THE WESTERN INDIAN SCHOOL (12th – 16th centuries).

he Western Indian style of painting prevailed in the region comprising Gujarat, Rajasthan and Malwa. The motivating force for the artistic activity in Western India was Jainism just as it was Buddhism in case of the Ajanta and the Pala arts. Jainism was patronised by the Kings of the Chalukya Dynasty who ruled Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan and Malwa from 961 A.D. to the end of the 13th century. An enormous number of Jain religious manuscripts were commissioned from 12th to 16th centuries by the princes, their ministers and the rich Jain merchants for earning religious merit. Many such manuscripts are available in the Jain libraries (bhandaras) which are found at many places in Western India.

The illustrations on these manuscripts are in a style of vigorous distortion. One finds in this style an exaggeration of certain physical traits, eyes, breasts and hips are enlarged. Figures are flat with angularity of features and the further eye protruding into space. This is an art of primitive vitality vigorous line and forceful colours. From about 1100 to 1400 A.D., palm-leaf was used for the manuscripts and later on paper was introduced for the purpose. TheKalpasutra and the Kalakacharya-Katha, the two very popular Jain texts were repeatedly written and illustrated with paintings. Some notable examples are the manuscripts of the Kalpasutra in the Devasano pado Bhandar at Ahmedabad, the Kalpasutra and Kalakacharya-Katha of about 1400 A.D. in the Prince of Wales Museum. Bombay and the Kalpasutra dated 1439 A.D. executed in Mandu, now in the National Museum, New Delhi and the Kalpasutrawritten and painted in Jaunpur in 1465 A.D.

Source: CCRT

Malwa painting, Rajasthan School of painting

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