Pala School of Paintings - General Knowledge Today

Pala School of Paintings

Pala School represents the earliest examples of miniature painting in India. The Buddhist monasteries (mahaviharas) of Nalanda, Odantapuri, Vikramsila and Somarupa were great centres of Buddhist learning and art.

The paintings are in the form a large number of manuscripts on palm-leaf relating to the Buddhist themes. The images of Buddhist deities at these centres which also had workshops for the casting of bronze images. Students and pilgrims from all over South-East Asia gathered there for education and religious instruction. They took back to their countries examples of Pala Buddhist art, in the form of bronzes and manuscripts which helped to carry the Pala style to Nepal, Tibet, Burma, Sri Lanka and Java etc.

The extant illustrated manuscripts of Pala Empire mostly belong to the Vajrayana School of Buddhism.

Features of Paintings:

Pala style is naturalistic and resembles the ideal forms of contemporary bronze and stone sculpture, and reflects some feeling of the classical art of Ajanta. The best example is the manuscript of the Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita. After the Muslim invasions, many of the monks and artists escaped and fled to Nepal, which helped in reinforcing the existing art traditions there.

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Last Updated: December 17, 2013