Adverse climate and other conditions have injured what wall painting existed. The most famous surviving Buddhist paintings are from the caves at Ajanta. Little is known of Hindu wall painting except for fragments at Ellora and Tanjore (see Thanjavur). The earliest Indian manuscript paintings are Buddhist, of the Pala dynasty; they have a delicate color. The 13th- to 15th-century Jain manuscript illuminations, painted in vivid red, blue, and gold, are most easily recognized by the characteristic protruding farther eye. Rajput miniature painting, which was practiced in N India from the 16th through the 19th cent., is related both to Mughal painting and to earlier Indian styles. It illustrates a variety of Hindu subjects: the ragamala series (musical modes), the legendary epics and romances, and particularly Krishna's deeds. Rajput painting is characterized by lyrical landscapes, sinuous grace in the depiction of the human form, and an interest in perspective.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.