Painted Words: Investigating Mythological and Folk Narratives in Pahari Miniatures [virtual]

Smriti  Dutt ()

My paper focuses on the Pahari paintings, an age-old folk painting tradition from Himachal Pradesh, India. Traditionally produced on the natural walshi paper, these works constitute a form of miniature art, with elaborate mythological and folk narratives painted across them in a pictorial mode derived from the Mughal painting traditions. Once considered the glory of Pahari kingdoms, these miniatures were lost to a fast-progressing world but have been revived in the recent decades.The paper will focus on the school’s origin and its unexplored historical contexts. I also intend to address the problematic representation of women in Pahari miniatures. I will draw upon and complicate feminist art history to consider Pahari Paintings’ systems of production and representation, which simultaneously position women as agents of creativity and change, and as hyper-sexualised bodies within patriarchal religious and secular narratives.

Part of 07-04 Exalting the Folk at the Feet of Himalaya: Representations of Folklore in Himachal Pradesh, India [hybrid], Saturday, October 15, 8:30 am–10:00 am