Early Wall Painting of Garhwal

B.P. Kamboj, Indus, 2003, 160 p, 70 col. Photographs, ISBN : 8173871396, $83.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Early Wall Painting of Garhwal/B.P. Kamboj

Contents: Preface. I. Introduction: 1. Historical perspective. 2. The tradition of wall painting in Garhwal. II. The Dehra of the founder saint: 1. The central shrine. 2. The non-figural art. 3. A gallery of rich designs. III. Wall paintings of Bhai Bahlo Darwaza: 1. The Baradari gate. 2. The oldest figural murals. 3. Two panels of the Sikh Gurus. 4. Portraits of the Sikh Gurus. IV. Matas’ Samadhis (Cenotaphs): 1. Four wives of the Guru and their cenotaphs. 2. Mural decoration. V. The Mahant’s residence—1: 1. The ground floor. 2. General plan of the murals. 3. Janam Sakhi murals. 4. Thematic note on the Janam Sakhi paintings. 5. Mythological wall paintings: i. Artistic variations. ii. Thematic appraisal of the mythological murals. 6. Ornamental designs. VI. The Mahant’s residence—2: 1. The ground. 2. Thematic grouping of the murals: i. The Sikh Gurus. ii. Portraits of the Mahants. iii. Portraits of the contemporary people. iv. Mythological paintings. v. Designs. VII. The Jhanda gate murals: 1. The Jhanda gate: its significance. 2. Thematic and stylistic appraisal: i. Portraits. ii. Mythological paintings. iii. Paintings of the Sikh Gurus. iv. Decorative designs. 3. Wall paintings of the room atop Jhanda gate. VIII. The painters and their technique: 1. Anonymity of artists. 2. Tulsi—the master painter. 3. Other artists. 4. Technique of the murals. Appendices: 1. Persons interviewed by the author. 2. A note on the miniature paintings in the Darbar’s collection. 3. A note on Guru Ram Rai’s legacy of Mahants. 4. List of thematic wall paintings in the Darbar complex. Glossary. Bibliography. Index.

"The present volume is a pioneering effort in bringing to limelight those rare but splendid specimens of the Garhwal wall painting, which have so far remained unknown and obscure to the world of art. These paintings are executed on the walls of the main shrine and other edifices of the Gurudwara of Guru Ram Rai at Dehradun.

The author has now endeavoured to explore the historical and socio-cultural contents of these wall paintings. He has very painstakingly studied the aesthetic and technical aspects of these murals to discover and establish an independent school of wall painting in Garhwal. That school flourished for 300 years and produced finest wall paintings in the Gurudwara. Some of these paintings are devoted to the Sikh Gurus, which may be the oldest in India.

What further adds to the value of this book is the data, which the author have obtained from the relatives and pupils of Tulsi, the master-painter of some of the finest murals in the Gurudwara. The analysis based on that information makes the present study all the more authentic and credible. The present study reveals another, and perhaps the latest, efflorescence of the mural tradition in the Himalayan region that may unfold new vistas in the study of Garhwal painting beyond the Srinagar-Tehri axis.

These wall paintings are presently in different states of precarious condition. The posterity may soon be deprived of these glorious works of art under the prevailing uncongenial conditions. That consideration, more than anything else, underscores the need to record and rediscover them. Hence, this book." (jacket)

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