Volume 61 Number 4, June 2010

Lahore: Paintings, Murals, and Calligraphy

Edited by: Barbara Schmitz
Binding: Hardcover
Specifications: 172 pages, 151 illustrations
ISBN: 978-82-85026-97-8
Dimensions: 305 x 241 mm

Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab Province, is today a large sprawling city of almost eight million people that serves as Pakistan’s centre for education and the arts. In its past the city has had two major periods of glory – during the reigns of the Great Mughals and during the rule of Ranjit Singh and his two sons with the century separating the two a virtual terra incognito. Under British rule there were new influences on art subjects and materials from Europe, and with Partition, a vibrant new modern painting was born in the city. This book presents new research on painting and calligraphy produced in Lahore, written by scholars who live in the city today.

Barbara Schmitz has a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She was a Pakistan Higher Education Commission (HEC) Scholar at the Department of Fine Art, Lahore College for Women University (2007-09) and Research Associate, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi (1995-2006). She received a Getty Foundation Award for a catalogue of illustrated manuscripts in the Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna, and two Fulbright Foundation awards. She has written several books, exhibition catalogues, articles, and was co-author with Ziyaud-Din Desai of Mughal and Persian Paintings and Illustrated Manuscripts in the Raza Library, Rampur (2006). She edited After the Great Mughals: Paintings in Delhi and the Regional Courts in the 18th and 19th Centuries for Marg (2002).

Barbara Schmitz

Islamic Calligraphy in Lahore
Anjum Rehmani

Frescoes in the Seh-Dara at Lahore Fort
Kanwal Khalid

Frescoes in Ranjit Singh’s Samadhi
Nadhra Shahbaz Naeem

Muhammad Bakhsh Sahhaf and the Illustrated Book in Ranjit Singh’s Lahore
Barbara Schmitz

Ivory Paintings in the Collection of the Lahore Museum
Humera Alam

Coronation Darbar 1911: Drawings by Bhai Ram Singh
Sajida Vandal and Pervaiz Vandal

Contemporary Miniature Painting in Lahore
Rukhsana David

Shemza - The Lahori Artist who Juggled Symbols
Ayesha Siddiqui

Word as Image: Calligraph-Art in Pakistan
M. Athar Tahir

The Art of Political Cartoons in Pakistan
Shaukat Mahmood


Schmitz, Barbara
Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010; ISBN: 978-81-85026-97-8, pp. 8-29

Lahore plays the role of cultural creator, nurturer, and dispenser of the surrounding region. Throughout its history it has performed the dual role of political seat and artistic nerve centre. Barbara Schmitz provides an indepth look at the development of Lahore using specific people and periods of time to constantly change its placement in the consciousness of Pakistan and South Asia.

Islamic Calligraphy in Lahore
Rehmani, Anjum
Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010; ISBN: 978-81-85026-97-8, pp. 30-57

This article assesses the origin and development of Islamic Calligraphy in Lahore, which has always been one of the greatest centres of Islamic calligraphy in the subcontinent. The author explores trends in calligraphy through Lahore's history. It provides information on calligraphic styles, mediums, monuments, patrons, and practitioners.

Frescoes in the Seh-Dara at Lahore Fort
Khalid, Kanwal
Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010; ISBN: 978-81-85026-97-8, pp. 58-71

Located at the northern end of Lahore fort is a large courtyard - surrounded by buildings - called Jahangir's Quadrangle. It was once flanked by two smaller pavilions called Seh-Dara (three doored). While the one on the west is destroyed, only the foundations can be seen, the other is still intact. The interior of the central room has traces of fresco paintings with Christian subject matter following European prototypes that are not seen on any other existing Mughal building. This paper examines the building and the frescoes together in order to ascertain whether the building and its frescoes are of the same date, and if the construction of the Seh-Dara provides information on the programme of decoration. The author offers new descriptions and reviews evidence on the identification of the frescoes and their placement in the Seh-Dara.

Frescoes in Ranjit Singh's Samadhi
Naeem, Nadhra Shahbaz
Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010; ISBN: 978-81-85026-97-8, pp. 72-85

Maharaja Ranjit Singh's samadhi in Lahore is one of the very few dateable buildings belonging to the Sikh period. The frescoes in the interior on two levels are excellent examples of Sikh painting. The author explores the paintings at both levels within the frame work of its constructional history. While the Sikh style never got the chance to progress under the British, the samadhi, finished with their support, is an everlasting example of Sikh art.

