As part of the project on Gita-Govinda and the Indian Artistic Traditions, four monographs have been published on the illustrated manuscripts on the Gita-Govinda. These are (i) The Jaur Gita-Govinda, (ii) Miniatures from a Rajasthani Gita-Govinda, and (iii) The Bundi Gita-Govinda, (iv) Assam Gita-Govinda. The volume of Mewari Gita-Govinda is the fifth of the series. Two others, one on illustrated manuscripts of the Gita-Govinda from Orissa and the other on the illustrated manuscript of the late Rajasthani School, Jaipur and Amber are in the press. Hopefully these and three others relating to the Pahari and Bengal School will complete the series.
While the larger project on the Gita-Govinda and the Indian Artistic Traditions comprehends the totality of the impact of this great work in all the arts and endeavours to trace the routes of travel of the work from one part of India to the other, the illustrated manuscripts of the Gita-Govinda provide the basis of an indepth analysis of the nature of relationship of the text and image. The multiple pictorial expression of a single text in different regions and different periods, have unraveled many hitherto unnoticed aspects of Indian miniature painting.
Recent critical scholarship on Indian miniature painting has so far been concerned with chronology, development of schools, sub-schools, patronage and identification of painters. A thematic approach has been adopted by a few scholars, but by a large and formal stylistic elements of each school and sub-school have been the concern of most scholars. The establishment of a chronology and identification of patrons and painters is undoubtedly a necessary pre-requisite and the painstaking works of many pioneers have shed light on an extensive repertoire of Indian miniature painting. The concern with general content and theme and descriptive studies of the illustrations have been useful tools for reconstructing the totality of vastly dispersed folios of single manuscripts. Understandably, the analysis of the formal elements of style on the basis of the aesthetically satisfying paintings ha led scholars to do specimen studies in preference to dealing with a single manuscript in its totality. The seemingly repetitive character of the paintings has perhaps been largely responsible for this general trend, notwithstanding the notable exceptions of studies on the Tutinama, Akbar-nama and Nala Damayanti.
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