About the Book:
Scholars are divided on the question about the conditions that led to the beginnings of the art expression known as Pahari paintings as well as about the period of its beginning. Dr. Ohri argues that suggestions about these issues have been largely subjective. New evidence in visual form, collected by the author, helps in dating the phenomenon in the early seventeenth century. Taking into account the researches and findings of other scholars in the field and correcting several misconceptions and factual errors in the history of the Punjab Hill States, Dr Ohri places the origin of the painting in the early seventeenth century, and then proceeds to discuss at length the Pahari wall-painting of the eighteenth century when the 'Hindu' multiple compositions were attempted by the Pahari paintings for the depiction of narratives. Dr Ohri concludes that the existence of this Indian ancient trait of the painting noticeable in the Punjab Hills proves the continuity of the old tradition of Indian painting in Pahri painting.
About the Author:
VISHWA CHANDER OHRI has worked as Curator at Bhuri Singh Museum, Chamba and at the Himachal State Museum, Shimla. Author of several articles and books on Pahari painting and other arts and antiquities of the Western Himalayas, he has also edited several books on these subjects. He is a native of Himachal Pradesh and has traveled widely across the region. He has studies its history and culture for a long period. He has also visited several Indian, European and American museums in connection with his study of Indian painting. Dr Ohri was a Fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research after his retirement as Curator. His another book, Sculpture of the Western Himalayas has been published recently. He is currently a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, where his project is on the technique of Pahari painting. This monograph provides a background to his project.
Dr. V.C Ohri came to the Indian institute of Advanced Study as a fellow to write a monograph on 'the technic of Pahari painting'. In the course of his researches, he came to address himself to the question of origins, a theme which has fascinated and also baffled the historians of art. The thesis expounded by Dr Ohri was found so meaningful that it was decided to pulish it as a booklet in itself His monograph will be published in due course. I have no dougt that the historians of art in India will find this publication intersting and illuminating.
The reason for my selecting the project to write on the technique of Pahari Painting on a fellowship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, is two-fold: to record the details related to various aspects of the technique and the materials used for the production of Pahari painting as best as the information can be collected at this stage and to find out whether the knowledge of the technique can solve some of the lingering problems of art history of this school of painting. It seems that the matter concerning the technique of Phari painting has not been sufficiently investigated for ascertaining whether it differs from the technique used by artist in other region and if so what are the conspicuous points of difference.
The objective in view in writting the eassay 'On the Origns of Phari Painting ' is limited; it is considered that this will serve as a background for the monograph, on 'the technique of Phari painting' which will be published letter on and only the begining in the art of Pahari painting are discussed here in some detail.
Some characteristics of the Mughal or the Rajasthani painting noticed in the early Pahari painting have often been stressed for the orgins of this school of painting in the Pahari region, but as discussed in the following pages these sources were not solely resposible for the evolution of this art. In fact one sees several strains in Pahari painting and and local traditional of wall-painting seems to have been responsible for lending it certian district traits. Moreover some idioms of the sixteenth century painting of north can also be seen in the painting of this region and its seems quite plausible that the north india of that centuary had proved as a catalyst in the evolution of the art of 'miniature' painting in these hills.It has, now, been well recognised that the sixteenth century was a crucial period in the development of pictorial art throuhout India when there was a major shift from the tradition; the new movement had also influenced the art activity in this field in the Punjab Hills. An effort is made in this paper to discuss the various factors which had contributed for the development of the early Phari miniature painting . The evidence of fresh visual material discussed here suggests that the Pahari painting had acquired its distinct character in the early seventeen centuary and not late in that centuary as several scholars have asserted.
I am gateful to Jagdish Mittal of Hydrabad for supplying me some important photographs of the early Pahari painting which i have used in this paper. The drawing include here are the work of VIjay Sharma, Om Prakash Kashyap and Hans Raj. I am grateful to all of them. I am also much indebted to the Directors of the National Museum, New Delhi; Bharat Kala Bhavan, Banras Hindu Univesity, Varanasi; Jagdish and kamla Mittal Museum of Indian Art, Hyderabad; Himachal State Museum, Shimla and Bhuri Singh Museum, Chamba for granting permission to use photographs of Pahari Painting in the collection these museums for illusrating this essay. I am much gateful to Director and the staff of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla for the help i received in various ways in my studies.
VISHWA CHANDER OHRI
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