Patna Qalam is a 200 year old art form, an offshoot of the famous Mughal Miniature School of Painting that flourished in Bihar
during the Mughal
period, from early 18th to mid 20th century. This was practised by a group of artists who were brought to Delhi from Persia, initially by Humayun. With the decline of the Mughals, some of these artists came to Patna
and practiced their craft, adopting a style that gradually came to be known as the Patna Qalam. Sewak Ram (1770-1830) and Hulas Lal (1785-1875) are among the early painters of this school.
Patna Qalam is well known for its soft colors and hand-made paper or mica sheets used. Majority of these paintings illustrate the life, profession, customs, and culture of the people of Bihar. A remarkable quality of the paintings is the rare fusion of the native and foreign elements.