How Miniature Paintings Originated ?

In India, miniature paintings are one of the best representations of visual art. Miniature paintings of India are small but carefully crafted paintings, as the name suggests. The unifying themes of these paintings, which are painted on cloth or paper. Include mythological episodes and religious scriptures, albeit each artist’s interpretation varies. Although there is no definite answer to questions such as ‘miniature painting started by’ or ‘miniature painting belongs to which state’. We can attempt to trace back the history of miniature painting to as early as the 2nd century BC.

The origins of miniature paintings in India date back to the 9th century. But they reached their pinnacle during the Mughal era in India. Artists from Rajasthan, Mewad, and other locations are now carrying on the heritage of these paintings. Here are some facts about miniature painting artform.

Features of Miniature Painting

  • If a painting is to be termed a miniature, it must be less than 25 square inches (100 square cm) in size; subjects are shown on a one-sixth scale.
  • Vegetables, minerals, indigo, conch shells, valuable stones, pure gold, and silver are used to create the colours used in this style of painting. Ragas, or Indian classical music melodies, are related to this style of painting.
  • The paintings in this style provide insight into the lives of royalty and commoners, the beauty of their womenfolk, and the artists’ inspirations and devotions. Tutinama and Hamzanama are two notable Miniature paintings.

History of Miniature Painting In India

The origin of miniature painting goes back to the cave paintings on the Bhimbetka rock shelter are roughly 30,000 years old and represent prehistoric art. Animals, early indications of dance, and hunting are among the themes shown in these cave paintings. As a result, we may argue that paintings in India date back to the Neolithic period. Then humans develop their own style of painting, as evidenced in Ajanta Cave Painting (2nd Century BC to 5th Century AD) and Madhya Pradesh’s Bagh Caves.

Pala School

The Pala School, which dates back to the eighth century A.D., is responsible for the first Indian miniature paintings. They were originally painted on leaves, but with the invention of paper in the 12th century. Then the painters began to create these works on paper.

Jain School

We cannot definitely point to a singular person who started miniature painting in India but the Jain school of miniature paintings is most similar to what we think of when we point to modern-day miniature paintings.  When holy books like the ‘Kalpa Sutra’ and ‘Kalkacharya Katha’ were shown in miniature paintings in the 11th century A.D., the Jain School of painting rose to popularity. The Jain School, like other schools of miniature painting, presented its works on palm leaves until switching to paper in the late 12th century. The stories were depicted in natural colours such as gold and silver. The portrayal of magnified eyes, square-shaped hands, and the portrayal of elegant characters are just a few of the unique features of these paintings.

Orissa School

During the 17th century A.D., the Orissa School of miniature painting arose. Despite the fact that paper was widely used in India during the 17th century, the Orissa School of miniature paintings kept to its tradition of displaying this sophisticated art form on palm leaves. The majority of the paintings featured Radha and Krishna’s love story, as well as stories from ‘Krishna Leela’ and ‘Gita Govinda.’

Mughal School

The Mughal School of miniature painting arose from the fusion of Indian and Persian miniature art and contributed greatly to the origin and development of miniature painting in india. Persian miniature paintings, interestingly, were heavily influenced by Chinese paintings. The miniature painting origin of the Mughal art style flourished from the 16th through the 18th century, especially during Akbar’s reign. These paintings frequently depicted scenes from the royal court, hunting journeys, nature, and conflicts. Plants and trees were depicted realistically, and the paintings were framed in ornate frames that were richly adorned.

Rajasthani School

The Rajasthani School arose in response to the fall of Mughal miniature paintings. The Rajasthani School of painting is separated into several schools based on the region in which it was founded. Rajasthani School of painting includes the Mewar School, Marwar School, Hadoti School, Dhundar School, Kangra School, and Kullu School of art. The Rajput monarchs, like the Mughal Emperors, were passionate about art and supported miniature paintings. And thus contributed immensely Indian miniature paintings history.

Rajasthan Studio Miniature Paintings Masterclasses

If you’re interested in learning more about the art of Miniature paintings. Rajasthan Studio has curated masterclasses with painters who are trying to keep this majestic art form alive. 

Miniature paintings depict a miniature universe filled with royal tales and fascinating figures. Kanhaiya Sharma, a great artist who practises and preaches miniature art to each and everyone, lives in Udaipur. Immerse yourself in his studio and learn more about the art-making process as he discusses his background, lineage, and meaning of miniature painting. Take home a memento and lifelong memories.

Padam Shree, Syed Shakir Ali of Jaipur is a well-known miniature painter who works in the Mughal style. He has been experimenting with new innovations over the past few years. And has begun working in modern miniature and contemporary art, where he continues to use the miniature technique. His workshop is beautiful and exquisite, containing miniature masterpieces from the Mughal and Persian dynasties. Take part in this one-of-a-kind art event that is rich in culture. Take home a keepsake and memories that will last a lifetime.

The Rajasthani Miniature Painting/Art Style rose to prominence as a result of its exquisite depictions of royal life and mythical tales. Hence which were primarily done with fine squirrel hair brushes. Master artist Asharam Meghwal has received the prestigious National Award for his unrivalled contribution to the art form. He knows how to hold paintbrushes in 12 different ways. He enjoys teaching new painters how to enhance their skills in less time.


Rajasthan’s history and folktales serve as sources of inspiration for him. The National Award-winning artist maintains a modest but cosy workshop where you may immerse yourself in the arts. Miniature Paintings have long been valued in India as a major art form of a bygone period. And all of these schools of miniature painting are evidence of how important art has been in Indian society.

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