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Paintings > Mughal > Ladies at a Flower Shop
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Ladies at a Flower Shop

Ladies at a Flower Shop

Ladies at a Flower Shop

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Water Color Painting On Paper
Artist: Navneet Parikh

10 inches X 13 inches
Item Code:
MJ04
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Viewed 6232 times since 4th Jun, 2010
This painting, a miniature rendered using mild tones of red, yellow or green-like deep colours, represents two ladies at a flower-shop which a lady, seated on an elevated platform with a carpet on it, owns and runs with the help of an assistant seated opposite her. Almost ordinarily clad and bejeweled the two ladies are harem-inmates come to buy some flower garlands for their mistress who required them to please her lord by welcoming him with them, or by decorating with them her chamber and bed. As suggests the smoky-grey background, the hour of the day is evening, the time when she expects him to come to her. Not sure of what their mistress would approve the two buyers are a little confused, and are conferencing as to which type of garlands/flowers they should buy. On her part, the shop owning woman is showing them a garland – a specimen, confidently contending that their mistress would like those of its type.

The painting has been rendered pursuing the provincial idiom of Mughal art style of its decadent phase as it was practised at its provincial headquarters like Oudh around 1830-40 A.D. Though a largely formal rendition with somewhat dramatically gesticulated figures completely missing Mughals’ grandeur, vigour and spirit which the Mughal art had during the period of Jahangir and Shahjahan, it outstands in other aspects – minutely conceived details, iconography of figures, anatomical proportions, use of soft colour tones, and above all, in discovering the mid-nineteenth century renaissance spirit that transformed the street-walker into an artist’s canvas image.

The painting’s main theme has been set inside a shop the opening of which an arched door-frame comprising fluted marble columns with lotus-base and rounded brackets on either side elevates. The entire door-opening and the shop’s face above it, all constructed with calibrated marble slabs, have been richly wrought with floral arabesques rendered in gold. This splendid opening affords to the painting’s principal theme its innermost frame and unity. It has besides it a gorgeous border rendered in gold, a deeper golden background being the base colour, while uniformly conceived and designed leafy arabesques ringing around floral motifs, its designing pattern. The shop is a perfect specimen of the type of shops that the medieval or rather Mughal India had. Mughal forts and walled towns like the Delhi’s Red Fort and Shahjahanabad, Shahjahan’s walled city of Delhi, had uniformly structured long rows of shops built with perfect symmetry and in straight lines unless a designing scheme otherwise provided.

Besides such planned clusters of them, an arched opening was the most natural format for a shop anywhere. In medieval India, outer portions of residential buildings were widely used for commercial activities, trading in particularly. With Mughal links arches – arched doorways, window openings, balconies and elevations, were seen as defining India’s architectural culture and a man’s social status during the entire period of about three hundred years of the Mughal rule in India. Obviously with most of the buildings having arched openings and such openings being used for shops, in medieval India arches and shops were inseparably linked.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.

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