Thursday, May 17, 2012
Ordinary life in Mughal India : the evidence from painting / S.P. Verma.
The study focuses on the life of the ordinary people in Mughal India relying
mainly on the paintings of the era for detailed insights. It comes in an attempt
to highlight the significance of evidences such as the visual arts of the bygone
era in understanding the history of the past. It offers for an in-depth survey
paintings and sculptures that represent the common people, based on a belief
that it is the visual records that describe in detail the life of the ordinary
people in its purest form. It presents some ninety illustrations to provide a
visual documentation of the life of the ordinary people and their work, throwing
light on the way the men and women in the villages lived.
The volume features a range of paintings that can be traced to a variety of
schools that flourished at the time. The focus however is on the Imperial Mughal
school that has attained a unique name of its own when one talks of medieval art
of India. It discusses the paintings of the school, especially those
concentrating on depicting the life of the people, for the element of the real
in the representation, the vividness in detail that they reveal and their
draughtsmanship. Based on careful study, it scrutinises the visuals to interpret
aspects of ordinary life—a struggle for bare subsistence that forms the most
essential part of living for the common man. The aspects covered include the
life and skills of workmen and professionals during the medieval era, the way of
life of the holy men, food and use of tobacco by the people, the nature of
dwellings and hut settlements of the people and modes of travelling.
Prof. S. P. Verma has published extensively on Indian miniatures and British
paintings narrating the events of the Revolt of 1857. He is the recipient of
awards presented by the Indian Academy of Fine Arts, Amritsar, in 1981 and by
the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, in 1982.