It was probably a priest or an agent searching on Louis XV's orders for exotica for the Royal Library, who picked up a collection of 105 Indian miniatures and carried it to Paris from where it made its way to the collection of the enlightened Polish King, Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski. Painted in gouache on hand made paper before the middle of the eighteenth century somewhere in the present State of Andhra, the paintings cover the major hindu pantheon and some of the local divinities, often breaking into narrative sequences. Ms Marta Jakimowicz-Shah, Indologist and art historian, reproduces almost all of these paintings, about a quarter of them in colour, with elaborate annotations, and a scholarly introduction underlining the characteristics of this little known school of art and the setting that produced these paintings. The paintings are the product of a mature tradition and a highly sophisticated style that draws on several conventions, folk, Mughal, and old Vijayanagar included.
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