The Indian courtesans were frequented by the nobles of the Mughal courts. Patronised by usually a single powerful and wealthy gentleman, each of them was an artiste in her own right and contributed immensely to traditional Indian performing arts as well as the Hindustani literary tradition. What makes the paintings curated here so authentic is the fact that a number of the pieces in this collection are reproductions of ancient Indian miniatures, the exquisiteness of which are not to be found in any other visual arts tradition in the world. The colours employed are rich and vivid. The silks and velvets of their quarters, which constitute the backdrop against which most of these ivory-skinned courtesans are painted, are depicted in lifelike and luxuriant detail. These are visual representations of a time and way of life that no longer exist in the fast-paced and relatively cheap ways of the present time. From the dense blackness of their tresses to the classical features of their forms, from the richly coloured silks and jewels they were always seen in to their inimitable stance, each of these Mughal paintings is a fine example of aesthetics and skill.
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