Miniature Painting – Pahari
The illustrative Pahari painting (literally translating to ‘a painting from the mountainous area’; pahar is ‘mountain’ in Hindi) is a wider term used to denote a form of Indian paintings, fashioned mostly in miniature shapes. These paintings originated from the Himalayan hill territories of North India, during the 17th-19th century, notably Basohli, Mankot, Nurpur, Chamba, Kangra, Guler, Mandi, and Garhwal; all erstwhile princely states.
“Pahari paintings of India can be separated into two distinctive types based on their geographical range. These are the Basohli and Kulu Style (which are swayed by chaurapanchasika style) and the Guler and Kangra Style (which are based on cooler colors and are sophisticated).”
Pahari paintings have been extensively predisposed to the Rajput paintings because of the family associations of the Pahari Rajas with the royal courts in Rajasthan. With the appearance of the Bhakti movement, new subject matters for Indian Pahari paintings came into observance. For instance, the Shaiva-Shakta motifs were enhanced by vernacular poetry and folk songs of Lord Krishna and Lord Rama.
The process followed by the Pahari artists is almost uniform and indigenous. Handmade paper is used as the canvas and thin sheets of paper are joined together to get the required thickness on which the outline is drawn in a light reddish brown or grey-black colour. A thin transparent white coating is applied to the paper, after which the final drawing is made, and the colours filled in. The pigments are obtained from minerals and vegetables, while squirrel, and camel hair is used in the brushes.