Deccani school of art

Deccani school of art

Question - Write about the Deccani school of art.

The disturbing events of medieval times witnessed an influx of artists into the South. These artists were appreciated and patronized by the royal families and eventually this gave rise to three schools of art- Deccani Paintings, Mysore paintings and Tanjore Paintings. The Deccani school of painting initially flourished in the Bahamani court and gradually in the courts of Bijapur, Ahmednagar and Golkonda.

Deccani painting can be described as a sensitive and a highly integrated mix of indigenous and foreign style of art. The Vijaynagar painting resemblance is seen in the elongated figures while the floral backgrounds with a general use of landscape shows Persian influence. The colors used are bright with gold and white being dominant. Post 17th century, Mughal school and the Deccani school are seen to influence each other in certain amounts.


This school of painting was patronized by Hussain Nizam Shah I of Ahmednagar. One of the important illustrated manuscript is the 'Tarif-in-Hussain Shahi (1565-69). The king is shown seated on the throne being attended by a number of women. The female style and the dressing in the painting shows closeness to the northern tradition. However, the long scarf around the body depicts southern fashion. The colors are rich and bright with a Persian influence with the landscape.


Ali Adil Shah I and his successor Ibrahim II encouraged painting in Bijapur. In the miniatures, the ladies depicted are tall and slender wearing the South Indian dress. One of the miniatures illustrated here shows the "Throne of Prosperity". The color scheme, is rich with figures showing Deccani tradition. However, profuse use of the color gold and arabesques on top are derived from the Persian tradition.


Earliest paintings from are from the period of Muhammad Quli Quta Shah. The first work was accomplished during this time and he was a great patron of this art. The paintings illustrates dancing girls entertaining the group. One of the miniatures shows the king seated in his court enjoying a dance performance. The king is dressed in white muslin coat with embroidered vertical band, a style of the Golconda court. The color gold has been generously used in costume, jewelery etc.
Other remarkable examples of the Golconda painting are "Lady with the Myna bird", a manuscript of a Sufi poem and a couple of more portraits showing a poet in a garden with a well-dressed young man on a golden stool reading a book.

Thus early Deccani school of painting was influenced by northern tradition which flourished in Malwa, as well as that of the southern Vijayanagar murals which is evident in the depiction of female sty;e and costumes. Influence of Persia is not hidden as well. This tradition of Deccani painting continued for a long time even after the downfall of Deccan Sultanates of Bijapur, Ahmednagar and Golconda.
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