Muhammad Bakhsh Sahhaf and the Illustrated Book in Ranjit Singh's Lahore
Schmitz, Barbara
Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010; ISBN: 978-81-85026-97-8, pp. 86-103

Muhammad Bakhsh Sahhaf ran a successful handwritten book business in 19th-century Lahore. This article gives an insight into both the business as well as Muhammad Baksh Sahhaf himself. The workshop included several calligraphers and contracted illustrators. Muhammad Bakhsh himself was a bookbinder and illustrator besides his administrator role as proprietor.

Ivory Paintings in the Collection of the Lahore Museum
Alam, Humera and Usmani, Uzma
Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010; ISBN: 978-81-85026-97-8, pp. 104-117

The Lahore Museum has, in its reserves, a collection of 98 paintings on ivory. Comprising paintings of various sizes and provenance. The authors create an interesting historical framework for ivory painting in general and also of the history of select pieces in the collection - painstakingly researched in the museum's records. The article also includes an interesting insight into the production of ivory paintings based on the description of one of Lahore's living masters.

Coronation Darbar 1911: Drawings by Bhai Ram Singh
Vandal, Sajida and Pervaiz
Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010; ISBN: 978-81-85026-97-8, pp. 118-129

Bhai Ram Singh was an early student of John Lockwood Kipling's Mayo School of Art in Lahore. Under Kipling he learned how to draw monuments in India as architectural drawings. His designs became known for successfully incorporating traditional Indian design motifs into the British utilitarian architectural needs. This is very obvious in the drawings that he made for the Coronation Darbar of 1911. The authors analyse a selection of these drawings to gain an understanding of his style.

Contemporary "Miniature" Painting in Lahore
David, Rukshana
Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010; ISBN: 978-81-85026-97-8, pp. 130-139

The revival of traditional miniature painting in Lahore evolved in the mid-'80s, developing steadily into an artistic exploration that was no longer a continuity of mere replication but a daring juxtaposition of traditional imagery with contemporary concepts. For many, the use of electronic and video art supported by computer technology created a new momentum in art-making. Others reworked traditional modes with new themes and experimentation. Glimpses of Pop Art, Op Art, Minimalism, and other postmodern tendencies increasingly surfaced in the works of the new "miniaturists". Familiarity with the techniques of traditional miniature and modern Western art idioms enabled them to fit the two together. Although many artists still work technically in the area of tradition, they challenge heroic themes of the past in order to draw on global concerns of poverty, war, and the hegemony of superpowers or address local and cultural issues that highlight women or society.

Shemza - The Lahori Artist who Juggled Symbols
Siddiqui, Ayesha
Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010; ISBN: 978-81-85026-97-8, pp. 140-151

The partition in 1947 left individuals with truncated roots and severed identities. During this difficult time, like always, Lahore with her diverse culture and art friendly environment hosted and nurtured a new generation of young artists for whom the perception of life had changed forever, their first identity had now become their religion, the second was the adopted land to which they clung with great vigour as losing it again meant irreparable loss. This article traces the symbolism in the works of one such artist, Anwar Jalal Shemza, who in an effort to re-establish, redefine, and relocate his new identity blended modern art practice with Eastern sensibility to create a symbolic visual expression that transcends time and space. It not only had its roots in the Islamic tradition of inanimate visual symbols that could sacredly veil and unveil memories, entrenched in the human mind, but also had its share of icons extracted from the Lahori setting.

Word as Image: Calligraph-Art in Pakistan
Tahir, M. Athar
Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010; ISBN: 978-81-85026-97-8, pp. 152-161

In the visual arts the blanket term "calligraphy", for any kind of writing, continued to be used indiscriminately. An assessment of the contemporary art scene led to the recognition that a distinct genre emerged in the middle of the 20th century. Not restricted to Pakistan, it was practised almost simultaneously in the lands where Arabic and Arabic-based scripts like Farsi, Urdu, Javi, and others were written. Diverse influences in the Muslim world prompted artists and calligraphers to explore the potential of the written word in unprecedented ways, they interpreted, and continue to interpret text in visually creative contexts. The phenomenon is now called "calligraph-art". This article charts the evolution of Calligraph-art, contributory elements, its characteristics and its three interlinked and often overlapping subdivisions: the Decorative, the Illustrative, and the Symbolic. These aspects are examined within the context of Pakistan and the work of some leading calligraph-artists.

The Art of Political Cartoons in Pakistan
Mahmood, Shaukat
Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010; ISBN: 978-81-85026-97-8, pp. 162-169

The art of political cartooning in Pakistan has had a unique history due to the country's political and social peculiarities. The author, a respected cartoonist himself, narrates the history of cartooning in Pakistan along with an analysis of the skill of important cartoonists in the country.