The Indo-Saracenic school of painting is one of the richest contributions to Indian culture. " Elaborate the statement.

The Indo-Saracenic school of painting is one of the richest contributions to Indian culture that flourished mainly in North India. It showed Chinese influence in initial years. Intense individuality, proper spacing and symmetry were the characteristics of Chinese art. These scenes and features were later Indianized. It led to the development of a number of sub styles such as Rajput and Pahari styles which were greatly influenced by ancient Hindu ideals while the deccan, Lucknow, Kashmir and Patna styles of painting predominantly had Muslim characteristics. Prominent Persian artists like Mir Saiyed Ali of Tabriz and Kwaja Abdus Samad of Shiraz made their contribution to the Indo-Saracenic style alongside Hindu artists, such as, Daswanath and Basawan. Many were trained to draw miniatures for the illuminated manuscripts of Zafarnama, Razmnama and others. Jahangir’s reign turned out to be the period of the great heights of portrait paintings as well as paintings of scenes and animals. In this period, this style of painting bifurcated into Mughal and Rajput. Despite the differences, both schools constantly borrowed from each other. These Saracenic aesthetics further permeated into the architecture of the time.

The development of architecture in northern India in the Middle Ages offered a deep synthesis between ancient Indian and Saracenic styles. The palaces, forts, and tombs of northern India during the Middle Ages showed traces of Persian influence, but in spite of their similarity to Persian models, they revealed features that were distinctly Indian. Perfect fusion of the Saracenic emphasis on harmony and form with the Indian emphasis on splendor and decoration has given us miracles of architecture like the Taj Mahal. This confluence of native Indo-Islamic elements was further incorporated by the British into the Gothic revival architecture of Victorian Britain in the 19th century. Following the tradition of grandeur, intense sense of authority and carefully crafted spaces, grand public buildings were erected in colonial India that established the political power of the British. Examples of these are as numerous as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Gateway of India in Mumbai, Khalsa College in Amritsar, Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, Mysore Palace in Karnataka and Madras Museum in Chennai.

Question for UPSC Mains:
The Indo-Saracenic school of painting is one of the richest contributions to Indian culture.

Published: December 28, 2015 | Modified:October 15, 2020

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