SELECT MASTERPIECES

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  • Prithviraj Raso

    Prithviraj Raso

    Prithviraj being  dissuaded from going out in a storm while Kamdev, God of  love releases arrows of desire and Laxmi and Narayan, rest on the celestial serpent ‘’Shesh nag’’: Mewar 17th century

    Accession Number 17/11, 1097

  • Marhatta Warrior

    Marhatta Warrior

    Miniature  painting showing Marhatta Warrior on horse : Company school 19th century

    Accession Number P-206

  • Jackal and Tiger Cubs

    Jackal and Tiger Cubs

    Mewar Miniature  painting from ‘’ Panchatantra’’ series showing that a jackal cub cannot be reared with tiger cubs and will eventually be eaten up: Mewar 17th  century

    Accession Number 5/21

  • Krishna and Gopis Bathing

    Krishna and Gopis Bathing

    Krishna and Gopis engaged in amorous water sports from Rasik Priya series paintings: Mewar 17th century

    Accession Number 26/128

  • Cosmic form of krishna

    Cosmic form of krishna

    Mewar Miniature  painting from Mahabharat series showing Arjun seeing the Cosmic form of Krishna. Mewar 17th century

    Accession Number 22/149

  • Bija - Sorat Romance

    Bija - Sorat Romance

    Miniature  painting depicting legendary lovers Bija and Sorat eloping: Kota 19th century

    Accession Number 115-P

  • Lady and Attendents

    Lady and Attendents

    Miniature  painting showing lady being helped to adorn herself by attendants: Kishangarh. 19th century

    Accession Number 628/P-72

  • Sita's Test of Fire

    Sita's Test of Fire

    Lacquer painting on wood copied from Razam- Nama showing Sita’s test of fire to prove her chastity as Ram looks on: 19th century

    Accession Number 8558

  • Ten Mahavidyas

    Ten Mahavidyas

    Lacquer painting on wood showing ten forms of the goddess as  “Shakti”, primordial  energy: Jaipur 19th century

    Accession Number 8546

Gallery Collection : Miniature Paintings

MINIATURE PAINTINGS

(Three Galleries on First floor)
Themes from Mewar School: Malti Madhava, Panchtantra, Krishna Avtar Charitra, Vali Krishna Rukmani, Rasik Priya, Kadambari, Prabodh Chandra, Bhagwad Gita etc. Ragmala paintings, Jaipur School; Bara Masa, Marwar School; miscellaneous paintings from Kangra, Kishangarh, Bundi, Kota, Company School; Jain paintings on wood with lacquer showing 24 Tirthankars, their signs, attendant gods and goddesses, their mother's dreams prior to their birth, royal insignia, Ramayan scenes from Razmnamah, assorted portraiture etc.

Krishna Avtar Charitra

Krishna is a deity worshiped across many traditions of Hinduism. He is usually portrayed as a young cowherd playing a flute (such as in the Bhagavata Purana) or as a youthful prince giving philosophical directions (as in the Bhagvata Gita). The late 17th century Mewar paintings in the Krishna Avtar Charitra dwell on his pastoral childhood and youth, life as warrior and teacher and his revelation of his cosmic form to Arjun. 

Panchatantra (Panch Aakhyan)

Panchatantra in Sanskrit means 'Five (Pancha) Principals (Tantra)'. Originally it was a canonical collection of Sanskrit as well as Pali animal fables in verse and prose. The original Sanskrit text, now long lost, and which some scholars believe was composed in the 3rd century BC is attributed to Vishnu Sharma. However, based as it is on an older oral tradition, its antecedents probably hark back to the origins of language and the subcontinent's earliest social groupings of hunting and fishing folk gathered around camp-fires.

These fables of talking animals conveying important moral aphorisms were widely translated into many languages as Kalileh-O-Demneh (In Persian) Kalilag, Damnag (in Syriac) and Kalīlah wa Dimnah (in Arabic). They were translated into European languages and also incorporated in the famous Aesops fables in English. The Morall Philosophie of Doni (English, 1570), Kalila and Dimna (English, 2008) and the Fables of Bidpai (or Pilpai, in various European languages).

