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Volume 53 Number 4, June 2002

Volume 53 Number 4

Later Mughal Painting

Editorial

Mughal Painting during the Reign of Muhammad Shah
Terence McInerney

Towards a New Naturalism: Portraiture in Murshidabad and Avadh 1750–80
J.P. Losty

Important Illustrated Manuscripts in the National Museum, New Delhi
Barbara Schmitz and Nasim Akhtar

An Album with Miniatures by the Persian Safavid Painter Sultan Muhammad
Ziyaud-Din A. Desai

The Unique Wood-Carved Muslim Havelis of Patan
V.S. Parmar

Photo Essay: My Sangeet Yatra
Avinash Pasricha

Newsletters

Book Reviews

Book Notices

Editorial
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 10-11

Pratapaditya Pal announces the launch of Marg's website and marks the passing of artist F.N. Souza and epigraphist Z.A. Desai.

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Mughal Painting during the Reign of Muhammad Shah
McInerney, Terence
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 12-33 [Also in After the Great Mughals: Paintings in Delhi and the Regional Courts in the 18th and 19th Centuries edited by Barbara Schmitz; Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002; ISBN: 81-85026-56-4, pp. 12-33]

In terms of quality, visual interest, and historical influence, Muhammad Shah-period painting (1719-48) matches the standard achieved by Mughal painting during its earlier Golden Age. This article introduces 15 paintings and miniatures from the San Diego Museum of Art, Bodleian Library (Oxford), National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Victoria and Albert Museum and The British Library (London), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Indian Museum (Calcutta), and Fondation Custodia (Paris), and a private collection. The artists represented are Chitarman (Kalyan Das), Govardhan, Hashim, Nidha Mal, Bhupal Singh, and Hunhar.

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Towards a New Naturalism: Portraiture in Murshidabad and Avadh 1750-80
Losty, Jeremiah P.
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 34-55 [Also in After the Great Mughals: Paintings in Delhi and the Regional Courts in the 18th and 19th Centuries edited by Barbara Schmitz; Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002; ISBN: 81-85026-56-4, pp. 34-55]

Mughal painting of the mid-18th century had largely abandoned the European-inspired naturalism which had characterized the finest Mughal work of the 17th century. Figures are stiffly disposed within schematic spatial frameworks viewed from on high. Progressive Mughal artists in the eastern provinces, free from the straitjacket of the imperial court, again made use of the latest trends in European painting to help them to impart volume to their figures and spatial depth to their compositions, and to unite disparate pictorial viewpoints. These developments began in the Murshidabad court studio in the 1750s and then spread westwards to Patna and Avadh before 1770, and are exemplified in particular by the work of the masters Dip Chand, Mihr Chand, and Mir Kalan Khan.

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Important Illustrated Manuscripts in the National Museum, New Delhi
Schmitz, Barbara and Akhtar, Nasim
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 56-73 [Also in After the Great Mughals: Paintings in Delhi and the Regional Courts in the 18th and 19th Centuries edited by Barbara Schmitz; Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002; ISBN: 81-85026-56-4, pp. 56-73]

The National Museum since its inception has acquired about 15000 manuscripts, covering a number of subjects. The collection starts from the 7th century CE. It is an incomplete manuscript of “Holy Quran”, scribed on Parchment. There are thousands of manuscripts on a variety of subjects from the 7th to 19th century CE. The earliest illustrated manuscript named “Pancharaksha” belongs to the 11th century CE. It deals with Buddhist philosophy. Mughal rule in India was a unique period of illustrations. Artists received royal patronage, and produced a number of illustrated manuscripts in the royal court.

During the 18th and 19th century, even though the standard of illustrations was not such as it was during the period of great Mughals, they produced a number of great illustrated manuscripts, such as the “Khawarnama”, “Tuzuk-i-Asafiya”, Razmnama, Shahnama, Sursagar etc. These manuscripts are very important for the study of the illustration work, during 18th and 19th century. The Khawarnama supplies information about the wages paid to the painters, calligraphers and other persons.

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An Album with Miniatures by the Persian Safavid Painter Sultan Muhammad
Desai, Z.A.
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 74-81

The article traces the history of a priceless manuscript in the collection of the National Museum, New Delhi. Usually but inappropriately called the Bayad of Hamida Banu Begum, mother of the Mughal emperor Akbar, since it bears her seal, the superbly produced album contains 52 folios of nastaliq specimens by the reputed Mulla Mir Ali, and six fine miniatures by Sultan Muhammad. The album provides much needed material for an indepth study of this Safavid master painter. The author concludes that it once belonged to Sultan Shah Tamasp of Iran.

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The Unique Wood-Carved Muslim Havelis of Patan
Parmar, V.S.
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 82-89

Anahillapattana in north Gujarat, where medieval Gujarati culture arose, was regularly visited by traders from West Asia. Now called Patan, the town still has numerous distinct communities including the Sodagars, Vohras, Momins, Khojas, and the Lohanas, whose havelis in their house-plans and usage of space retain traces of their Hindu origin, including a symbolic gokhala resembling a temple. The organization of space reflects social custom, such as the segregation of women, and the Muslim emphasis on greater decoration of the interior of the house. Decorative features are mixed Islamic and local wood carving with heavily detailed ornamentation. The visual impact of so much concentrated decor is an extraordinary experience.

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Photo Essay: My Sangeet Yatra
Pasricha, Avinash
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 90-95

Avinash Pasricha’s photographic Sangeet Yatra began at the Vishnu Digambar Jayanti festival in Delhi in 1966. Since those early days of Kodak Tri-X fast film, he has spent over 36 years building up a historic collection of pictures of performing artists – musicians and dancers – in concert. This feature includes memorable shots of Pandit Vinayak Rao Patwardhan, Siddheshwari Devi, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Bhimsen Joshi, S. Balchander, as well as a prize winning portrait of an anonymous tanpura player.

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Newsletter from New Delhi
Singh, Kavita
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 96-99

Kavita Singh notes the "arrival" of new media on Delhi's art scene, reviews Nalini Malani's show and a performance by Jayachandran Palazhy and Christian Ziegler.

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Newsletter from Mumbai
Ahmed, Monisha
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 100-102

In Mumbai, Monisha Ahmed reviews Vivan Sundaram's A re-take of Amrita, a series of photomontages based on Umrao Singh Sher-Gil's photographs.

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Newsletter from the USA
Safrani, Shehbaz H.
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 103-106

Shehbaz H. Safrani reports from New York on an exhibition of Islamic metalwork from India at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one on contemporary Indian art in New Jersey, a Ravinder Reddy sculpture on display in Washington, and the expanded Jhamandas Watumull Gallery of Indian Art in Honolulu.

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Book Review: Pearls of the Parrot of India by John Seyller and Essays on Buddhist Hindu Jain Iconography & Epigraphy by Gouriswar Bhattacharya
Das, Asok Kumar
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 107-109

Asok Kumar Das reviews Pearls of the Parrot of India: The Walters Art Museum Khamsa of Amir Khusraw of Delhi by John Seyller and Essays on Buddhist Hindu Jain Iconography & Epigraphy by Gouriswar Bhattacharya, edited by Enamul Haque

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Book Notices
Vol. 53 No. 4, June 2002, pp. 110-111

Book notices on A Heritage Guide to Kerala by Heta Pandit; Mughal Architecture by Ebba Koch

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