Kangra Paintings on Love

Kangra Paintings on Love PDF By M S Randhawa

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Kangra Paintings on Love
AuthorM S Randhawa
File nameKangra Paintings on Love PDF
PDF Size30.8 MB
No.of Pages196

Excerpt From The Book

In July 1958,1 suggested to Mr Humayun Kabir, Union Minister for Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs, that the National Museum should bring out a series of monographs on Indian painting, in which the master works of Indian painters may be published for the education, enlightenment and pleasure of art lovers.

It was also felt that a publication programme of this nature would provide an opportunity for publishing the best paintings in the collection of the National Museum. I proposed that the study of the Kangra paintings under this series be entrusted to me.

This suggestion was accepted by Mr Kabir, and accordingly a programme of publication was drawn up in consultation with Dr K. N. Puri, Assistant Director, National Museum, and Mr C. Sivaramamurti, Keeper, National Museum. I agreed to deal with Kangra painting in five monographs so as to cover the best paintings of the Kangra School.

The first monograph, Kangra Paintings of the Bhagavata Purana, has just been published, and the present monograph on the Srihgara
paintings is the second in the series.

The term ‘Kangra Paintings’ which has been adopted as the title of this book has been used in the broader sense. It refers not only to the art of painting which developed in the Kangra Valley at Guler, and Nurpur and Tira-Sujanpur, and Alampur and Nadaun the places connected with Maharaja Sansar Chand but also includes paintings done in similar style in Garhwal, Chamba, Jammu, Mandi, Suket, Bilaspur, Baghal and other Hill States in the Western

No doubtthe paintings from all these States have certain individual characteristics, but they have the same spirit, which gives a particular character and flavour to Kangra art and distinguishes it from its Mughal predecessor.

Moreover, if the choice of paintings had been confined to the paintings from the States of Kangra and Guler only, which constitute the Kangra style strictu sensu, it would not have been possible to illustrate the various situations described
in the Rasikapriya.

In this book, I have given major findings of recent research on Kangra paintings, which are generally accepted by scholars who are interested in this subject. No doubt, there are differences of opinion on details, but these, I felt, are so insignificant that they are best left alone. Otherwise, the book would have acquired a controversial air, which is best avoided in a work of art, particularly in this one, which deals with the theme of love.

This book mainly deals with the Rasikapriya of Keshav Das, though there is a reference to the works of some other Hindi poets and rhetoricians also. It is for the first time that a free translation of the text of the Rasikapriya has been provided.

What impresses one is the manner and thoroughness with which the Hindi poets have analysed the feelings of woman towards man in particular situations and circumstances.

What intimate knowledge of the passions of the body and soul is revealed in this analysis ? It still holds good even in the modern world with changed environment,and most women, even of the present age, fall in one category or the other of the Nayikas described by Keshav Das. Mixed with an intellectual urge for analysis and codification was a preference for enumeration.

This was perhaps very necessary in an age when printing presses were not known, and reliance was largely on memory for recital of poetry. The Rasikapriya was written for the enjoyment of princes and the aristocracy in the late 16th century.

As the writers were men; naturally they made woman the subject of their study and paid much less attention to their own sex. Possibly woman is also much more interesting than man, and it is her study and inspiration, which is the source of most of the literatures of the world.

In the 18th century, the text of the Rasikapriya was selected by artists for purposes of illustration for the delectation of their royal patrons, the Rajas of the Hill States of the Punjab.

For the enjoyment of a work of art, it is necessary not only to know the name of the artist who produced it, but also what the people were like, for whom it was created, and what their feelings, mode of thought and way of looking at the world were.

This art blossomed under the inspiration of Vaishnavism which was the religion of the Hindus, and thus we find that Kangra painting is not a sudden development, but is the culmination of a spiritual and literary revival.

It was a puritanical society with a strict moral code, particularly in regard to sex, and women were kept in seclusion by the practice of purdah. The inference drawn that this art, the central theme of which is love, developed under such conditions as an escape cannot be regarded as far fetched.

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