Indian miniature painting is often described as ”visual chamber music” embracing a range of ”tone colors” in a vocabulary of symbols, where the virtuosity of the painter is comparable with those of the musician.

In India, miniature painting is an ancient art, originating in the illustation of religious and secular texts written on palm leaves. In the 14th century, as paper became commonly available, artists started painting on this new material. Many artists were employed at the courts of the various maharajahs, while others produced paintings for religious purposes.

Today as the maharajahs have faded into history, several centers have switched to mass-production and synthetic paint to meet the demand of expanding tourism. However, religious miniatures are still being produced in traditional form for local use.

Fortunately schools still exist where the traditional art of the miniature is kept alive, and master teachers and pupils are able to practice classical miniature painting of a very high quality.

Miniature painting is particularly prevalent i north west India, among other places in the provinces of Gujaret and Rajasthan. Important schools of painting, often named after cities, include Jaipur, Mewar (Udaipur), Marwar (Jodhpur), Kishangarh, Kota, Bundi, Malwa and Bikaner.

Of the schools outside Rajasthan, there is the Mogul school, which arose at the imperial courts in Delhi and Agra, as well as the schools of Pahari, Chamba, Mandi, Guler, Grahwal, Kangra and Basohli from the districts of northern India.

Fine Tribal & Modern Art Gallery