Rasik Priya

A composition of poems written in 1591 A.D. by Keshavadas, a Brijbhasha poet under the patronage of the brother of the Raja of Orchha, known as Maharaja Indrajit. The manuscript reveals amorous love in separation and union. The Rasik Priya is a collection of sixteen chapters called Prabhava. The first offers prayers to Lord Ganesha, the terminator of obstacles, then to the land of Orchha and the generous patron who commissioned this work. The second and the third Prabhava are dedicated to Nayaka and Nayika respectively. The fourth discusses different modes of gathering of lovers through images, dreams and face to face. The fifth chapter is about a young Nayika's plan to meet her beloved. The sixth chapter describes different bhava (mood), the seventh one is about eight types of Nayikas. The eight, the ninth and the tenth also state situations in love. The eleventh discusses love in separation, twelfth is about Sakhi – a friend who acts as a messenger, the thirteenth is about modes of meeting, the fourteenth and the fifteenth chapters narrate the meeting.

Bhagavata Gita

The Bhagavata Gita (The Song Celestial); a Sanskrit text from the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabhrarata epic consists of 700 verses of is usually revered and referred to as the Gita. The verses themselves are written in a poetic form that is traditionally chanted in Hindu tradition. The content of the text is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna taking place in the combat zone of Kurukshetra, just prior to the beginning of the Great War. They responding to Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma, Krishna explained to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and Prince and elaborates on different Yogic and Vedantic philosophies, with vivid examples and analogies. This has led to the Gita often being described as a concise guide to Hindu philosophy and also as a practical, self contained guide to life. During the discourse, Krishna revealed his identity as the Supreme Being himself (Bhagwan) blessing Arjuna with an awe-inspiring glimpse of his divine form. The paintings seek to illustrate the philosophical exchange between Arjuna and Krishna and attempt to portray the divine cosmic vision shown to Arjuna.

Geet Govind

A collection of melodious songs, scripted in Sankrit by Jayadeva in the 12th century, echoing love that flourished between Radha and Krishna. This royal poet flourished in the court of King Lakshmansen of Bengal and portrayed the physical aspect of love with a candour and explicitness peskrit text from the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabhrarata epic consists of 700 verses of is usually revered and referred to as the Gita. The verses themselves are written in a poetic form that is traditionally chanted in Hindu tradition. The content of the text is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna taking place in the combat zone of Kurukshetra, just prior to the beginning of the Great War. They responding to Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma, Krishna explained to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and Prince and elaborates on different Yogic and Vedantic philosod on the Geet Govind enjoyed quite a long span from the 15th Century to 19th Century.

Veli Krishna Rukmani Ri

Lord Krishna's marriage with Rukmini has been a fascinating subject among the medieval poets and the artists of northern India. Rukmini, the princess of Kundinpur was in love with Krishna, but her brother called Rukma was not in favour of it and invited Shishupala to marry her. On hearing of this Rukmini sent a message to Krishna who rushed to Kundinpur and eloped with her. On their way back they encountered Shishupala and his retinue. A battle took place in which Krishna defeated Shishupala. Many works were composed upon the theme, in different regional dialects and formed the basis of paintings. In Rajasthan, Raja Prithviraj a scion of Bikaner, a poet of great repute and a Navaratna at Emperor Akbar's court, composed Krishna Rukmini Ri Veli in the Dingal dialect prevalent in Rajasthan.

Harivansha

Harivamsha; traditionally ascribed to Krishna Dvaipayan Vyas is an appendix to the Mahabharata, added some time before the 1st century. Divided into three chapters the Harivamsha comprises of 16,374 verses chiefly in Anushtup metre. The first two chapters, Harivamsha Parva and Vishnu Parva, deal with the creation of the Universe, incarnations of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna's life in Gokula, Mathura and Dwarika. The third chapter, Bhavishya Parva, glorifies gods and also discusses Puranic texts.

Prithviraj Raso

Prithviraj Raso, a ballad recounting the life and achievements of Prithviraj (III) Chauhan was composed by Chand Bardai his court poet. Prithviraj Chauhan ruled Ajmer and Delhi between 1165 and 1192. The Prithviraj Raso has become an important source of information on the social and clan structure of the Kshatriya communities of northern India at those times.

Chand Bardai accompanied Prithviraj in all battles. He belonged to the community of poets and writers known as Charans whose traditional occupation was to compose poems and ballads in praise of their patrons, dwelling on historical events. Charans often accompanied armies and encouraged and exhorted the warriors in battle by narrating the great feats of bravery of their illustrious clan forebears.

