PAHARI ART

    

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Bhamlada, Punjab -145 022, India
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ISBN No. 978-93-81200-03-2

 

Pictures that tell stories

The illustrative aspects of pahari schools of art has impressed me greatly ever since I was introduced to these schools of art in my childhood.
Spread out on a miniature format, each picture tells a story. Often the one single picture incorporates different scenes of the story on the same format.
So, it is not strange to find different events of a story painted in a correlated way in the same environment on one single sheet of paper.
This reminds me of the comic srtips that we see in modern times. The artists of pahari schools of art, naturally laid great emphasis on the story that their art works were depicting.
Imagine a world without television or cinemas, magazines or internet.
It was a world where storytelling was a major form of entertainment and a way to pass the leisure time.
Mythological tales as well as tales of valour and love received their due attention and were passed on from generation to generation.
In this world where storytelling was an important vocal medium of instruction, Pahari schools of art provided illustrative images to societies closed up by nature and social restrictions.
Tales steeped in tradition, with lingering morals and philosophy from the past, were retold through these miniature paintings of Pahari schools of art, filled in painstakingly and lovingly with immense amount of details in decorative mode.
Sometimes entire sets of paintings were made on a single tale in a step by step manner.
These interconnected illustrations are delightful pictorial "story books" created with great care undoubtedly for some demanding patron.
The accuracy of the illustrations prove the knowledge of the artists about the classical and folk lore they depicted. Perhaps they took the help of "pandits" or scholars when interpreting the classical tales.
A discerning patron was expected to understand the story told through the miniature paintings and enjoy the illustrative aspect of the picture.
Instead of propagating crude violence of modern comics in this materialistic society, the stories told through Pahari schools of art were often filled with subtle and ancient wisdom.
I think that every form of art suffers and loses much of the impact when over commercialized and this applies to Pahari schools of art too. Today the subtle philosophy and the propagation of ancient wisdom is of little value but the commercial aspect is taken as the evaluating factor in this traditional form of art.
In the world of art, the purpose for the creative exercise is a vital factor and this purpose determines the relevance of the art form.
As storytelling was one of the main purposes of Pahari paintings, the aesthetic appreciation of Pahari paintings should be made in this context too.
Even a modern viewer would find these paintings much more meaningful and interesting if he or she can comprehend the tales these pictures tell.

Prabal Pramanik
(from the published book "My views on Pahari paintings")
ISBN No. 978-93-81200-03-2

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Prabal Pramanik

 

   
    


The articles presented here are from the published book "My views on Pahari paintings" by Prabal Pramanik published by M/s Orient Book Company. These articles are original. These articles are not compilations made from other articles and no chapter or portion of these articles have been taken from any other published work.
These articles are from my own published work, with ISBN number, and these are copyright reserved.
Anyone found to print or publish or use in any form in the internet or in print media these articles or portions from these articles without the prior written permission of the author and publisher will be liable to pay damages to the author and publisher.
The pictures displayed here are by artists who have passed away more than fifty years ago. According to international copyright act, art works and written matter become public domain, fifty years after the death of the artist and the writer.
This website has been created for the benefit of art lovers and for those who want to appreciate Pahari art paintings
.

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