India | Himachal Pradesh

Pahari Painting



Pahari was the renowned style of miniature painting, which flourished during the 17th to 19th centuries in the kingdoms that comprise the present state of Himachal Pradesh. This style, a blend of Mughal and Indian culture, was patronized by the Rajput rulers of the region.

Pahari paintings of the mid 17th century were marked by human figures containing fish-shaped elongate eyes, oval faces, small foreheads, round chins and large noses. These figures were highlighted by red, yellow, green or brown backgrounds. The feeling of distance was portrayed by the small sized trees, while the sky was represented in the form of a simple narrow strip. The colors used in the paintings were derived from vegetables.

During the second quarter of the 18th century, the style underwent a drastic change with the application of a more natural tone. More greenery and vegetations were added to the paintings. The appearance of brooks and rivulets became more common. These paintings were marked by use of female figures of extraordinary beauty, containing sharp features. The subjects often dealt with the lifestyle of the people. A popular theme was Lord Krishna and the legends revolving around him, showing a strong influence of the Vaishnavite movement.

The Pahari School of painting came to a decline at the close of the 19th century.



Updated on 7th June, 2005

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