There are several versions of the Raso, the longest being that of Mewar which comprises over 16000 stanzas. The present texts appear to be post 15th century. The Mewar School of painting illustrating the Prithviraj Raso belongs to the late 17th century.

Malti – Madhva

Malti-Madhva is a romantic social play written by Bhavabhuti who flourished under the patronage of Yashovarman of Kannauj in the 8th century. Bhavabhuti stands only second to Kalidas in Sanskrit dramatic literature. The play presents an excellent social study of the period.

The play is in 10 acts and centres round the love of Malati, daughter of a minister at the court and Madhva the son of another minister. After considerable trials the hero and heroine are united at the end.

The Mewar paintings (late 17th century) are the first of the illustrative versions of the play and employ the then standard practice of superimposing a cut-out of the story in the act of narration over the substance of the narration.

Kadambari

A romantic tale in Sanskrit credited to 7th century poet Banabhatta, who thrived at the court of the Emperor Harsha. The poet imaginatively uses the medium of a parrot with the power of human speech to recount the tale. The romance seeks to transcend the bounds of mortal existence and moves through three incarnations with passionate love finally attaining fulfilment. The fanciful world brings together mortals, animals and semi-divine beings, merging earth and the heavens in a common bond of love defying death through the transmigration of determined souls.

In illustrating the romantic classic the Mewar School of Painting (late 17th century) employs an ingenious method not unlike the latter day illustrations of comic books. A corner of the painting is reserved for the king's court where the parrot recounts its tale from a cage while the substance of the story being narrated is illustrated in the major portion of the canvas. This artifice is repeated from painting to painting as the sequence of the narrative develops.

Ekadashi Mahatmya

Ekadashi fasts are dedicated to Lord Vishnu. According to the legend Lord Vishnu was slumbering in a cave. A demon pursuing him thought this a good opportunity to slay him. Before he could put this into action, a glorious power in the form of a goddess arose from the slumbering god and slayed the impertinent evil force. The goddess is worshipped as Ekadashi, the benign force that emerges each 11th 'Tithi twice in the lunar month, removes obstacles for the devout who fasts according to the given disciplines of the particular Ekadashi. Different Ekadashis bestow a variety of boons from providing a male progeny, to cleansing the mind, washing away sins and ending sorrow.

Ragamala

Ragmala or garland of melodies was a favourite theme of Rajasthani painters, outstandingly imaginative the concept represents synthesis of three disciplines – music, poetry and painting.

In northern Indian trandition, there are six ragas; each having five wives – raginis, thus a set of thirty six is often painted in Rajasthan. Its popularity started in the late 16th and continued upto the 19th century.

The series displayed here was painted, most porbably at Amber during the time of Mirza Raja Jai Singh (1621-1667). All of them have texts at the top, which are illustrated below.

Barahmasa – Twelve Months

Painting the seasons – their changing atmosphere and flora and fauna is an ancient tradition among Indian painters. The six seasons are Sharad (autumn), Hemanta (early winter), Sisir (winter), Vasanta (spring), Grishma (summer) and Varsha (rainy season).

Barahmasa illustrations are a part of this tradition and they are based on the poems in Hindi and Brajbhasha. The Barahmasa written by poet Keshavdas is considered the best and many of the series painted in Rajasthani style are based on Keshava's poems. Later on a number of folk poets also composed Barahmasa which became the basis of painting.

A set of 12 paintings displayed here is in the Jodhpur style from the 19th century. It is based on the text of a folk poet. The paintings show a husband going inside to bid farewell to his wife but she asks him not to leave her alone, while his horse is saddled and needy to go.

PRABODH CHANDRODAYA

The play Prabodh Chandrodaya was written by Krishna Mishra in the 11th century A.D. It seeks to portray the countervailing forces that come to play within the human heart.

The mind is portrayed as a king whose two wives are Pravriti (Passionate involvement with life) and Nivriti (Dispassionate approach to life). Each of the wives has a son. Infatuation and Discretion respectfully. Infatuation's family consists of Lust, Sensuousness, Greed, Violence, Pride etc. the grandchild born of Greed and Desire is Hypocricy. Discretion's family consists of Intelligence, Compassion, Peace, Faith, Wealth, Contentment etc.

