PAINTING OF THE DECCAN
Both Jahangir and Ibrahim II died in 1627. Under their successors, Shah Jahan and Muhammad Adil Shah, architecture and the decorative arts continued to develop. But the removal of the two great patrons heralded the decline of Islamic painting in India. Mughal painting, it is true, retained its cold and brilliant technique, though it had nothing new to say, until the early years of Shah Jahan's son and successor, Aurangzeb. In the Deccan, where style and technique went hand in hand, the decline was swift and absolute. It is difficult to account for this sudden loss of vision, for, once Ahmadnagar had been occupied, the two southern kingdoms were left undisturbed until the end of Shah jahan's reign, and were never so settled and prosperous. It was Muhammad who raised as his own mausoleum the colossal dome of the Gol Gumbaz, which remains the most impressive monument to Islam in the Deccan. His portrait in the British Museum adequately represents the standard of accomplishment of his painters. The great portrait style of Ibrahim's reign is already no more than a pleasant pattern of simple line and decorative colour. Nor had Golconda anything better to offer, if we may judge from a manuscript of the Khawar Namah painted in 1645 during the reign of Abdullah (1626-67). Indeed the cartoons of the Golconda pintadoes or painted hangings, so eagerly sought after in Europe during the 17th century, show more vivacity and sense of design than the surviving paintings.
In i655 - 6 Aurangzeb, viceroy in the Deccan, whose rulers he regarded as mere fief-holders of the Empire, attacked Golconda, and in the following year Bijapur. Called off by Shah Jahan, he marched north and in 1658 deposed his father. The end of the Deccan kingdoms, though inevitable, was tediously prolonged, for Aurangzeb was for some time fully engaged in the north. The period of Aurangzeb's absence is of little artistic interest, and, historically, is occupied not by the activities of the two kingdoms but with the ever-increasing power of the Marathas under their great leader, Sivaji. We may however conclude with a picture, which painted perhaps for a Mughal governor, retains a certain wit and charm, a reminiscence of style which would disclose the Deccan hand even if the artist had not signed it. In 1681 Aurangzeb reappeared in the Deccan, where he was to remain until his death in 1707. In 1686 Sikandar, the last of the Adil Shahs, surrendered his capital. The following year Golconda was stormed, and Abul Hasan Qutb Shah, the 'King of Taste', was sent to end his days in the grim fortress of Daulatabad.

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