RAJPUT PAINTING
The only other sixteenth century Rajput painters whose work is known to us are those who were established in the Mughal library: although many of their names are known and it has been recognized that they contributed an important element in the formation of the Mughal style, little attempt has been made to trace in their work the style which they themselves had practised before entering the Mughal household. In the reign of Humayun and the early part of that of Akbar, such Hindu painters would not have yet learned the proficiency of draughtsmanship required at the Mughal court. They would have been put to doing the backgrounds in the great undertaking of the court library, the production of a vast manuscript of the Hamza-nama, an Islamic heroic story; and this is what we find on looking through the hundred or so surviving illustrations to this manuscript. Such unnoticed scenes as that here reproduced afford some evidence for the style of Rajput painting in the third quarter of the sixteenth century. It has a freshness and directness of treatment which is a great contrast to the somewhat worn conventions of the Gujarati painting but appropriate to a young movement still only half awakened.
Rajput painters who had worked for a time at the Mughal court and learnt some of the science of miniature painting as developed in Persia, must have returned to their homes and there produced such work as the illustrations to Rasikapriya mentioned above. More significant for the future are the first Rajput Ragmala paintings which also date from about this period; for these themes were to be the main work of the school during the whole of the seventeenth century. Music and song and dance were intimately connected with the religious revival in which Chaitanya was so powerful an influence in the early sixteenth century. Just as we have seen that painting and poetry moved hand in hand, so too did poetry and music. Poems were written on the themes of the principal melodies according to the categories in which they were classified in the highly developed Hindu system, and collections of these poems were already made before 1500. It would be quite natural in the situation favouring the unity of the arts that paintings should also be made on these same themes, and that they should be influenced by the poems already written, and should accompany them. These collections of poems and pictures are called Ragmalas or garlands of Rags. But the dance poses were directly illustrated and actually the only indubitably sixteenth-century Ragmala paintings are little more than rhythmic diagrams in the simplest Western Indian style.

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