Vietnam or Thailand ? Vote for the TOP Country of the Week !


The Rasika Priya and the Bhagavata Purana, the texts so greatly favoured at Udaipur, were discarded and in their place Basohli artists produced a series of isolated scenes from Krishna's life the child Krishna stealing butter, Krishna the gallant robbing the cowgirls or exacting toll, Krishna extinguishing the forest-fire, Krishna the violent lover devouring Radha with hungry eyes.

Basohli artists seem to have carried the style to other states to Guler, Jammu, Chamba, Kulu, Nurpur and Bilaspur but it is not until 1770 that the Krishna theme again comes into prominence.

In other pictures, a clown or jester appears, introducing a witty joking element into the scene and thus presenting Krishna's attitude to love as all-inclusive. From 1693, the year of Raja Kirpal's death, painting at Basohli concentrated mainly on portraying rulers and on illustrating ragas and raginis the poems which interpreted the moods and spirit of music.

This series of illustrations is in some ways a turning point in Indian painting for not only was it to serve as a model and inspiration to later artists but its production brings to a close the most creative phase in Basohli art. After 1730, painting continued to be practised there but no longer with the same fervour.

Until the second half of the seventeenth century this stretch of country bordering the Western Himalayas seems to have had no kind of painting whatsoever. In 1678, however, Raja Kirpal Pal inherited the tiny state of Basohli and almost immediately a new artistic urge became apparent.

Pictures were produced on a scale comparable to that of Udaipur thirty years earlier and at the same time a local style of great emotional intensity makes its sudden appearance. This new Basohli style, with its flat planes of brilliant green, brown, red, blue and orange, its savage profiles and great intense eyes has obvious connections with Udaipur paintings of the 1650-60 period.

Udaipur painting, however, can hardly have been the only source for even in its earliest examples Basohli painting has a smooth polish, a savage sophistication and a command of shading which suggests the influence of the Mughal style of Delhi.

In 1730, a Basohli princess, the lady Manaku, commissioned a set of illustrations to the Gita Govinda and Krishna's power to enchant not only the male but also the female mind was once again demonstrated.

The style maintained its fierce intensity but there was now a gradual rounding of faces and figures, leading to a slight softening of the former brusque vigour. Devotion to Krishna does not seem to have bulked quite so largely in the minds of later Basohli rulers, although the cult itself may well have continued to exert a strong emotional appeal.

And although exact historical proof is still wanting, the most likely explanation is that under Rana Raj Singh some Udaipur artists were persuaded to migrate to Basohli. We know that Rajput rulers in the Punjab Hills were often connected by marriage with Rajput families in Rajasthan and it is therefore possible that during a visit to Udaipur, Raja Kirpal Pal recruited his atelier.