What is Rajasthani Art?
Art has been an integral part of India’s culture since ancient times, with many states and regions having their distinct art forms and schools of discipline. So when it comes to showcasing grandeur and vividity in art, how can Rajasthan stay behind? Rajasthan, the land of royal kings is also a land rich in culture and art, which has given us the most beautiful souvenirs of Classical Indian Art in the form of Rajasthani Paintings.
Rajasthani folk paintings take you on a complete ride through the cultural heritage of Rajasthan, one of the most vibrant and fascinating regions of India. They are admired worldwide for their bold lines, bright colors, fine detailings and brush strokes that drive the attention of the viewers and leave them awestruck by the beauty of their appearance.
Rajasthani Art is a distinct form of art wherein the paintings were produced on paper, canvas and also as wall and ceiling art, extending to miniature carvings and stone carvings on old monuments and buildings. They depicted the stories from ancient and Royal times of Rajasthan, and adorned the Rajputana households of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Rajputana paintings, or Rajasthani paintings started to develop and become famous in the medieval period and reached their pinnacle during the Mughal rule between 15th-17th century. The most common themes of these paintings were Hindu religious epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the story of Radha and Lord Krishna. The figures are mostly shown wearing traditional Rajasthani attires and the landscapes depict desserts and glimpse of the land of Rajasthan.
Variations in Beautiful Rajasthani Paintings
Rajasthani paintings originated from different styles and each of them have their own unique outlook. These include:
- Pichwai paintings
Pichwai paintings originated in the 17th century in Nathdwara, in the Udaipur region of Rajasthan. They were placed at the back of Lord Krishna's idols in the temples and depicted the stories of Krishna’s life. They are considered one of the most beautiful art pieces in the cultural history of our nation.
- Miniature paintings
A famous style of art form Bikaner, miniature paintings were done on tiny canvases during the 16th–17th century and consisted of religious themes and other cultural backdrops which were typically painted using organically produced colors with thin brushes to make fine details.
- Phad paintings
Toutes as one of the most Beautiful Rajasthani Paintings, the great Phad paintings of Bhilwara, in Shahpur is a type of scroll painting. It was a folk painting style where fifteen to thirty feet long pieces of the canvas were combined to form a single big scroll on which the pictures were painted by hand. This vast canvas is known as phad and was most commonly found in the Kings’ courts.
- Nakashi paintings
Nakashi art or Usta Gesso painting is an intricate art form which uses motifs like floral, bird and animal figures. It was introduced by the Mughals and traditional samples of these paintings are found on the walls, pillars and ceilings of Bikaner’s Junagarh Fort and Anup Mahal.
- Bhitti Chitra Kala
This was a type of wall painting from the Bikaner region of Rajasthan, which depicted religious themes that were once practiced by the ancient people. This art was usually made on the walls of houses and temples with different colours like Neel(blue); geru( brown), jahri black, safed(white). They were made waterproof by cooking the colours in tisi oil.
- Dabu paintings
Originating from Pali and Jodhpur district of Rajasthan,“Dabu” is a mud resist printing done by using woodblock to carve different pictures and stories and these are dipped in colour to produce the patches that are made to complete the painting.
Rajasthani Art carries unique features of being originally made of non-synthetic natural colours extracted from plant parts, minerals, valuable stones and shavings of gold and silver. They are quite valuable for their aesthetic nature and the depiction of Royalty in each frame making them a desirable choice for home decor. What’s your favourite Rajasthani painting style?