In the early stages of life it appears as if Discretion is on the losing side and its partners are scattered but devotion to Vishnu ultimately brings victory. Further, Peace loses its mother Faith and is assaulted by evil forces but here too devotion to Vishnu provides protection. After many conflicts between the opposing forces the 'Moon of Wisdom' dawns. Prabodh Chandrodaya, and through knowledge the entire world gains eqanimity and becomes dispassionate.

In the 17th century A.D. during the reign of Maharana Jai Singh of Mewar, paintings to illustrate the Prabodh Chandrodaya were commissioned.

KALPSUTRA

The Kalpsutra is a Jain text dealing with the life of Mahavira and other pontiffs of the Jain pantheon. It was popular among Jains for presenting as a gift to Jain Shastra Bhandar (library). The Upadeshatarangini mentions that Raja Kumarpal (1143 C. 1174 C.) of Gujarat established 21 Shastra Bhandars and presented each of them a copy of Kalpsutra written in gold letters. Folios displayed here appear to have been prepared sometime in the 16th century.

QUR'AN SHARIF

According to Islamic tradition, in AD 610, God began to reveal, his message to Prophet Muhammad (c. AD 570-632) in the city of Mecca, in present-day Saudi Arabia. The revelations continued for more than twenty years (in both Mecca and Medina), until the death of the Prophet. The Qur'an is considered by Muslims to be a record of the exact words that God spoke to the Prophet. Therefore, to copy the Qur'an is to copy the very words of God. It is an act imbued with sanctity and has led to calligraphy being the most highly esteemed art in Islam, with the calligrapher pre-eminent above all other artists. A number of different styles of script evolved, some of which serve specific functions, while others are peculiar to specific regions or periods of time.

SHAHNAMA

Shahnama – the Book of Kings could be considered to be the most famous work executed in Persian literature. The text was completed by Firduasi in A.D. 1009-10 under the patronage of Mahmud of Ghazni. It speaks of the ancient kings of Persia and was frequently illustrated both in Persia and India.

SUR SAGAR

Sur Sagar is a collection of poems, composed by the eminent medieval poet Surdas. He was a devotee of Krishna and lived in the 16th century, which is known as 'Bhakti period' in the history of Hindi literature.

Surdas was blind but has narrated Krishna's life, especially his childhood acts in detail, his immortal songs became a favourite subject for painters in medeaval Rajasthan.

Maharana Jai Singh of Mewar commissioned a series of paintings based on Sur Sagar in the late 17th century which are preserved in the Govt. Museum, Udaipur, four out of the series on Sur Sagar are on display here.

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REPRESENTATIVE SELECTION

  • Shri Ram,Laxman,Sita

    Shri Ram,Laxman,Sita

    Shri Ram, Lakshman, Sita on river bank, Kishangarh, 18th century.

    Accession Number 3739

  • Nayak and Nayika

    Nayak and Nayika

    Nayak and Nayika sitting on throne, Kishangarh, 18th century.

    Accession Number 2539

  • Four friends bathing on river

    Four friends bathing on river

    Four friends bathing on river side. A horse rider stands in banana grove, Bundi, 18thcentury.

    Accession Number 3725

  • Mahiwal Sohani

    Mahiwal  Sohani

    Mahiwal sitting below the tree. Sohani swimming across to meet him, Bundi, 18thcentury..

    Accession Number 3724

  • Hunting Tiger

    Hunting Tiger

    Maharaja of Kota hunting tiger by river side, Kota, 19thcentury.

    Accession Number 2739

  • Maharaja of Kota hunting tiger

    Maharaja of Kota hunting tiger

    Maharaja of Kota hunting tiger from a boat, Kota, 18thcentury.

    Accession Number 2908

  • Nayika

    Nayika

    Nayika seated, dressed in, Kota18thcentury. 

    Accession Number 2446

  • Raja Jalim Singh

    Raja Jalim Singh

    Raja Jalim Singh sitting with two servants.

    Accession Number 2467

  • Maharaja Ram Singh

    Maharaja Ram Singh

    Maharaja Ram Singh of Kota on horseback watching a dance performance, Kota, 19thcentury.

    Accession Number 6/1958 p-604

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