instrumental in augmenting people’s consideration of the religious texts such as Ramayana and Puranans. Evergreen themes were also offered by Gita Govinda (the heavenly Love Song) and the tenth book of the Bhagavata Purana (having the stories of Krishna).

Schools of Pahari Paintings:

There are several schools of Pahari paintings in India. These schools are-

Basohli School:

Bashohli (Basoli) is an area committee in Kathua district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Basohli Paintings are considered to be the first school of Pahari paintings. This school developed into the much creative Kangra paintings school by mid-eighteenth century. These paintings are metaphor for a dynamic, bold and ingenious artistic style. They are stylish, rich and exceptional. This is a style of painting which is characterized by enthusiastic use of primary colors and an unusual facial formula prevailed in the 17th and early 18th centuries. The style extended to the Hill States of Nurpur, Mankot, Mandi, Kulu, Bilaspur, Suket, Chamba, Nalagarh, Kangra and Guler.

Guler School:

Around the mid part of the 18th century some Hindu artists of Mughal style painting required the benefaction of Rajas of Guler in Kangra Valley. They developed a painting style which possesses a delicacy and a holiness of feeling. Guler artists painted the colors of morning and rainbow on their palette. Colors highlight cool blues and greens. Guler has the highest tradition in the art of painting among the hill states. Delicacy and liquid grace marks Guler school of painting. The drawing is precise and delicate.

Kangra School:

The crucial theme of Kangra painting is Shringar. The style is naturalistic. Details are given great attention. The Kangra paintings showcase blossoming plants and creepers, brooks, rivulets and leafless trees.

The Kangra painting artists adopted diverse hues of primary colors and employed delicate and fresher shades. Later, Kangra paintings exhibited night-time scenes, lightning and storms. Often, the paintings were huge and had compound compositions of countless figures and convoluted landscapes. Time and again, towns and house clusters were represented at a distance. The Kangra painters made use of colors that were made of mineral and vegetable extracts. They used fresh and cool colors. Kangra paintings are celebrated for the expressive blending of form and color.

Other schools of Pahari painting in India include Chamba, Mankot, Garhwal, Nurpur and Mandi.

Artists of Pahari Painting:

Pandit Seu of Guler and his son Manaku and Nainsukh were among the greatest of Pahari painting artists.

Pahari Paintings in India differ from other kinds of Indian Folk Paintings. The reason is that Pahari paintings extensively use shading. It provides them a sense of profundity which the majority other folk paintings are deficient in. you can find one of the most widespread and discriminating collections of Pahari miniatures in the Bhuri Singh Musuem in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. In a nutshell, it can be said that Pahari paintings have won laurels to the name of Indian art.


Opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper
each image 7 by 9 3/8 in. (17.8 by 23.8 cm.) and smaller
each folio 9 1/2 by 11 3/4 in. (24.1 by 29.8 cm.) and smaller, unframed [9], one illustrated
circa 1840 and later
India, Pahari


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