Mughal Miniature Paintings - The Language of the Colors

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					Mughal Miniature Paintings - The Language of the Colors.

In the remnant chronicles of the past, Mughals stand synonymously with art,
culture, and beauty. The Mughal kings were royal patrons of art and the artists
enjoyed positions of importance in the royal court, with several artists becoming a
part of the inner circle of the King. While Mughal lifestyle saw an amalgamation
of various cultures owing to their matrimonial alliances, which transcended the
cultural boundaries, causing the era of the Mughal rule to emerge as the most
secular times in the Indian history. While Mughal chronicles, buildings, paintings
and music tell several stories about the rich tradition that they created, it is
actually the Mughal Miniature Paintings, which added a new dimension and gave
new direction to Art- in the terms of its perception and precision.

The style of Mughal paintings did not emerge in a vacuum, so to say. The
antique miniature paintings, which have contributed significantly to the
understanding of Indian history, developed in the royal courts of Mughal
emperors between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries, with colossal
contribution from Hindu, Buddhist, Persian, and Jain traditions. Mughal
miniatures, fall under the umbrella term of Indian miniature paintings, and are a
part of an exquisite tradition, which depends upon the precision of a needle and
the transcendental vision of the world around.

While the tradition of Indian miniatures marked the country, it was during the era
of the Mughals that the miniatures emerged as an important part of the
documentation of cultural history of the times. While the other schools of Indian
Miniature paintings have found themselves los in the milieu of civilizations and
time, Mughal miniature paintings have found themselves admired by the
demagogue and the scholars alike, owing to their intricate designs and exquisite
detailing, which are not merely beautiful paintings, but most sincere story-tellers
of the times that were past.

Mughal miniature paintings survive as book illustrations, single sheets preserved
in albums, ivory and wood inscriptions and clothe paintings. However, to say that
they art form flourished through the Mughal regime would be to overlook the
contribution of several rulers to the art form and the opposition that it faced from
the other kings. Historians have classified the period of the development of the
art form into four major eras, which are as follows:

   •   The Akbar Period
   •   The Jahangir Period
   •   The Shah Jahan Period
   •   The Aurangzeb Period

The Mughal paintings bore the marks of Persian and Indian techniques, as told
earlier, which allowed them to surpass the barriers of cultural differences and
emerge as a more comprehensive description of the contemporary times. The
Mughal miniature paintings, initially, based themselves on the abstract and
formal styles of Persian times. However, after the victory of Mughals over the
Delhi Sultanate of the Lodis in 1526 at the battle of Panipat, the miniature
paintings, as an art form saw the abstraction in the paintings disappear, to make
way for a more realistic style of portraiture, with depiction of plants, animals,
battle scenes, hunting scenes and harems, which narrated a more detailed story
of the times that were.