Pahari Miniature Painting is art of compassion, passion and revelation where Lord Shiva's cosmic dance is the dance of sub-atomic matter and also the truth of life which is the very essence of sub-atomic particles related to all creation. Ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the Devis, the Devas, Men and Women, the Demons and all other creatures, exist to relate the past to the present through Pahari genre and works in colour of genus which can never be garrotted or subdued. Mythological influences have enriched the Pahari painting and we see Pahari artists employed who were working in the Guler-Kangra-Basohli-Chamba tradition of miniature painting which frequently dealt with mythological material and literary classical texts as adoption in colour. These paintings have considerable competence in perspective not found elsewhere and are creations of observation. We find an air of greater naturalism because of the colours used symbolically. Pahari style of painting has a sense of reality, unique freedom of expression, cultural perspective and influence of local colour.
Art in these miniatures is sensitive, reticent and tender. Self control, serenity, passion, delicacy and refinement enrich the delightful rhythms where music flows in each strain of colour in harmony of technique, subject and portrayal. Pahari miniature paintings aim at integration of life and lead us to attaining the goal of final liberation. Executing all physical acts, the divines and the earthly are nurtured in discipline, austerity and affluence, offering us the gift of life's nectar. These paintings range over 350 years, and they, not surprisingly, include a number of different techniques. It is great achievement of Pahari painting that the permanence of the painting methods enables us so completely to study and appreciate the character of the rich Hindu society which is most secular in approach and highly tolerant to even the extreme human behaviour. Pahari art is not hidden but accessible art, approachable, sophisticated and not remote in any sense. The period treated by Pahari artists is well defined offering us an area of study that enhances our awareness of the golden chapter of Indian art.
Pahari art is the art of the most active, sober and realistic people where the original conception and stylization can be recognised at once. The mythological and historical scenes are related to unexpected glimpse of the open country because the landscapes and figures in paintings leave nothing to illusiveness in these miniatures. Pahari art has interesting innovations, skilful improvisation and delicacy of touches of brush. Unfailing charms of the allusions, symbols and suggestiveness speak of ferverish moment of creativity. Basohli representation has vitality and boldness; Kangra adds to it softness and delicacy, spontaneity and originality.
The art of Pahari origin is art of innate reverence. Thinking, feeling and writing become one in immaculate amity when the shadow of faith becomes a reality in colours of universal manifestations. Intensity of feelings in paintings has provided sensible themes and we meet beauty unclassified and love in its naturalness in hill-art tradition and growth. The present volume contains more than 342 paintings; out of which 161 are full page pictures, whereas most illustrations with the text measure 17.5 x 12.5 cms.
Novelist, short story writer, poet, linguist, art historian, art critic, painter, sculptor, social scientist, sportsman and a filmmaker, Onkar Chandra Sharma, who writes under the nom de plume Onkar Rahi, was born on 20th, May 1940 in a family of scholars traditionally devoted to the studies of Sanskrit and oriental languages. A combination of sports and scholarship, love for research, astrology, occult, tantra, culutre, Vedic studies and social services, makes Mr. Rahi a rare personality in India. He joined prestigious Indian Police Service at the age of 23 and retired at the top most rank as Director General of Police from Madhya Pradesh. Mr. Rahi is credited with eight novels in Hindi and one in English, a collection of short stories, two books on liguistics, an anthology of poems. His nine outstanding and bestseller Coffee-table books on Indian art include :
• Khajuraho Unknown # The Devi : Shakta Cult
• Rasamanjari : The Nectarous Ocean
• Growth and Tradition of Pahari Miniature Painting
• Kangra School of Painting
• Basohli School of Painting # Ragas and Raginis : Indian Classical Musical Modes
• Khajuraho : Lok Katha Se Itihas Tak (in Hindi)
• Khajuraho : Mithun Yugam (in Hindi)
His edited works include 'Crime Against Women', 'MR Police Journal', and `Kangra Annual', an art magazine. His hobies include collection of rare books, coins, paintings, sculpture and antiques. Presently, he is settled in his home town, Kangra in Himachal Predesh under the snow clad Western Himalayas and is involved in social and charitable activities in addition to his literary pursuits.
Any appreciation of art must rest finally on the art itself. Pahari paintings in this volume have been included with this, after all, irrefutable concept in mind. The works of great Pahari painters as individuals known and unknown, as well as those works which came from the great schools of Kangra and Basohli are presented as things in themselves, to he enjoyed simply of what they are, the masterpieces in colour. The selection is based upon individual beauty as well as for the value and importance in the development of particular idiom on art movement concerned, which will, without any words spoken, enable us to appraise concisely the background against which these masterpieces have been created. The virtue and the beauty of the Kangra and Duggar Valleys is proverbial. The hill regions in the foothills of Western Himalayas stretching into the mountains of Shiwalik hills With lush green rich valleys, plains fertile and cultivated, brooks, dales and streams and meandering rivers supporting, is fact enough to seduce anyone. No one can ever ignore the strong sunlight, beauty of the landscapes and scenes and colours of the clouds depicted in Pahari painting which remind us of past glories and grandeur of three hundred years painted with the art attracting scholars and connoisseurs since A.D. 1905, when a set of few Pahari paintings appeared in public. Some scholars, ever since have made attempts to categorise the finds and even enormous contradictions and conflicting opinions have added to the richness which we see in details of these works where beautiful decorations, clothing designs, hills and moors, the mythological scenes, geometric or organic patterns, erotic moods and inviting bed chambers become a part of our life.
Different styles of domestic architecture, palaces of the kings, spread of hills in a composition -are a fact of interest to the historians of art because the perspective, effectiveness in handling of tone, knowledge of aerial perceptions and many specialist considerations leave behind a thousand questions unanswered, since not one single painting from period before 16th century exists to guide us and so little knowledge we have of the art of painting of earlier art in Himachal hills. Some scholars have created dangerous breeding grounds of generalisations about Pahari painting and they mostly depended on 'stylistic' or 'place of find' norms which are mostly misleading.
Mythological influences have enriched the Pahari painting and we see Pahari artists employed working in the Guler-Kangra-BasohliaChamba tradition of miniatures painting which frequently dealt with mythological material and literary classical texts as adoption in colour. These paintings have considerable competence in perspective not found elsewhere and are creations of observation.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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