This April we are travelling back in time to the land of the Rajputs.
They lived in the midst of splendour. Their jewellery, collections, rifles, dresses, porcelain, grand staircases, and every single element of court life was not just grand but also overwhelming.
Udaipur, is a city well known for its miniature paintings.
Since paint was readily available, artists assembled here. Stones were used to make the paint. Despite the rough texture of the stone, the artists made their colour into a fine texture. Only the finest of paints could be used to make details on the paintings.
The paint brushes are still made using animal hair. The tip of the paint brush has a single hair. That’s how intricate the miniature paintings are.
Miniature paintings were made by the local artists to portray real life incidents. When the Maharaja visited a village or he decided to give a najara, the artists would paint the scenes on canvas. These elaborate scenes would then be presented to the Maharaja. You can say that miniature paintings were the diaries of the reigning monarchs.
As we travel up in time, there is an infusion of Mughal art in the miniature work. The animals and humans look more animated.
The paintings became more of a story telling medium than a picture. The scenes appear disfigured trying to capture every activity of a single moment in the same painting.
To make miniature paintings more magnificent, they were drawn on thin ivory sheets.
This art has now come down to synthetic paints and paper. Surviving this tradition is a costly proposition yet the community is driven to keep their culture alive.