The location in the present painting is a mound adjacent to a lake
symbolising Mount Kailash and Manasarovara. Night has set in and darkness
has enshrouded the earth. Parvati, Karttikeya, Ganesh, Lord Shiva, lion,
peacock and Nandi all have fallen asleep or are drowsing. The greedy mouse
alone awakes to feed itself from its bowl. Nandi, the faithful servant of
his master, lying fully stretched by the side of Lord Shiva, even in sleep
is seen supporting his drowsy master. The animal serves both Shiva and
Parvati as a bolster to recline against. Parvati is reclining supported
upon her lord's thigh and Nandi's rump. Ganesh, lying by her side, is
suckling milk from his mother's breast, though she is unaware of it.
Karttikeya sitting by fire goes asleep with its warmth. Parvati's lion too
is fast asleep. The depiction of serenity of the surroundings and the
celestial glow on all faces is exceptionally powerful.
An exactly similar painting was rendered in early 18th century by a Mandi
artist Sanju. He was initially at Kangra at Raja Sansar Chand's court but
around 1808 shifted to Mandi to found his own school of painting there.
Sanju developed his own art style, a blend of delicacy and finish of Kangra,
directness of execution of Mandi and folk element of his own. Sanju's
painting of Shiva family was par excellence and a great example of his art
style. In its execution and finish the painting of Kailash Raj too is par
excellence. For its art merits, appreciation and aestheticism it does not
beg any favour of its proto-type. It is independently a great work of art.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.
the Miniature Paintings Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi.
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