Hadoti School of Paintings -The Treasure of Rajput paintings

Hadoti is also known as Hadauti or Hadavati. It is a region of Rajasthan state in western India and the country of Hada Rajputs, comprises the territories of two states, Bundi and Kota. It includes the districts of Bundi, Baran, Jhalawar and Kota. The Bundi, Kota, Jhalawar and other styles of the local thikanas can be called the Hadoti style. The royal palace of Kota is famous for its wall paintings, which has scenes from the legend ofLord Krishna. Different facets of Lord Krishna's life have been depicted in the art and cultural heritage of the entire Hadoti region in Rajasthan. The Hada Rajput rulers of Bundi and their collateral branch at Kota were enlightened patrons of art. The Bundi or Hadoti School of paintings began under Rao Chattar Shal (1631-1659 AD), who was made governor of Delhi by Shah Jahan.

The role and influence of the rulers of the Chauhan dynasty were confined to the regions of Bundi, Kota and Jhalawar. Hence this area has been termed the Hadoti region. This area was a treasury of art. The oldest specimens of prehistoric rock paintings in Rajasthan are in the caves on the banks of the ChambaI river near Kota. Its temple architecture and iconography were famous from ancient times. Many artistic temples located at Kansua, Badoli and Ramgarh testify to this fact. The Hadoti paintings are often regarded as one of the highest quality of paintings in the Rajput style.

Bundi Style Paintings

Bundi is a small town with rustic setting that stands on the foothills of the Aravali Mountains. Bundi is very famous for its mansions (havelis), temples and chhatris with carved pillars, which is located in the South East region of the Indian state Rajasthan. Bundi is renowned for its scenic beauty and the natural beauty of this place comprising mountains covered with luxuriant vegetation, lakes, streams and dense forests greatly influenced artists. It is one of the few places in India, which can lay its claim to an authentic School of Paintings. The Bundi School is an important school of the Rajasthani style of Indian miniature paintings.

The Bundi School came into existence during the early 17th century; an early influence was the popular Mughal Style of a Ragamala series painted at Chunar near Banaras in 1591. An example of the early Chunar series, Bhairon Ragini, is housed in the Allahabad Museum and there are examples in other collections also.

Originally mistaken as a Bundi series, it is in fact a popular Mughal series which influenced the early Bundi School for the Chunar series had come into the possession of a family of Bundi Kota artists sometimes about 1625-1630 and was used as a model for painting scroll in Bundi and its sister state Kota. It was the influence of the Chunar series that brought into existence the Bundi School. The Bundi School was also influenced by the Deccani paintings to some extent. The Bundi artists had their own standard in depicting feminine beauty; women are portrayed with small round faces, receding foreheads, prominent noses and full cheeks, while the female dress usually consists of a Pyjama over which a transparent Jama is worn. Another feature of the Bundi School is lush landscapes painted in vibrant colors and massed with a variety of forms of trees and floral creepers, water ponds with lotus flowers in the foreground, fish and birds. Sometimes a yellow band appears on top of the painting with a text in Nagiri characters.

The style of painting that flourished when Bundi was ruled by Hada Rajputs is broadly known as the Bundi style. The Bundi School had a close association with the Mughal style yet it was never fundamental to the evolution and growth of Bundi paintings, however the delicacy of the Mughal style was also not abandoned. Bundi's greatest achievement lies in its distinctive school of art, which together with other styles of Rajasthani paintings has played an important role in the development of Indian art. The decoration of dwellings and other household objects was one aspect of the creative genius of the Rajasthani people, but the world of miniature paintings is perhaps the most fascinating style that has existed here and is famous over the world. Bundi style paintings emphasized on hunting, court scenes, festivals, processions, life of nobles, lovers, animals, birds and scenes from Lord Krishna's life.

In the early Bundi style the shape of the limbs of nayak-nayika and the arrangement of colors resemble those of the Mewar School. Paintings of the 17th century were greatly influenced by the southern style in representing female faces, foliage of trees, starry skies. In the Bundi style tall human figures with slim and graceful bodies are striking qualities. Women have deep red lips, small noses, round faces and small chins.

Kota style paintings

Kota is a city in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan. It is located along eastern bank of the Chambal River in the southern part of Rajasthan. Kota in the southern Rajasthan was separated from Bundi in 1624. The Kota School is so close to the Bundi School that at times it is difficult to assert whether a painting is of the Bundi or the Kota style.

Though a distinctive Kota Style evolved in mid 17th century, similarities between Bundi and Kota painting continued in many respects with discernible variations in details, costumes and methods of shading the faces. The Kota hunting scenes, depicting princes and nobles with their retinue engaged in hunting lions and tigers in the rocky and somewhat sparsely wooded forests of that region, are now world famous.

The Kota style is considered a sub branch of Bundi style. The Kota style paintings, some of which are drawn on the walls of Kota's palaces, depict nature in all her glory. The Kota artists also drew attractive hunting scenes and beautiful women. These paintings look very natural in their appearance.

During the reign of Jagat Singh (1658-1684) portraitures were made that employed vibrant colors and bold lines. Under the reign of Arjun Singh (1720-1723), a style emerged where a male was depicted with a long hooked nose. In the 18th century, Kota became popular for its outstanding hunting scenes, Ragamalas and portraits. In the 19th century during the reign of Ram Singh II (1827-1866), the Kota paintings underwent revival. He commissioned a number of paintings depicting scenes of worship, hunting, durbar and processions scenes. The Kota style has some characteristics of the Bundi style, but also its own distinct features. Stout bodies, shining faces, bulging eyes are special features of the Kota style. Application of green, red and golden colors in Kota style painting is very pleasing to see. Animals painted in this style include deer, tiger, lion and pig. Kota style paintings, some of which are drawn on the walls of Kota's palaces, depict nature in all her glory. The Kota painters also drew hunting scenes and beautiful women.All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India.

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POSTED BY:Manglesh Dashora

26 January 2010


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