Discuss the essential characteristics of the medieval tradition in Indian painting. Give suitable examples in support of your answer.

The essential characteristics of the medieval tradition are:

  1. sharp, acute line without its modelling capacity, and also without the steady flow of the classical period. This line-quickly and sharply drawn-is the main exponent of the ‘medieval’ tradition;
  2. sharp, jerky and pointed angles particularly sharp and pointed limbs when and where they form angles-for example, at the elbow and the shoulder-the sharp and peaked nose, the crescent lips with angles acutely turned upwards, the eyebrows and long wide swollen eyes projected sharply and pointedly beyond their actual extension;
  3. jerky movements, in angles and curve of the body and its distended limbs that produce a nervous animation quite different from the composed energy and latent dynamism of the ‘classical tradition;
  4. total absence of colour modelling and hence, also of plasticity, which results in an appearance of flatness of the volume of the contour that resides entirely on the surface;
  5. richness of variegated patterns, motifs and designs, all gathered and adopted to the grip of sharp curves, angles and points.

Lastly, an intense preference for designs and patterns of decorations that are basically and essentially geometrical and abstract as distinct from decorative designs and patterns of steadily moving, swaying and deeply cut, bright and glowing pigments there is little ofemotional warmth in the general effect but technically they are examples of perfect craftsmanship and of pure pictorial significance.


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