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Author: Jai Singh Neeraj
Publisher: Abhinav Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170172675
The Mughals brought miniature painting, an offshoot of manuscript painting, to India in the 14th-15th centuries. It took deep root in what is known today as Rajasthani painting. Its implantation in Rajasthan is mainly due to the close political and social contacts between the Mughal rulers of North India and feudal Rajput princelings who flourished in northwestern India between the 15th and 18th centuries.
Many Rajput rulers and their courtiers were highly cultivated, and their courts were centers where the arts and artists received unstinted encouragement from their royal patrons. This was particularly so of painting, and what began as an offshoot of Mughal painting because in the years between the inception of Mughal rule and the British occupation of India from the 18th century, there was a rich flowering of many schools and styles of miniature painting which have found avid admirers among connoisseurs of art the world over.
Unfortunately, although Rajasthani paintings are treasured art collectors’ items much sought after by discerning lovers of art because of their intrinsic merit, little effort has been expended to delve deep into the various modes of this painting and present an overall picture of the numerous schools, styles and substyles which are the priceless heritage today not only of Rajasthan, their place of birth, but also of India as a whole.
Art experts, mainly foreign savants, have written knowledgeable accounts about various aspects of Rajasthani painting, but nobody, it is worth recording, has undertaken to produce a comprehensive study in depth of this vast cultural field. This is absolutely essential as no study of Indian civilization is complete without it.
The present study does not claim to fulfil this requirement. That would need much more intensive, detailed and patient research. But it provides a good point of takeoff for such a study. In Splendour of Rajasthani Painting, assembled obviously with great care and deep love of the subject, Dr. Jai Singh Neeraj has laid the ground work for such a project. He has succeeded in conveying to the art-loving reader the fact that Rajasthani art is a many-splendoured thing that deserves much more attention than it has received so far.