Different schools of art compared

Table 1

Mughal Pahari Rajasthani/Rajput Madhubani/Mithila Manjusha/Angika Tanjore
Origin Earlier Persian blend. Became Indian under Akbar. Originated in the sub-Himalayan kingdoms of 19th century. Early 16th century. Various sub-schools existed Done traditionally by the women in the villages near the town of Madhubani. It originated as floor and wall paintings.


Essentially a folk tradition

17th century under the patronage of Tanjore’s Maratha rulers
Type Mostly in miniature form Mostly done in miniature form
Themes Document of life at the Mughal court, battles, hunt, arrival of embassies, festivities


Portrait paintings developed under Jahangir

Love of man for woman. Symbolised by Krishna and Radha Strongly influenced by the contemporary literary and musical forms, and draw upon their motifs


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Nature and Hindu religious motifs Usually portrayed deities. Vishnu,Shiva and Krishna
Exceptional Point Was originally practiced by Brahmins and Kayasthas. Later SC women also adopted it. But the themes of the two are different. While higher castes depicted mythological themes, SCs experimented with day-to-day scenes.
Characteristics Realism is the keynote of this style


Artists had made contacts with Western art. Influence can be seen.

Bold and intense – Basohli

Delicate and lyrical; Tones subdued and lines exquisitely fine – Kangra

Decorate in their composition and colour scheme


Landscape lacks the naturalism of the Mughal school


Two dimensional imagery. Colors derived from plants.


No space is left empty. Gaps are filled by painting flowers, plants animals and even geometric shapes.

Snakes are a prominent feature Artists adhered strictly to iconography as these paintings were made for ritual and worship and not for display as is mostly the case today.
Technique Used wider canvas Traditionally done as murals on mud walls. Now is also done one cloth, paper and canvas Made on jackwood pasted with unbleached cloth to which a mixture of limestone, chalk powder, gum and honey are applied in layers on a sketch of the icon. Extra coats given to raise some parts of the painting. Jewellery etc are put.
Major Artists Basawan, Daswanth, Kesudasa, Mansur Jagdamba Devi, Mahasundari Devi
Major Works Akbarnama illustrations; rare birds and animals – Falcon (CS Museum, Bombay), Red Blossoms – floral painting Jodhpur and Nagaur paintings.
Major schools Basohli, Guler, Kangra Malwa, Mewar (Ragamala paintings), Marwar, Kishangarh, Jaipur, Bundi, Kotah Bharni style, Kachni style
Patrons Akbar, Jahangir Raja Kripal Singh (Bahsoli) Sarabhiji 2, Shivaji 2, Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar


Rajasthani Art Schools

Mewar (Ragamala)

  • themes from the life of Krishna and his frolic with the gopis; heroes and heroines of Hindi poetry.
  • Scenes from Bhagvata and Ramayana
  • Landscape lacks the naturalism of the Mughal school


  • Genuine Rajput style evolved under this school
  • Equestrian portraits of the royal house and the nobility.
  • Show bold types of expression with broad, fish eyes in human faces
  • This school is essentially Hindu


  • Raslila was painted. It became ‘an earthly erotic amusement’


Manjusha Art

  • Manjushas are temple shaped boxes containing eight pillars
  • The boxes often contain the paintings of gods, goddesses and other characters
  • The boxes are used in Bishahari Puja
  • This is practiced in the Bhagalpur region of Bihar




  • Channapatna toys
    • Wooden toys from Karnataka
  • Nirmal Toys
    • Wooden toys made in the town of Nirmal in Adilabad district
  • Tanjore doll
    • Bobblehead made of terracotta




  • Drawn using rice powder by female members in front of their home
  • Mainly in South India


  • North India. Using sand colors, flour or flowers


Other fine arts

  • Mehandi
  • Pichhwai
    • Intricate paintings that portray Lord Krishna
    • Exist in the town of nathdwara in Rajasthan
  • Tarakashi
    • A type of metalwork from Cuttack


Indian Art Awards

  • Kalaimamani
    • By Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Manram
  • Kalidas Samman
    • Presented by the MP govt
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship
  • Shilp Guru
    • By GOI to a master craftsperson. Started in 2002.
  • Tulsi Samman
    • By MP govt. In fields of art, theatre, dance and music.
  • Varnashilpi Venkatappa Award
    • By Karnataka govt for excellence in painting


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